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I want to teach English in Poland and I don't know where to start! PLEASE HELP!


liseczka 1 | 4    
10 May 2018  #1

My husband and I plan to move to Poland in 3 years. He is Polish and I am a Canadian. I am trying to determine what I will do as a job when we get there and would like to take these next few years to prepare myself appropriately. It seems like the best option for me to be successful is to be an English teacher. I would be interested in teaching adults or conversational English preferably online, and I have also considered teaching in a preschool.

I have my BSc in Kinesiology which is completely unrelated. I don't know what to do next. My husband suggested I start trying to give lessons over the internet but I know nothing about teaching or grammar yet. Also, there's so many certifications I could pursue: TEFL, TESL, TESOL, CELTA etc. Every certification recommends itself as the best and all the information I am finding about them is contradictory. I was thinking about getting my TESL Canada certification and doing volunteer ESL assistant teaching for a year until I can apply to get my MEd in TESOL. However, I don't want to just overqualify/qualify myself to teach English only in Canada (TESL) since my goal is to teach in Poland (TEFL). But then TEFL seems so easy to acquire that I question its legitimacy. A professor recommended I get my BEd but I don't want to get another Bachelor unless its totally necessary. Do you have any advice for the route I should take? Do you know what is most recognized in Poland? Would you recommend something else?

I feel so lost and I would really appreciate any help!

delphiandomine 86 | 16,437    
10 May 2018  #2

Do you have any advice for the route I should take?

The most critical and crucial thing is to get a recognised teaching qualification in Canada that will allow you to work in public schools. If you can get one that will qualify you to work as an elementary school teacher - and combine it with the Cambridge CELTA, you'll be very very employable.

The critical thing is being qualified to teach in Canadian schools - with that, jobs in international schools open up, and they are by far the most well paying and stable of them all. I don't know how the Canadian school system works, but qualified / licenced teachers of children are in huge demand.
Atch 14 | 2,241    
11 May 2018  #3

I would be interested in teaching adults or conversational English preferably online, and I have also considered teaching in a preschool.

That's two very different types of student and two very different types of teaching. I'm wondering what the rationale is behind it. Do you feel drawn more to one than the other and if so why? Don't make the mistake of thinking that small children are easier to teach, they're not, if anything they can be far more challenging as they grasp concepts completely differently. You need solid training in early years education to deal professionally with pre-schoolers.

One thing you should be clear about is that teaching in Polish public schools is not at all well paid so you should be looking at private establishments.

However as Delph points out there are opportunities in private, international schools at every level from kindergarten/pre-school up. He is also right that as you are planning on moving to Poland permanently you should invest your time and money in getting general teaching qualifications that will form a strong base for a decent career in the education sector in Poland.

One thing to consider is where in Poland you'll be moving to, If it's a rural area or small village/town then you might have to re-think your plans and go the online teaching route, but good qualifications are always worth having.

I see a problem though with your timing, as the next academic year starts in Sep 2018. You might be too late to apply for this year and a B Ed would take three years to complete but if you can start in Sep, you'd finish in the summer of 2021 which should be ok.
Crow 144 | 6,763    
11 May 2018  #4

My husband and I plan to move to Poland in 3 years. He is Polish and I am a Canadian.

Very, very wise. Now, start from learning Polish.
OP liseczka 1 | 4    
13 May 2018  #5

qualified / licenced teachers of children are in huge demand

Thank you, thats very helpful!
OP liseczka 1 | 4    
13 May 2018  #6

Now, start from learning Polish

Haha, that's the hard part :P I've been studying for the last 3 years and it feels like I'm standing still. Whyyy is it so harddd
OP liseczka 1 | 4    
13 May 2018  #7

Thank you guys for your advice! You honestly are helping me so much

If you can get one that will qualify you to work as an elementary school teacher

Do you feel drawn more to one than the other and if so why?

