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Any Speed School of English in Poland?


alaskan 3 | 1    
5 Jun 2013  #1
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone has heard of Speed School of English in southern Poland? They have a few schools in the south around Krakow. If anyone could tell me what its like to work there that would be helpful.

thanks
DominicB - | 2,627    
5 Jun 2013  #2
There's one in Wrocław, too. It's a Callan method school. Some of my friends have worked there, but they didn't like it. It doesn't have a good reputation among the English schools in the town.
delphiandomine 87 | 16,888    
5 Jun 2013  #3
Like Dominic says, it's a Callan school. Go on YouTube and watch some videos - it's not really a "school", more of a factory.

Will this be your first job?
Polcam    
5 Jun 2013  #4
Don't do it!
Unless u like being treated like crap and paid half the normal rate for teachers here. Also u will be asked to come in on your time off for various unpaid meetings ectc and have no control over your own time.

If you have EU work rights you can easily find a much better job in Poland, even with little teaching experience.
DominicB - | 2,627    
5 Jun 2013  #5
Basically, it's not worth coming to Poland to teach English unless you are guaranteed a monthly income of at least 3500 PLN per month after taxes, and you have a genuine full-time contract to work from a school with a good reputation. That would be the absolute minimum to make it worth your while.

Second of all, avoid the big and popular cities like Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław. The market is way saturated with teachers who are better qualified than you, and with "teachers" who are willing to work for a lot less than you should be considering. Small provincial cities are the best, because your pay goes further due to the lower cost of living. The big, popular sities are fun only if you have plenty of cash to enjoy them.

Third of all, avoid Callan, Avalon and "Direct Method" schools like the plague. They're basically ahady operations.

Last of all, if you're coming to Poland for fun, experience and adventure, fine. If you're coming here to make money, though, forget about it. You'll leave with empty pockets, and probably won't break even for the year, if you take you plane tickets and residencey permit into account.

When calculating monthly income, realize that you are not going to be paid for the Christmas break, the two week winter holiday, and other holidays during the school year. Your hourly rate should be no less than 50 PLN per 60 minutes after taxes. Also, if the school tries to fob off the cost of the work permit on you, run, don't walk away. On the other hand, you are responsible for the cost of the residency permit.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,777    
5 Jun 2013  #6
To answer a question the OP may eventually ask:
Avoid Andrzej Stoszek like the plague.
He owns those Speed Schools and people I've met always seem to end up having dysfunctional working relationships with the guy.

Oh and one more thing:
DominicB writes major truth above. Damn that's spot on assessment!
polcam    
6 Jun 2013  #7
DominicB is right on.
Most Schools will pay you 50-60zl for a clock hour. Speed school pays around 33zl and then demands your free time for no pay whenever they feel like it with only 1 or 2 days notice.

Plus, as mentioned above, the management staff and owners treat teachers like doormats or 5 year olds (I'm not even sure which is worse) then wonder why so many teachers either resign or don't renew their contracts. They have a revolving door of teachers only staying 5 or 9 months for a reason.
DominicB - | 2,627    
7 Jun 2013  #8
Speed school pays around 33zl and then demands your free time for no pay whenever they feel like it with only 1 or 2 days notice.

You'll end up losing money over the course of the school year at that rate of pay, even if they pay you for thirty hours a week, which is doubtful. Definitely not a tempting offer.
smurf 39 | 1,994    
7 Jun 2013  #9
I think Dominic's post above should be made a sticky.
All very true.
English 81    
10 Apr 2014  #10
There are two distinct branches of this school,one of which is run by Mr Stoszek and the other by Ms. Olswoska. The atmosphere and working conditions in both branches couldn't be more different. I agree with the previous comments about Andrzej but I had a good experience working in Wroclaw.The salary is certainly not high but enough to get by and socialise. Callan schools and direct method schools are not shady operations. They are a viable alternative to the communicative method even though many teachers will get bored quite quickly and want to find a challenge elsewhere
jon357 65 | 13,654    
10 Apr 2014  #11
Avoid Callan schools in general - they don't help your CV if you want to work elsewhere in the country.
PolskiForeigner    
13 May 2014  #12
Having worked at Speed School of English for awhile I can agree with the above assessment. The schools run by Ms. Olszowska (Wroclaw and Gliwice) are a happy operation, with (during my time) generally happy and contented teachers - with many staying on after the initial contract.

