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Do I need to take the 4-week Prague TEFL Course?

 
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pjmuggsie



Joined: 06 May 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Do I need to take the 4-week Prague TEFL Course? Reply with quote

Hey all,

I'm looking to teach in CR within the next year. Ideally I'd like to begin sometime in the beginning of 2013, but if it is much more difficult to obtain a job during that time, than I'd go over during August-September.

The reason I ask if I need the certificate or not is because I'm currently teaching at a university in China and took a week long TEFL class in person when I arrived in China. The class was not CELTA equivalent, but I wondered if the certificate + a year teaching English already would allow me to skip the 4-week TEFL course in CZ and still find work.

I'm hoping to land a job in Prague, but keeping other cities in mind if Prague will not work.

Other details:
-24 year old white American male
-2 Bachelor degrees - 1 in finance/1 in accounting
-TEFL Cert from Chinese government program
-1 year university teaching experience in China (full time)
-taught part time at a middle school in China for about a year

I'd appreciate any input or advice. Thanks!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9635
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Your experience in China won't get you too far in the Czech Rep ahead of total newbies and your one-week course won't be considered to meet the minimum standard for entry-level work. Employers may consider you prepared to teach Chinese students, but Czech students are a very different prospect in many respects.

Here is a very relevant recent/current thread regarding the significant differences between teaching in Asia and in Europe in general:


http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95456

You may be aware that Prague boasts five or six very active CELTA equivalent training courses. Trying to compete on this job market with a 5-day cert from a centre in China will put you at a pretty serious disadvantage, when most people interviewing for the jobs that are out there have a 30-day cert from a known local provider and thus at least minimal experience with European (Czech) students.

I think by far your best bet is to come in August, get certified (and used to European students) and then try to land a job in September. While there is work around, it is NOT like Asia - there is competition for jobs and entering the market with less than what most newbies here will have isn't a recipe for success.
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pjmuggsie



Joined: 06 May 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thread recommendation Spiral. It definitely seems that Europe, not surprisingly to me, requires a more intimate knowledge of teaching English than some Asian countries might.

Not sure if you would know this or not, but what are the chances of landing a non-teaching job in CR as a US citizen? I mean going to the country first and finding work over there and not finding a job at an international firm in the US and eventually trying to transfer over.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9635
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, I know quite a few people working in international companies, both Czechs and people from Anglophone countries. It's a pretty desirable location, and overall, you've got slim chances to walk in on anything outside English teaching. Unless your Czech is functional, and you have local contacts and pretty strong qualifications in your non-EFL field.


This is the kind of thing that you might work you way into after some time in the country, building a local rep and local contacts, and working on gaining at least functional Czech.


Keep in mind that you won't be a rarity in the country:
http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/community/american-community/

Not to mention the many thousands of British, Irish, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealanders around....
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Mercury Morris



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 29
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Many teachers lack degrees or impressive creds, etc. Reply with quote

You hear a lot on the forums here about how the job market in Prague is "competitive" or how "you need at least a Celta to land a job", or "how much more experience" an ESL teacher needs to get a job in Prague these days. I beg to differ, speaking from direct experience.

I've seen many newly hired teachers (most coming from both the UK and to a lesser extent USA) who have NO university degree/or dropped out, then took a really shitty, shoddy TESOL or TEFL cert program here---and they're busy teaching, very much in demand, have more privates than they know what to do with, etc. Its true, I know them personally. Many of these folks are not very bright even (for example they can't figure out how to put paper in the copier at school). It amazes me they are here and doing well, contradicting all the usual well intentioned advice of forum commenters.

If you're a native speaker of English you already have one foot in the door. If you can sell yourself (regardless of degree and certification), you look presentable, have some decent work history (the business English students really like it if the teachers used to work for Fortune 500 companies in USA/UK/etc, have impressive professional experience, etc), you'll find a job teaching English here.

As the OP is American your biggest hurdle will come at the beginning: getting the flat that is Zivno friendly, getting the Zivno, getting the first visa underway. You need a minimum of $8,000 in the bank and must prove it. Many, many, hoops to jump through. It can be done, but it is not for the faint of heart. Be ready for very, very many appointments with tax office, ministry of Interior, foreign police, etc. It literally never ends. You wil spend half of your time teaching, the other half will be spent navigating the bureaucracy to allow you, a '3rd country national' to live and work in CZ.

Finally, it generally does not matter when you come to Prag. The schools are usually giant, revolving doors---with teachers continually coming and going. The schools are always, always hiring new teachers any time during the academic year (Sept-June). Summer everything really slows down. The Czechs have a very strong hatred of ESL lessons in Summer, and will run from you if you attempt to teach them in July, August---or even September. They will usually cancel all their lessons in Summer.

I recently said goodbye to an fellow Australian teacher who decided she had enough of the Prague teaching scene after 3 years. Why? Her main complaint (and one generally agreed with by many), is the lack of steady income. There are several months when there is much less teaching activity in Prague (December, July-Aug, May, etc). The cancellations kill the income for most teachers here, its a common problem, and a very costly one. Just be forewarned that teaching ESL in Prague is not a big money maker. Truth be told, you will most likely spend all the money you earn on rent and food here, and have a little left over for beer. You will not make any money to put away, save, etc. I guess what I'm saying is come and teach in Prague if you are coming for the culture, sightseeing, to be in Europe, etc. Don't come to Prague with the intent of making a lot of money because you won't.

Good luck to the OP with whatever you decide to do Very Happy
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Czexpat



Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Many teachers lack degrees or impressive creds, etc. Reply with quote

Mercury Morris wrote:

Finally, it generally does not matter when you come to Prag. The schools are usually giant, revolving doors---with teachers continually coming and going.


The huge companies are giant, revolving doors. They're also almost universally awful to work for - the worst payers who lie to clients and teachers alike and who treat their teachers like dirt.

Yes, there will always be offers of work from them but the accredited ones will still require qualifications.

Sure, I've been offered work from an outwardly-legitimate school which then offered me work cash-in-hand (I politely declined) and they would undoubtedly overlook other technicalities.

But there's a huge difference between "work" and decent, legitimate work. One of the biggest problems I've found is that the best schools to deal with are small operations with limited teaching pools and their teachers don't want to share their names.

Filtering them out from the appalling fly-by-nights is a major task and one often only possible after bitter experience.
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