I honestly feel much more drawn to teaching adults. I want to teach people who want to be taught and I get excited thinking about helping people achieve their goals. However, I assume that there are not many jobs to teach adults, since the older generation probably has little interest in learning English at this point in their lives, while younger adults probably are able to speak English already from learning in school. So, the main reason I even considered teaching elementary is simply because I know there would be great demand as Delph said. The idea of teaching school age kids freaks me out a bit though, but that might just be nervousness/fear of the unknown?

Also I would like to move to Krosno ideally, not small but not huge either. Krakow is also on the table depending on where my husband ends up working but we both would prefer to live in Krosno if we can.

And as for timing, I did some digging and my university does offer the option to take BEd as an after degree on top of my BSc and it would only take 2 years. However it looks like that would only be for primary & secondary education and so far I only see masters options for adult education :/ I'll have to keep looking though
mafketis 16 | 5,578    
13 May 2018  #8

Whyyy is it so harddd

Don't worry... it gets harder! The good news is that when you're on the ground in Poland it gets a lot easier and the theoretical knowledge that you have will start coming to use.
Joker - | 696    
13 May 2018  #9

I am trying to determine what I will do as a job when we get there

You do realize that your will only be making 1/2 of the salary you would be earning in Canada? You would be better off staying there and saving up your money then retiring comfortably in Poland. Don't be surprised when they don't welcome you with open arms as well. There are many teachers from the UK competing with you for these low income jobs.
Joker - | 696    
13 May 2018  #10

I feel so lost and I would really appreciate any help!

The grass isnt always greener on the other side, just saying.

Why would you want to move from beautiful Canada to gloomy old Europe anyhow?

Good luck to the both of you. I hope you make an informed decision:)
delphiandomine 86 | 16,437    
13 May 2018  #11

The idea of teaching school age kids freaks me out a bit though, but that might just be nervousness/fear of the unknown?

If you can, could you volunteer with kids for a few days to see if you like it or not? I used to think the same as you, but I realised that kids are much, much easier and more rewarding to teach. For instance, you normally have much more freedom with kids, and you won't be questioned constantly (unlike adults, who always know best).

Also I would like to move to Krosno ideally

In this case, I urge you to get qualified to teach kids first and foremost. The most important thing is that you should be fully qualified before you come to Poland - if you are, then you won't struggle to find work with kids because there's a lack of good, qualified teachers here. Krosno probably won't offer much in the way of teaching adults, and the work that does exist will be pretty much horrible. Teaching kids will give you a stable timetable, normal working hours and conditions and prospects for the future - adults won't.

As for adult education - don't worry about it. Get the BEd and back it up with the Cambridge CELTA and you'll be good to go for teaching both kids and adults - there's no need for a MA in adult education here unless you want to go down the university route. Even then, plenty of people are working in universities with just a BA.
Lyzko 17 | 4,443    
13 May 2018  #12

TESOL might be useful as well, liseczka, along with at least a minimum of conversational Polish knowledge, of course:-)

When first in Poland, I did meet several Anglophone ESL-instructors who told me they wished they'd bothered to learn enough Polish to be able

to speak to their students.
OP liseczka 1 | 4    
14 May 2018  #13

Don't worry... it gets harder!

Yay I can't wait! :P That's encouraging though, thank you!
Atch 14 | 2,241    
15 May 2018  #14

Don't want to be a Negative Nellie but Krosno is tiny, population less than 50,000 people. Very limited job opportunities, even working with children. It's not likely there will be any international schools there and teaching English in a state school will be a few hours a week probably at very low pay - if they need your services. They often don't think it's necessary to have a native speaker and a class teacher will teach her own class with whatever limited English she has, thus even in Warsaw I encounter primary school age kids who greet me with Good Morning in the middle of the afternoon. That's a Polish thing, thinking that Good Morning is the equivalent of DzieƄ Dobry and can be used at any time during daylight hours. These are children who are learning English in school so that gives you an idea.