The schools also offer a guaranteed number of hours per week contract - something not so common in Poland, and becoming less so with the flood of native speakers/students willing to work for low pay. An average salary of minimum 3000-3200zl per month is comfortable to live on in Poland, with travelling and accommodation, although never come to Poland to make serious $!

If you want the money, head to Asia!
The direct method can get repetitive for teachers, but I found myself teaching this method alongside business english, FCE and also kids classes, so overall I feel that my teaching ability improved in many areas.

I would recommend the schools in Wroclaw and Gliwice as decent places to work - with payment always on the 1st of the month!
Wroclawrocks    
20 May 2014  #13
I'm really skeptical of the above post and suspect that the school management have got a friend to write it to try and balance out the well-deserved bad reviews this place has.

I worked for Martyna Olszowska and none of my colleagues were happy there. I only knew one teacher who stayed after the initial contract and it wasn't because she was happy there. She has left now.

The school DOES NOT offer minimum working hours. Or at least it doesn't follow through with it. I never worked 20 hours the whole time I was there despite promises of minimum hours of 25.

They have some really rude staff including a secretary in Wroclaw who is horrible to everyone and doesn't care about the teachers or students and the manager or DOS in Gliwice who makes the teachers there cry.

There is loads of unpaid work. The method makes zero sense and students can go there for years without improving much.

Worst teaching job I've had.
Martyna Olszows    
23 May 2014  #14
It's very easy to write negative comments when you are anonymous. Also many of these opinions were written by people who don't know the school, just heard about it. Most of these comments aren't true e.g. that SPEED School of English uses the Callan Method. Well, we stopped using it 7 years ago. There will always be people who aren't happy with the job at SPEED School of English as well as SPEED School of English won't always be happy with all employees. Many of the above statements are based on the facts that have been distorted, like one of the recent ones regarding the number of the minimum workload guaranteed in the contract. Just to clarify - teachers never get fewer than 26 hrs in a full week (Mon - Fri). They usually get 26-32hrs. Sometimes even more. The other thing is that we have had quite a number of teachers working for us for a few years, so undeniably they must be happy with their jobs. "Wroclawrocks" wasn't happy but we weren't happy either. If you want honest and credible opinions email the teachers who know us well, rather than listen to those who are frustrated because the cooperation didn't work out.
Jewelllll    
29 May 2014  #15
I must say, I am shocked at some of the comments against SPEED which is run by the brilliant and beautiful Martyna Olszowska! Ms. Olszowska was my employer waaaayyyyyyy back in about 1998 in Gliwice. I was 28 years old then, and now, am 45. At the time, the Callan Method was fantastic and many, many students benefitted from her ideas and learned well. I have taught English in both Asia and Poland. Not only that, I have had many work experiences before and since then and, Ms. Olszowska goes on my list as one of my top, if not the top, employer I have ever had. I am a native Canadian and Martyna was always very helpful to me, very kind, gracious and super generous in every way! Martyna's was the ONLY school I ever wanted to renew a contract with and, not only did I stay for one year, but two years! The only reason I left her school was to come back to Canada and start raising that family I always wanted. I would probably still be there today if it weren't for that fact! Martyna runs a very tight ship, she is very professional and cares deeply that her students are being taught properly. I found that she treated us native speakers and the other Polish teachers, with great care and respect and she naturally would expect the same in return. Martyna was always very generous with salary and benefits to those who worked hard and had credentials to back up their experience. I highly doubt that she has changed much in this regard over the years. If you are a hard worker, honest, bright and really care about your job, Martyna will treat you like gold. There are far too many English teachers in this world who are lazy slackers expecting something for nothing. I have nothing but the highest regard for Martyna and I cannot thank her enough for taking me on all those years ago -- she treated me with great generosity, understanding and compassion. Therefore, unless sometime within the past 15 years Martyna has had some strange illness overtake her brain and surge through all her reasoning capacities, then I can only assert that she is still the same capable, professional and equitable manager that she was 15 years ago!! Maybe it's time for some to grow up and learn how to be a proper employee!
Roger5 2 | 1,476    
29 May 2014  #16
Wroclawrocks "suspect that the school management have got a friend to write it to try and balance out the well-deserved bad reviews this place has"

But if that were the case, it would mean that the school asked someone who worked there fifteen years ago for a testimonial. Surely they wouldn't have to go that far back for a good write-up. ;-)
Maximuspooping    
29 May 2014  #17
I'm just about to start my second month teaching at Speed school in Wroclaw and I'm so glad I didn't read this forum before coming here. I can only speak about the current situation as I am not privy to what went on before. Also, I must stress I can only speak for the Wroclaw school.

