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Teaching English in Wrocław - TEFL, fair pay?


Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #1
After having visited Wrocław for the first time during Euro 2012, I fell in love with the city and I met so many new friends! With nothing going on at home, I have now decided to move to Wrocław at the start of September with a view to teaching English and learning more Polish. I am already "proficient" in Polish whereby I can maintain basic conversation (and get around), but want to learn the nuances of the language. I have been on mylanguageechange.com and it seems pretty good!

Anyway, the reason why I'm posting here is that I am searching for places that are looking for/recruiting native English speakers. I'm 24 and with regards to qualifications, I have a 2:1 Honours Degree from Strathclyde University and I am currently doing an online TEFL Scotland course. I have viewed various post on these forums which suggest finding work in the bigger cities may be difficult. I am not looking to make great money or anything like that, just enough to get by. I am also aware that private lessons from native speakers CAN pay fairly well given the correct criteria are met.

Can anyone help me out or give me any advice? In addition, what am I likely to pay for accommodation if it's not included in any potential job?

Many thanks in advance,
Jono

P.S

Just noticed the sticky thread at the top of the board, sorry.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
10 Aug 2012  #2
I am currently doing an online TEFL Scotland course.

Worthless. Anyone that will hire you with this will also hire someone without it.

I am not looking to make great money or anything like that, just enough to get by.

Then - consider smaller towns. They are normally in desperate need of native speakers, and will normally pay around 1500-2000zl a month plus accommodation. A list of places to try -

- Gorzow Wlkp.
- Walbrzych
- Zielona Gora
- Radom
- Włocławek
- Grudziądz

for instance. Now is the perfect time to contact them looking for work - e-mail a CV and cover letter, then follow it up with a phone call a few days later.
pawian 157 | 9,053
10 Aug 2012  #3
Good advice but

After having visited Wrocław for the first time during Euro 2012, I fell in love with the city and I met so many new friends!

delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
10 Aug 2012  #4
Ah yes, the usual. He's discovered great girls and thinks that it might be an easy way to get laid.

Jono, a word of advice. The ship has sailed as far as British guys go - it's all about the latinos now in Poland.
pawian 157 | 9,053
10 Aug 2012  #5
Do you mean he may have the deck stacked against him and won`t get very far with laying/being laid?
OP Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #6
Yes, I'm going all that way purely for girls because it's not like there aren't any here in Scotland...ridiculous accusation.

I'm going because I have a like for the country. My grandfather is Polish and my ex-girlfriend of 3 years was Polish so that is why I like Polish culture so much. I've visited Poland at least 12 times in the past 4 years and have travelled all over. This summer was my first time in Wroclaw and I enjoyed it more than any of the other cities I visited.

Thanks for the genuine answer(s).
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
10 Aug 2012  #7
Yes, I'm going all that way purely for girls because it's not like there aren't any here in Scotland...ridiculous accusation.

Except we all know that Scottish girls are fat, orange and quite vulgar.
Nightglade 7 | 97
10 Aug 2012  #8
Going with neither relevant qualifications (you didn't specify what your 2.1 degree is) or experience is a one-way ticket to Misery City. As Delphiandomine said above - "TEFL" qualifications are worthless. If you wish to become qualified so you can put it on your C.V, then only the CELTA / Trinity are recognized and respected. The alternative route sans CELTA/Trinity is to have either (a) substantial [2-3+years] experience with teaching (English preferably) or (b) have a H.E background in education. But as I've said before here and in other threads - having neither of these will end unpleasantly for you. Poland has had an influx of "teechs" since EU inclusion and with surplus comes stricter requirements. Being a native speaker is no longer the deal-breaker.

Do yourself a favour. If you are only planning on teaching because it's the _only_ thing to do to allow you to move here, don't bother. You won't survive the stress, competition, long and tiring days and being ridiculed by students who will most certainly know more about the language than you do.

If you are planning on moving here because you really do like Poland (and not just the tail) and teaching is something that you are passionate about, then get qualified or experienced and bring something to Poland that it doesn't already have a surplus of: uneducated, unqualified, inexperienced and uninterested teachers.