I took a quick look and there is a Helen Doron pre-school in Krosno. They teach through English, but Liseczka, you really need to be trained in early years education to work with under-sixes.

However, far more interesting for you, is that there is a state college located in Krosno for training English teachers. They probably send their students to the local schools for teaching practice. This means the schools are already getting English teaching services for free and are not likely to want to pay you for what they regard as the same thing. But on the plus side, if you get the B Ed there might be a job opportunity for you teaching in the college.

pwsz.krosno.pl/about-us-department-of-english/

If you click on the link to 'staff' you'll see there are a couple of native English speakers and there are email links for them. It might be an idea to contact one of them and ask their advice re training and job opportunities in the town.
WielkiPolak 57 | 1,028    
12 hours ago  #15

I don't know where people are getting all these two and three years of training needed to be a teacher. I am reading that the TEFL course takes about 12 weeks and includes early years teaching in that.
Crow 144 | 6,763    
11 hours ago  #16

Bring sandwiches with you and put them on ice.
delphiandomine 86 | 16,437    
11 hours ago  #17

I am reading that the TEFL course takes about 12 weeks and includes early years teaching in that.

Honestly, those courses are worthless, but more importantly, they're not recognised by the Polish MEN. They'll do if you want to work in a rubbish language school in a rubbish small town, but you need a university qualification to get a good job, or if you want to work in a public school with relatively comfortable conditions.
Lyzko 17 | 4,443    
10 hours ago  #18

As an ESL instructor/professor for many years, I frankly feel that most degrees, certificates etc. are all talking points, barriers, and smokescreens, designed to put road blocks in the way of top talent in the industry, often merely to satisfy state bureaucrats, most of whom have never taught in a classroom in their lives!!!

While basic foundation in language teaching should be a requirement, honest to gosh ability as well as logged-in classroom teaching hours should take precedents.
Folks in gov't. are scared of their own shadows nowadays and are far too afraid of lawsuits.

Plenty of teachers (as a former head teacher) have TESOL coming out of the wazzoo, but I've frequently had to let them go because they simply couldn't teach, that is, convey information in the classroom to ALL students, linguistic as well as non-linguistically inclined.
WielkiPolak 57 | 1,028    
8 hours ago  #19

you need a university qualification to get a good job, or if you want to work in a public school

So what are your qualifications delph? Did you have to do a year-long teaching course or study something at university to get to where you are today?

I know that people who want to get in to media for instance, often do a 3 or 4 year degree in journalism, yet in the UK that qualification doesn't help much. The NCTJ qualification on the other hand, an intensive hands on course that lasts 3-4 months, is much more desired by newspapers than a degree in journalism, because it teaches wannabe reporters the exact skills they need, at least in print journalism.
delphiandomine 86 | 16,437    
7 hours ago  #20

Ugh, mods, can you fix this for me please? I pressed send too early...
==
Yup, quite a bit of it.

I did a BA in Business Management, then did a PGCE in primary teaching in a really unorthodox way - I did the classes as a distance student (supposed to be on-campus, but they were clearly desperate for students) through the University of Greenwich, then found a two crap state schools in London that were willing to let me meet the requirements by being there full time for several weeks at a time.I don't remember how long it was, but it was three full time placements. It was utterly rubbish, the teachers were dire, the schools even worse, but at least it was primary and not secondary. As for the University of Greenwich, they were clearly just after cash and I can't say I learnt much there. I got the English QTS, but there was no way I was going to bother with the NQT year.

Finished that, and went on to do a MA in English with the pedagogy specialism at Adam Mickiewicz University in English so I'd be qualified to teach English as a school subject on top of 'elementary education' as they call it in Poland. Now I'm a so-called "nauczyciel mianowany' - working towards the diploma teacher level, but slowly because it doesn't really mean very much.

I'm also working very very slowly towards the qualification that gives the right to be a head teacher in Poland, but I haven't bothered to finish it yet.



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