The method of teaching employed is as boring as you make it. If you prepare the lessons properly and tailor the questions to suit your students they're great fun and productive. The current method is not as rigid as Callan. As a first time teacher, it also provided a structure to help me build confidence teaching.

I only have to do two forty minute lessons unpaid a week, so far these have been great one on ones where I have gotten to know the students better.

The other unpaid work I can only assume being referred to is the clubs and events we all organise for students. But that was one of the attractions for me!

The hours are a guaranteed 26 hrs minimum. But you have to READ the actual contract, this will be distributed over the four weeks. It's in the contract. Which I read. I think the poster may have mistaken the intended meaning of minimum hours.

The staff are, without doubt, the friendliest and most helpful I have encountered in a job. Especially the secretaries, there are three at the moment and they have done everything from lending me money, paying some of my rent,helping me find a new place (coming with me to the viewings), translating for me, everything. There is a great, positive atmosphere in this school. They even put forward the pay day to help me out money-wise.

The very first night I arrived, the other teachers were all there at the flat to greet me and the head teacher took me on a little tour of the city as well as numerous small but much appreciated gestures since.

I have only met Martyna twice but on both occasions she was very nice to me and made sure I was happy and settling in.

That students can go here for years without making progress may say more about the individual posters teaching ability than the method. The method, for me is not about what you say, but how you say it. In this sense it makes perfect sense!

You will get back what you put into this job-if you are lazy and uncompromising or unfriendly then you will be unhappy here.
I felt I had to write this post because someone like me might miss out on a chance to come here in the future.

Also, the students are such a pleasure to teach!
jon357 65 | 13,654    
29 May 2014  #18
I was 28 years old then, and now, am 45

I have taught English in both Asia and Poland. Not only that, I have had many work experiences before and since

Martyna's was the ONLY school I ever wanted to renew a contract with

The warning bell starts to toll.

Surely they wouldn't have to go that far back for a good write-up. ;-)

And what a coincidence that after so long she just happened upon this thread, only a few days after a guest poster purporting to be the school owner posted on it. And two and a half hours before another guest poster just chanced upon the thread and posted suspiciously glowing praise. Will these coincidences never cease?

I only have to do two forty minute lessons unpaid a week

The other unpaid work

Unpaid lessons? Why??

"Have to" do unpaid work? Poland isn't a poor country and real teachers who are competent enough to get work anywhere normal do not "have to" do unpaid lessons. Attending weekly or fortnightly staff development workshops taught by MA or Delta level teacher trainers perhaps. But not 'unpaid lessons'. Ever.

Despite all these (frankly fishy sounding) messages from guest posters praising the place in such strong terms it looks like an advert (not the first time that's happened here), the idea of having to teach unpaid for a profit-making business (never mind working unpaid on the 'clubs and events' that are part of the company's business model) is something bizarre.

Some of the messages running the place down might be an exaggeration (not unknown in EFL), and the truth about the 'school' might well be somewhere between the two extremes however the whole thing sounds a bit dodgy to me.
Sparks11 - | 338    
29 May 2014  #19
I totally agree Jon, the way these two posters portray the schools seems to indicate that they really know nothing about the efl world, or perhaps, know it quite well and would like to manipulate would-be teachers into coming to the school. Unpaid efl work is unheard of in a professional school. Unpaid workshops and events with students? If you have to be there, it's work. We have workshops where I work too, we get paid our hourly rate plus a premium to conduct them. For level-checking potential students we also get paid. Are you a volunteer? Why would you give your time for free? Borrowing money from secretaries? What's wrong with you? Really, It seems best to give this school a miss.
Harry    
29 May 2014  #20
"Have to" do unpaid work? Poland isn't a poor country and real teachers who are competent enough to get work anywhere normal do not "have to" do unpaid lessons.

