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Long-term TEFLers in CZ?

 
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Mrkev



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:34 pm    Post subject: Long-term TEFLers in CZ? Reply with quote

Hi all,

So last year I got to work for 6 months in the Czech Republic as an assistant native speaker at a primary school - it's an intern position meant for uni students, but they needed someone at short notice and as I'd just graduated I put myself forward. I loved it, fell in love with the country and am now seriously considering going on a TESOL or CELTA course and taking up a TEFL career. Problem is I'm set on going back to CZ specifically.

To add a bit more context, currently I'm working in the UK as a teaching assistant, working with kids that have learning difficulties, but I also do TEFL work here too as we have a handful of children from other countries.

From what I've seen on these forums there are a few people who've worked as a TEFL teacher in CZ for a long time, 10+ years. Considering CZ has such a reputation for being a short-term place for TEFL work, how have you ended up staying there for so long? Is it just a case of persevering, or did you land better jobs than most?

Thanks!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9299
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most teachers don't stick around for a number of reasons; winters are cold, the local language is difficult, they never intended to stay. But bottom line is that the pay for teachers is usually not enough to allow for savings and hence, few prospects of ever being able to buy a flat or car here.

HOWEVER:

There are some 'better' jobs around in the CR - meaning that they pay enough to do more than just scrape by.

The basic story is that new teachers should expect to pay a year or two of dues, while building up a local reputation and contacts (and ideally language skills, though I know a few long-termers who still get by with very weak Czech). People can and do work themselves into the better paid jobs (DOS, teacher trainer, working directly for a company, etc).

Often more qualifications eventually help; start out with a solid TEFL cert (take it in Prague) and moving up to DELTA and/or related MA.

It is possible, but requires patience, skill, and a bit of luck here and there.
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Mrkev



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a really great response spiral, thanks! I've asked this question in a few other places but I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone (unless they're running a TEFL course in Prague and want me to come study with them, of course.)

Is it safe to say any chance of getting a career and working at a better-paying institute is restricted to the greater Prague area, or are there other opportunities around the country? I fell in love with Prague when I was there but I'm not afraid of a bit of an adventure Very Happy
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9299
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, other (small) cities are also possible, given time, reputation, and luck. I know a couple of teachers who have been long-term and happy outside the metropolis. Same route as above applies, though. Not that much easier!

In fact, a bit more difficult in that local language skills will be more necessary than in Prague (but a good idea to work on learning the language in any case - it's pretty embarrassing to live in Prague for more than a year or two and not know how to do more than order in a restaurant). You've actually got a good start with your title here (mrkev is carrot in Czech:-)).
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Mrkev



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mrkev thing comes from my time as an assistant last year actually! I was writing my name out on the board and got to 'Mr. Kevin' before the kids started giggling Very Happy

I think my biggest fears about making the jump is finances and prospects. I'm pretty broke here right now so the move would be a huge commitment, and I don't want to work for however many years only to still end up working some dead-end job if I were to come back to the UK.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9299
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key to really making TEFL a career either abroad or in an Anglophone country is further qualifications, but one needs to get started at CELTA (or equivalent) level first. Going for a DELTA after a couple of years teaching is one way to boost employability, and a related MA later on is also very useful.

Those people who find TEFL a dead end are most often those who are reluctant to upgrade their qualifications.
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jaffa



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 331

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say don't teach in Prague. Amazing city but it can engulf you (re. Kafka) and you'll be struggling to cope with the costs. There are some great cities like Olomouc, Liberec, Hradec Kralove, Ceske Budejovice, etc, where you can immerse yourself and learn way more Czech language, which is the key to enjoying life there. In smaller places you can also get out into the countryside in 5 minutes and enjoy all that has to offer. State school teaching can be good fun and very rewarding if you are able to live on a lowish wage. Money goes way further in the boonies, too.
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Mrkev



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiral, does the (relatively) lower wages in CZ compared to other countries make taking those higher-level qualifications harder to afford, or is it still viable? I'd need a year or two under my belt before considering them obviously but it'd be good to know what the chances are.

Is there much of a market in Brno, Jaffa? It seems like a nice enough place to live/work.
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jaffa



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 331

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get a good feeling about a place, then go for it. For me it's too industrial - almost entirely circled by a factory zone and always looks a bit grim in winter. The centre is nice enough with plenty going on. The real hard-nosed go-getters usually end up in Prague so those staying behind tend to have a much more pleasant outlook.
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