Good luck.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
10 Aug 2012  #9
students who will most certainly know more about the language than you do

At mid-higher levels this is almost bound to be true. Poles want to know how English grammar works, and they ask their teachers. Jono, if you can't give an immediate answer to this question, think about doing a proper course:

Why are these sentences correct?: Put down the gun/Put the gun down/Put it down
But not: Put down it.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
10 Aug 2012  #10
My tuppence worth -

not sure there's that much a person can bring here tbh.

The average Pole working in the supermarket speaks pretty good English once they realise that's your language - they have a better education than most people working in a high paid UK office job.

Sorry, but it's true. I am a complete thicko compared to most Poles that may serve me in a shoe shop. My knowledge of everything from maths to science to language grammar and history is probably less than someone making the coffee here in Starbucks.

Getting work here is probably more about chutzpah and perseverance than it is in the UK, network and try again when you fail. Or you could get tremendous beginner's luck, like this chap: polishforums.com/work/poland-working-speaking-60962/#msg1290993

If you discover the secret to 8000zl a month working 2 days a week - let me know! I'm burning through my savings money at an alarming rate now, and haven't earned a penny here ever.
MoOli 9 | 484
10 Aug 2012  #11
If you discover the secret to 8000zl a month working 2 days a week

Robbing banks maybe?:)
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
10 Aug 2012  #12
"Does anyone speak English?"

"Nie."

"Damn, anyone got Google Translate?"

"Tak. Tutaj."

[bangs keys]

"OK, understand?...."

[shows screen to cashier]

To przyklejania powyżej, taniec
nikt i nikt nie będzie się nieszczęśliwy,
pobyt w mieście. Czy dokładnie to,
co kaznodzieja mówi - otworzyć
swoje pieniądze i dać mi swój sejf.


(This is a sticking above, nobody dance and nobody will get miserable, stay in your town. Do exactly what I the preacher says - open your money and give me your safe.)
Harry
10 Aug 2012  #13
Jono, first get your CELTA, then do a couple of years in a smaller Polish town, then you'll be able to get a job worth having in a bigger Polish city.

Anyway, I always found it easier to get laid in towns of under 150,000 inhabitants.
OP Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #14
Thank you all for the responses so far.

I haven't actually started my TEFL Scotland course, only registered an interest. CELTA seems to be the way forward so I have looked into that. I knew from the start it wasn't going to be as simple as "I'm a native speaker so I'll easily find a job" hence the reason why I posted on here. The more senior posters on here are probably thinking, "oh, here's another guy who is planning on going to Poland for the women,cheap beer etc. and thinks because he speaks English, he'll find an amazing job." That couldn't be further from the truth. One of the main reasons I'm going is that I want to learn Polish, simple as that. Of course there are other methods in which I could do this but I'm at the perfect time in my life where I have an opportunity to take a chance and do it.

What can I expect to pay for a studio/1 bedroom apartment in Wroclaw? Or would it be cheaper to share?

Cheers,
Jono
Harry
10 Aug 2012  #15
Jono, save your money and do a CELTA. I seem to remember that International House in Wroclaw used to offer the course, no idea of they still do.
jon357 63 | 14,110
10 Aug 2012  #16
I haven't actually started my TEFL Scotland course, only registered an interest.

Don't. Those things give you a bit of a taster which doesn't mean much but might help if you're off to Bangkok (where nobody cares about paper qualifications much anyway). Do a CELTA if you are serious about it.

Delphi's advice is right about smaller towns. Some of them aren't bad and they have one advantage over Wrocław - there are fewer people chasing work.

As a rule of thumb, if a European city has tourists and a resident or transient foreign population it is hard to get teaching work. If it has a leaning tower, gondolas, a triumphal arch or a Gaudi cathedral - forget it.

in some ways Wroclaw is the new Krakow. Too many foreigners wanting to teach English.
OP Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #17
Jono, save your money and do a CELTA. I seem to remember that International House in Wroclaw used to offer the course, no idea of they still do.

I checked that out mate. According to the CELTA website, they still do. It's in October.