I was always happy to do unpaid work, just as long as the school was willing to pay me for an equal number of lessons which I didn't turn up for. Strangely no schools ever took me up on my kind offer.
Roger5 2 | 1,476    
29 May 2014  #21
Maximus. I'm glad they're looking after you. I would, too if I knew I could get you to work for nothing. Two months' experience in EFL hardly makes you an authority, but I take your point. If you are happy working for free, who am I or anyone else to spoil your fun. Just two questions: Were you asked to post here? Are you American? "gotten"

Anyway, good luck to you.
Dougpol1 26 | 2,160    
29 May 2014  #22
This thread is pure PF gold.

FWIW - any school that pays less than a zloty a minute needs shooting, and, if you are a paying learner, you should avoid them like the plague.

Tis true that not only money motivates, but there is a going rate for the job.

If you actually are a teacher, that is, and can back it up.

The schools on the black list that pay rubbish AFAIK:

Any Callan school ( never worked for them - and never will - only 18% of the population gain anything from being pure auditory learners)
Profi-Lingua
AN Other schools in Katowice that have cornered the market in so called business English and pay 42 Zl an hour!

PS Jewellll might like to consider the fact that his/her eloquent plea lacks any semblance of the notion of paragraphing. Whilst we are not looking for creative writing here, there does seem to be a lack of any native insight of the language. But heigh-ho, people will act the dumbass :)
Maximuspooping    
2 Jun 2014  #23
Wow a lot of feedback. My intention was merely to offer a different view on the Speed school, I fully accept I have limited experience in the teaching world, but then again I did state all of this in the opening of my last message. I had intended that this would avoid a lot of the subsequent posts but, no.

What is fishy and dodgy about the points I made? Because they run counter to your perceived ideas about a school?! Really? If I post then it's dodgy and if I don't then what?

What about all of the positive points I made? Anyone taking them on board?

I wasn't asked by anybody to post on this site. I saw a bad review of it and offered my own positive one to balance things out. There is no conspiracy.

No I am not American, but obviously it has some influences on how I communicate. I apologise for the slip. But seriously, what's the relevance?

How have I manipulated any new teachers? I AM a new teacher? Again this is all in my original post.

Yes I borrowed money from the school to help me get by for the first month, there is nothing wrong with me, the point was to show how accommodating the school has been and helpful to me in general.

As for the unpaid 'work' I already stated that the extra activities were an attraction to me. I accept that some people demand to be paid for this sort of thing and that's fine, but the school can't be described as dodgy seeing as they clearly notified me about it. I didn't 'have to' do anything. I chose to. I understand that this might blow some minds.

Back up what? Why? To you?

Finally, as I stated in the original post I made, I am referring only to he school in Wroclaw.
Mhairi83    
2 Jun 2014  #24
Having followed this thread for a few weeks, I feel compelled to add my voice, although I've found it fairly difficult to write what's on my mind because I keep getting really angry! For the record, I worked at Speed in Wrocław for more than three years and left recently. No-one has asked me to contribute here - I'm doing so because I think a lot of what has been written is biased and unfair.

I'd like to urge any potential applicants to disregard many of the comments above, because they have clearly been posted by people who have not worked for the company, are repeating something they overheard in the pub one night, or are offering an opinion based on supposition rather than fact. Fair enough - there is one former teacher here who was not happy, but there are plenty of people who enjoyed their time at the school and deserve to be heard without being thrown to the trolls.

I liked working for Speed - it's not the perfect workplace, I had bad days and good days like everyone in every job. In my opinion, it's a good place to start out, as the school is willing to give newly-qualified teachers a chance. Direct method requires less prep time than the traditional communicative method, which is reflected in the rate of pay. I generally took home a wage higher than the local average, and one which allowed me to pay for a nice flat, enjoy a decent social life and travel a bit. Ok, so some schools pay more per hour - great, good for them! They probably want teachers with several years experience, and quite rightly pay more for that. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Speed gives you experience with different age groups in different settings, eg. local primary schools, in-company. Kids' lessons follow communicative method textbooks so you get some experience of that kind of teaching, and in the past we had intensive IELTS prep lessons for one-to-one students. As far as I recall, these were paid at a different rate but I'd need to check for exact details. So, lots of experience with different methods and different age groups - a definite plus.

