Teaching English in Poland

By | December 16, 2016

Poland is a central European country and shares borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and a small Russian enclave. It has a population of 38.5 million people making it the 6th most populous country in the EU.

The Polish state was first established in 966 and the Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025. Around the end of the 1700s, Poland was divided between Austria, Russia, and Prussia and it only regained independence after the First World War.

At the beginning of World War 2, the country was invaded by both Nazi Germany and Russia and this invasion led to the UK declaring war on Nazi Germany and her allies. After World War 2, the country became part of the Soviet Union and it wasn’t until 1989 that the government was overthrown and a democracy was established.

Read more about Poland from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Poland

Teach English in Poland

Saint John Cathedral – Warsaw. Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

After joining the EU in 2004, the demand for learning English has steadily increased and as a result the demand for native English speakers has also increased. A number of companies in the country require that their staff can speak English and Polish people see English as a means of getting a better job.

There are many reasons why teaching English in this central European country is becoming more popular with native English speaking teachers. It offers a higher standard of living when compared with most Eastern European countries and there are lots of old medieval towns and cities to explore as well as many theatres, museums and other cultural delights. On top of this the price for food, drink, accommodation and travel is much cheaper than western European countries.

Moreover, Polish people are very friendly, welcoming and polite. Students are often very respectful to their teacher and they are usually very eager to learn.

It’s easy to see why this country is becoming a very popular destination for TEFL teachers.

Where to Teach English in Poland

As is usually the case, you will find most opportunities in the larger towns and cities. Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow, Poznan and Lodz are all very popular destinations with the most teaching opportunities available.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Poland

Private Language Schools

Poland Warsaw Warszawa Grzybowski Square March 2011

Grzybowski Square

There are many private language schools and there are new ones opening up all the time. You will usually be working early in the morning or late into the evening. A number of teachers will work in 2 or more schools to get enough hours to make ends meet, but there is relatively little competition for teachers and you shouldn’t find it too hard to find work in different schools.

State Schools

In state schools, you will generally be offered hours throughout the day, so it’s entirely possible to work in both a private school and a state school at the same time. However, state schools won’t normally pay as much as you would expect in a private institution.

In-Company

A growing number of businesses are hiring teachers to teach business English to their staff. Classes are usually taken after regular working hours and the pay is similar to what you would expect in private schools, but this type of work is generally more difficult to obtain.

Private Lessons

You might find some luck taking private lessons. After you have been in the country for a little while and have made a few contacts, you should be able to find a few students that want to study privately. The good thing about this is that you can be your own boss and work when you want to work. However, you will also need to be quite flexible because students might cancel or rearrange lessons at short notice.

This usually isn’t a full-time job and most teachers that take private students will do so to supplement their income.

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Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

Poland Wrocław City Hall. May 2012

Wrocław City Hall

It isn’t always easy to find a job without a degree or a teaching certificate, but as the demand for naïve English speaking teachers is quite high, you might find some employers willing to employ a native English speaker regardless of their qualifications.

TEFL certificates aren’t accepted by all schools and most will prefer that you have either a CELTA or a Trinity certificate. If you have a MA TESOL, DELTA or you are a certified teacher in your own country, you will have no problems finding a highly paid job. Usually online TEFL certificates are not widely accepted.

If you have a lot of experience, schools may overlook the fact that you don’t have a teaching certificate, but as stated above, it is rare to find a job without having the appropriate qualifications. If you do find any opportunities for unqualified teachers, the pay will usually be much lower.

Expected Salary and Living Costs

Visa Requirements

Ksiaz Castle, Poland / Zamek Książ

Ksiaz Castle

Poland is a member of the EU and as such, citizens coming from other EU countries don’t need a working visa. For this reasons, EU citizens are often preferred candidates because they don’t require a visa.

However, non-EU citizens won’t necessarily find it too difficult to obtain the relevant paperwork.

Some people work illegally on a tourist visa, but this isn’t recommended because you might get caught. You can leave and re-enter the country and be issued a new visa right away. Although technically, you’re not allowed to re-enter the country within 90 days, this isn’t always enforced. However, if one day the authorities decide to enforce this rule, you might find yourself not being allowed back in!

There are many different types of visas available and a number of different fees payable. Usually you will need to arrange a visa before you arrive in the country, but you will need a job offer to complete the process. It is possible to get a work permit when you are already living in the country, but it can be quite a complicated process.

For more information about obtaining the relevant paperwork, visit the official website for the Department of Civil Affairs and Immigration.

How to Find a Job Teaching English in Poland

Poland, Wawel Royal Castle / Zamek Królewski na Wawelu

Wawel Royal Castle

First of all, you can try looking for vacant teaching positions online. You will find that some schools actively advertise for teachers on the internet, both on jobs boards and their own websites. So this should be your starting point. However, it isn’t all that common to be offered a job online and many schools will prefer to complete the recruitment process in person.

If you are already in the country, you can try contacting the schools directly. Get a list of their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses and contact them.

You can visit the schools in person and try to speak to the person responsible for employing new teachers. Moreover, you can call them or send an email. Usually a mixture of visiting in person, calling, and sending emails is the best way forward.

Teaching English in Poland

Poland is becoming an increasingly popular destination for TEFL teachers because of the good standard of living, ease of finding work and relatively good salary. You won’t get rich working as a teacher, but you should be able to make more than enough to make ends meet and even save a few dollars each month.

Disclaimer

Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Poland, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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