Many thanks :)
Harry
10 Aug 2012  #18
In that case Jono, you might want to think again about the Wroclaw CELTA: if it starts in October it'll finish in November and at that time of year almost nobody is recruiting. Can you not get on a CELTA in Krakow or Warsaw which ends mid September? Or any CELTA which ends then!
teflcat 5 | 1,032
10 Aug 2012  #19
Or do one in Scotland. The cost will probably be about the same. I did mine at Basil Paterson in Edinburgh. Scary stuff for a month full on, but I got my money's worth. Mind you, that was when the mortar on the castle was still wet.
OP Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #20
In that case Jono, you might want to think again about the Wroclaw CELTA: if it starts in October it'll finish in November and at that time of year almost nobody is recruiting. Can you not get on a CELTA in Krakow or Warsaw which ends mid September? Or any CELTA which ends then!

There's one that runs from 27th August-21st September, would that still be too late? Cheers.
Harry
10 Aug 2012  #21
Jono, that would be pushing it really. Franky, right now is the time to be hitting schools with your CV. You might want to think about going in unqualified for your first year (some utter toilet like Radom) and then doing a CELTA after .

Or will IH Wroclaw still guarantee a job in some shiithole like Koszalin to all graduates of their course?
OP Jono88
10 Aug 2012  #22
They don't seem to offer jobs thereafter. I googled schools in Wrocław but I don't see many, or rather, I don't which ones I should send a CV to. Thanks.
jwojcie 2 | 763
13 Aug 2012  #23
Jono88, if your goal is to master Polish, get some new friends, and you are only 24, then maybe good way to go is just enlist to some uni?

You will have it all except money...
If I'm not mistaken EU citizen can study in Poland just like a Pole, this year is the last year of free of charge second studies and there is a lot of choice still because of demographic low...

well, just saying...
OP Jono88
13 Aug 2012  #24
If I'm not mistaken EU citizen can study in Poland just like a Pole, this year is the last year of free of charge second studies and there is a lot of choice still because of demographic low...

Are you serious?! I did not know about that! There is a Master's course at Wrocław University which I would be interested in but it lasts for two years! Can you share any more information on what you said above? My degree was in Human Geography and there's a Master's Degree in European Studies which is taught in English and also has a "Polish for foreigners" course included in the modules.

Thanks for the advice so far everyone, it has been a great help. It's stressful trying to consider all of the options available and especially on limited financial resources. However, that being said, it's something I've dreamed about for years and want to turn into reality. I would like to book a one-way flight and find a cheap place to stay but unfortunately, it's not as easy as that. My Polish is at a level where I would feel comfortable enough to do the basics but I would also like to improve on that as I mentioned in one of my previous posts.

Cheers, Jono.
jwojcie 2 | 763
13 Aug 2012  #25
Can you share any more information on what you said above?

Is not straightforward but should be possible:

General conditions for admission of foreigners for studies in Poland

Studies at state institutions at full-time programmes are free of charge for Polish citizens. From 2013 tuition fees for pursuing a second, additional degree at another faculty will be introduced. Evening system and other part-time programme studies at public universities are paid. The amount of fees due is set by the institution.
Full time studies, as well as evening and other part-time programme studies at private institutions are payable.

On principle, all aliens are entitled to take up studies at the Polish tertiary education institutions. The rules of their admission, however, and conditions of studies at public higher education schools vary depending on the foreigner's legal status in Poland. Some foreign citizens who study in Poland are eligible to receive the same benefits as Polish citizens (including free tertiary education). This principle applies to aliens in the following categories:

Individuals who received a permit to settle on the territory of Poland - what is a permit to settle? ->
Foreigners in possession of a valid the Card of the Pole - what is the Card of the Pole? ->
Foreigners with refugee status obtained in Poland;
Foreigners who were granted temporary protection on the territory of Poland
Migrant workers that are citizens of European Union (EU) member states, of Switzerland or EFTA member states - parties to the European Economic Area agreement - as well as their family members if residing in Poland;
Individuals with a long-term EU residents residence permit issued in Poland - what is a long-term EU resident residence permit? ->
Individuals granted supplementary protection on the territory of Poland
EU and EFTA citizens as well as their family members - parties to the European Economic Area agreement - as well as Swiss citizens in possession of a permanent residence permit.

Foreigners who do not belong to these categories can study in Poland on the paid basis, unless they are recipients of scholarships on which basis the relevant fees are waived (more information on the subject is available below).

Upon receipt of a justified application from a foreigner, the school rector may reduce the amount of tuition fees or waive them altogether.