It's worth mentioning that Speed is a really nice place to work in terms of the other teachers and staff, which makes a HUGE difference to job satisfaction (again, this is me personally, some people are more interested in money). The teaching team is close-knit and has a strong working relationship with the schools in Gliwice and Kraków, which means that if you fancy spending a week in one of those schools it's possible to do so. The admin staff are supportive and willing to help out with all aspects of life in Wrocław - very useful for newcomers to Poland who don't speak Polish. Just to clarify - Maximus, I think you probably got an advance on your paycheck, rather than a loan from the secretaries. I had to fall back on this a couple of times when I was hit with an unexpected cost (dental crowns aren't cheap!), and it's not every employer who'll accommodate your needs this way. I agree with you, it counts for a lot! As for the people targeted by Wroclawrocks: the "secretary" you didn't get on with is actually the manager of the school. Sometimes staff and managers have disputes. It happens, get over it. The DOS who made people cry - yeah, we didn't get along either. She doesn't work there any more, so... not a problem, I think.

The unpaid "lessons" - yep, controversial. They aren't lessons, as such, more like office hours for students who missed tests or something similar. Half the time there's no demand, and often students don't turn up so you don't actually have to do anything. However, they're not too popular, so maybe that's something for the management to consider. As for the clubs and events - I ran a film club, which basically meant some students came to the cinema with me once every couple of months and then we went for coffee. It was quite pleasant, actually, and not something for which I could realistically demand payment. Any workshops that go ahead (ie, any that are actually interesting enough to attract attendees) are paid, but again, check the contract - I was always paid for these.

Anyway, if any potential teachers have bothered reading this far, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I'm not a walking ad for the school, so I'll give you an honest answer as best I can. The school has my permission to share my details, you can get my email from wroclaw@myspeed.pl. Likewise, if any of the above commentators want to ask me something, get in touch personally and I'll be happy to fill you in. Also, check out the Facebook group Wroclaw Expats for more details of life in the city - Wrocław is an incredible place to live, and whichever school you work for, you'll have a fantastic time here. Good luck!
tigeresscub    
9 Sep 2014  #25
Any feedback on the Speed school in Bielsko-Biala?
jon357 65 | 13,654    
9 Sep 2014  #26
Am I the only person to have noticed that these rather long posts from guest poster(s) praising that place to the hilt use almost identical language, punctuation and capitalisation?

As I say, fishy. And ham-fisted too.
AndrewN    
12 Apr 2015  #27
I worked at Speed a few years ago and just stumbled upon this thread. It was my first job after finishing my CELTA and moving to Europe. Although it was not the greatest experience of my life, I would still recommend the school to friends and others. I improved my teaching and I have not had any trouble finding jobs even if with experience using the Callan Method. The pay was adequate to live very comfortably in Bielsko (quite a cheap city) and I always had more than enough teaching hours. Although Andrzej's personality can sometimes seem mean and cold, he is a very loyal employer. He was very understanding when I was going through some emotional stuff, loaned me money when I was broke upon arriving in Poland, and helped negotiate with my landlord when he tried screwing my roommate and I out of some money. Again, Speed was a good learning experience for teaching and though I can understand that people may not like it or have some personal issues with the school, I would still recommend it.
OldGirl    
1 May 2015  #28
I've just come across this forum trying to track down an old colleague from Speed. I must say I'm surprised at all the negativity. Most places of work have their ****** politics & this place is no exception. But to be fair, I never would've got a teaching job had it not been for Martyna & the fact that the experience & qualifications weren't required for such a post there. It was one of the best periods of my life, the students were so lovely, the secretaries were really sweet & I enjoyed my teacher's flat & many European trips away! It would be a shame for potential teachers to be put off by this forum. I actually disliked teaching but despite that, stayed at Speed for 3 years because of the camaraderie.
jon357 65 | 13,654    
1 May 2015  #29
Yet another spurious review, written in the same style as the others. Don't they realise that this is actually the opposite of an advert? It definitely doesn't inspire any confidence in them.

At a quick glance, 4 obvious language points (and a couple more debatable) in one short email that indicate it wasn't written by a native speaker of English...
Argen9120    
13 Nov 2015  #30
Having worked at the Speed Schools in both Tychy and Bielsko I can say that either most the above is bull **** and written by complete ***** or that the schools have now realised their errors and completely changed for the better. The wage is perfect, I managed to buy food, go travelling, drink plenty of beer AND save a bit... Obviously those above who've said it's not enough are **** at controlling and managing their finances.

Peace.



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