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Teaching in Eastern Europe/Starting Over

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Joined: 06 Jan 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:00 am    Post subject: Teaching in Eastern Europe/Starting Over Reply with quote

I have an English degree and TESOL certification and a couple years of experience teaching in the states and abroad, and now I'm looking to teach again. However, I don't want to teach in Asia (which I believe would be too much of a culture shock and I've heard mixed messages about the treatment of teachers in certain countries) or Latin America (where Iíve taught before). Does anyone have any suggestions for someone interested in Eastern Europe; countries and/or schools with good reputations? Iíve been told by several people that itís better to get certified in the country you want to teach in, but Iíve already been certified, itís a TESOL and not a CELTA, but would that be an issue? Is there anyone out there that has taught in the Czech Republic, for example, that could steer me in the right direction? I know these questions are a little scattered, but it has been a while since Iíve taught and I feel like Iím starting all over again.


Also, has anyone had a bad experience at a school, left, and then been stranded in that country? When I taught in Latin America I first worked on a farm while I looked for work, and Iím thinking that might be a good plan b. I was very fortunate to find employment, but without the farm, I donít think I wouldíve had the confidence to just get on a plane and hope for the best. Has anyone had a similar experience combining farming and teaching?
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Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your TESL cert is from an on-site school, at least 120 hours, and included supervised teaching with real students, highlight those key items on your CV so that employers will know you have a CELTA equivalent.

If it was an online or short course, or you did not have the supervised teaching practice, your cert will be considered substandard for Central Europe and you'll want to consider a new cert that fits the standard. If you need to upgrade, plan to come over for a course in August - and sign up soon; it's by far the most popular time of year.

Jobs in this region aren't normally found from abroad (exceptions are usually either dodgy or the occasional very rural employer - or if you have specialist quals). Hiring season is end August through September. Best bet is to come over end August, so that you have the max time on your 90-day Schengen tourist visa (google Schengen if you don't already know about this). This gives you the most possible time to find an employer who will give you a contract and also time for you to arrange for a visa. In the Czech Rep, that will most likely be a zivnotensky list - go the CR forum below for more info.

Coming at a different time of year, also on top of being a non-EU citizen, sets you up for more likely failure to find something legal. Timing is really important to give yourself the best possible chance.

By the way, farming won't work in the Schengen region (google, again).
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Joined: 06 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. My certification did not include supervised teaching with real students (only other teachers), so I started working at the school that I received the certification through, initially auditing classes, then supervised while teaching, co-taught classes, tutored, and then became a regular substitute, which Iím hoping will compensate for my lack of a CELTA. That, and my experience teaching abroad afterwards. Iíve included these factors in my CV. Iím trying to avoid spending the money on another certification at this point in time, partially due to the cost, but also Iíve heard from many, many people that these courses do not help you find employment afterwards, they essentially just offer you training and a place to stay while you do your best to network. Iíve yet to hear of someone getting the job that a program has Ďguaranteedí them.

So, if itís a bad idea to attempt to have a job lined up before I arrive - I need to be in country, find my own accommodations for possibly three months while I seek employment, and hopefully find an employer that will assist me in procuring a visa and a more permanent living arrangement? Thatís quite a leap of faith.

Also, Iíve found several farms through the WWOOF website that are located in the Czech Republic. Am I missing something?
Thanks again for the advice. I need it.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iíve yet to hear of someone getting the job that a program has Ďguaranteedí them.

No, no 'guarantees' in Europe. This is an employers' market, essentially - there are lots of teachers here. That's not to say that work can't be found, but there are no schools that hold places for and automatically hire some traiing centres' grads. There are quite a few training centres as well.

Yes, for Europe, given the conditions above, it's extremely rare to find a job from abroad. You can certainly attempt to find something, but don't be discouraged if you get zero responses. Employers aren't that interested in CVs unattached to a living candidate, when there are lots of living candidates standing in their offices looking and sounding professional and reliable, and ready to teach a demo lesson.

You will need to highight the supervised teaching you have had, and include any letters of recommendation from qualified people who have seen you teach. Without the key 'supervised' component, no-one knows if you've taught WELL, you see. Again, this is a stronger requirement given that the market here is very much in favour of employers. They can basically afford to be picky about this.

This is a considerably easier market for teachers from the UK - the travel expenses are far less, and they have zero work visa hassles - ditto the employers who hire them.

As for farms, I haven't the faintest idea. All the farmworkers I've ever known were Czech or Ukrainian or other Eastern Europeans. The Czech Rep isn't a huge agricultural producer - you might consider Poland or Ukraine if farming is an important element for you.
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Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 627

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as farm work in Poland, it's hardly worth the time. My in-laws own a lot of farmland and they hire locals to work during the peak season for less than ten PLN/hr.=less than three dollars. Plus the fact that you probably don't speak the language, whereas the Ukrainians that they also hire can be understood, makes the attractiveness of hiring American farm laborers not very great. As for Poland, or Czech for that matter, does anyone actually work on a visa that the school has provided? I got visas from schools when I came over in the early 2000's but it has been years since I've even heard of a school going through the trouble. Everyone I know is either married, from the EU, or has a sole proprietorship which allows them to work. I can't imagine a school in Warsaw actually writing a letter of intent to hire, sending it to the U.S., someone going to a consulate...etc. etc. It seems like a lot of unnecessary work, when, as Spiral points out, there are plenty of teachers around.
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Chris Westergaard

Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Posts: 215
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run The Language House TEFL in Prague and there's a couple of things you should consider.

1. You'll need visa help, probably in the form of a Zivnostensky. If you don't prepare for this, your career in the CZ will probably end in 3 months.

2. Your skills may or may not be good enough. You will be competing with other teachers who have all at least undergone a 4 week course with supervised teaching practice.

* Note: due to the heavy amount of competition between TEFL certificate courses in Prague, I would imagine that the training here is even MORE complete than most courses worldwide with most courses offering more to win the hearts of language schools in the city for their graduates.

If you want to work in Prague, I can help. I won't sell you a course, because I don't think you'll necessarily need one, but I'm happy to chat with you over Skype or something and tell your options.

Here's my email. [email protected]

The Language House TEFL
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