You should check it on some more reliable source than some site though. I'm not sure how all that above reffers to the english program you've mentioned.

I mean they state that for EU citizens it is 2000 Euro per year:

If you interested maybe you should just email to the coordinator of this European Studies program:

Program Coordinator
PhD Maciej Cesarz
maciej.cesarz@uni.wroc.pl

Anyway, if this is daily program, then it wan't be probably easy to mix it with some job. On the other hand if you manage to get it for free, then you can just drop it...
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
20 Sep 2012  #26
Pretty much b*gger-all demand for new or unqualified teachers at the moment in Wroc - even private tuition is very quiet apparently. Check out Gumtree - you'll see they're desperate for students, 30 Zl an hour - etc - consistent with what I've heard from one or two teachers I've bumped into here. Only the established ones are getting any trade, I'm guessing.

this poor soul has tonight slashed the hourly rate to 20 zł & 1st lesson free - things must be pretty tough
john123 1 | 20
21 Sep 2012  #27
Delphiandomine:
Except we all know that Scottish girls are fat, orange and quite vulgar.

Why is it that she is allowed to post such things? I remember having a few of my posts removed, which were only barely touching 'controversial'.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
22 Sep 2012  #28
I see some posts are missing.

Did some altercation develop? I know some of you weren't happy to hear the probable (at the moment) truth - that £1000 on CELTA could be money right down the drain and you should do a little case study here in Wroclaw to see if those who do the course earn 1/10th of their money back a year after commencing work as tutors. Add to that the need to pay ZUS every month whether you earn or you don't (£50 approx) and it needs thought before splashing out that sort of cash.

There are a few people on this forum, I think 'Harry' must be one of them, who seem to be very knowledgeable and experienced English teachers with a following and clientele built up over many years or decades. There is a world of difference between the likely demand for a very proven product or service with years of momentum and word of mouth behind it, and a newcomer with a bit of expensive paper in one hand and an ad on Gumtree in the other.

For most of us, £1000 is not found on trees (well it is for Mervyn King but that's another show), and it is quite reckless to make it sound like you just do the course and then find students and a livelihood like night follows day. Although some of the better colleges here demand CELTA or DELTA from teachers, they still have enough applicants to make it a distinct possibility that the CELTA will not earn its keep unless you're very persistent, thick-skinned and quite patient.

Other cities might be a different story - I would caution anyone from running over here with their CELTA and expecting to find students. With or without the CELTA it's not at all easy at present. I suspect a lot of students will be far more swayed by 20 zl an hour offers than a CELTAite at 40 Zl an hour. That's human nature usually. To obtain a client base willing to pay good money takes a very long time I should think, unless you're one of those people who can charm the birds from the trees and get customers in 6 weeks as someone who PMd me claims to have done sans CELTA in another town.

Do not underestimate the luck factor as well as the certificates - nothing in life is ever so easy that you just slap money down, do a month's study, get a certificate, and get a decent income just like some course brochures might suggest for obvious reasons.
TommyG 1 | 361
28 Sep 2012  #29
InWroclaw, before you start flaming me for my silly spelling mistakes on a silly internet forum you should consider one thing:

I'm burning through my savings money at an alarming rate now, and haven't earned a penny here ever.

I've only been here for one month. I've already got a job with two schools and nearly a dozen private students. I still need a couple more hours teaching a week, but I am prepared to get off my 4ss and find the work.

I have had a lot of help from a few very decent people so maybe I'm lucky. But, when I give a lesson I have to prove myself every time. I had to give a 'free' demonstration lesson to a school director, she loved it and gave me a job there and then! Every single student I have given private lessons to through a school has immediately signed up for weekly lessons with me on an on-going basis. I will bring my schools a lot of business because they want to be taught by either me or another Englishman. Unfortunately, most get fobbed off with a second-rate yank who, although may speak American, can't teach or even pronounce English.

I would just say InWroclaw that I was going to offer to help you. I had previously read some of your posts and I really feel sorry for you. I'll help anyone who wants help, but obviously you neither need nor want it.

Well mate, I wish you all the best. Hope you find work soon. Take care...

But my advice to anyone else wanting to teach in Poland would be either to take a CELTA first or when you get here. I'm doing things the hard way. Ale tez jest zajebiscie! (I'm loving it!)

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