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Visiting Prague to look for jobs
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alexmac84



Joined: 28 Dec 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:30 pm    Post subject: Visiting Prague to look for jobs Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm visiting Prague in September or October and wanted to see if I could interview with some schools (even if it's just an informational interview) to get an idea of the opportunities available to me. I'm from the U.S. and have a career as a professional writer, but I want to try out teaching as I've really come to enjoy that more than sitting in front of a computer all day.

I was wondering if you could suggest:

1) any schools you think would be a good place to start working for (I haven't formally taught English before, I have just volunteered as a teacher in Japan and the U.S.).

2) any TEFL schools that could place me, and are in your eyes, "good schools."

3) I'm guessing it'd be hard for me to get a job in sept, oct. If not then, when's another good time to return and look for work? I'm potentially thinking of extending my stay until November too...though I won't have 8000 proof of income for the visa if I do that!

I've been reading a lot on these forums and it seems like the CR is not great with pay..but I'm still curious to investigate my opportunities there. If there are other European cities you think are better, please also let me know.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

September is a good time to find work. October is a bit late. Most contracts are Sept/Oct thru June.

There are lots of teachers on the job market in Prague (because there are a number of CELTA and equivalent training centres in the city) and 99% of them have a CELTA or equivalent certification (see parenthetical statement above for why). If you don't have a cert, it will be much more difficult for you to find work.

Ideally, get a cert in Prague in August. You are then on the ground at the hot hiring time, and a training centre can give you valuable information about local schools. The training centres won't 'place' you - you will still need to line up interviews and go through a normal hiring process on your own.

As for specific schools, there are many in Prague; most are ok. Unless you've got a cert, you won't be a hot property for any of them.

Also, your nationality matters. Much easier if you are from the UK or other EU member state. As a U.S. citizen, you'll have a harder time finding an employer who will help you through the paperwork.


Last edited by spiral78 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as other European cities, as a U.S. citizen, the options open to you are very limited. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine are possible. Germany can be an option; there is a very useful thread on the Germany board about how to go about getting freelance work permits there as a non-EU citizen.

Forget about Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia, basically. There are some limited student-visa arrangements for Spain (you have to study full time, essentially, and teach part time) - more info on the Spain board.

Also keep in mind that you have only 90 days in the entire Schengen zone - not country-by-country, before you have to exit for 90 days. Google Schengen zone if you're not familiar.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 791
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Forget about Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia, basically. There are some limited student-visa arrangements for Spain (you have to study full time, essentially, and teach part time) - more info on the Spain board.


I know Americans who've made France work by going auto-entrepreneur but you need at least two clients and realistically you need good French to deal with the paperwork.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and there's also the marriage-to-a-local route:-)
But without local contacts and language skills, the 'other' options are extremely difficult to pull off. Confused
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alexmac84



Joined: 28 Dec 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much you two! Seems like this year is going to be tough since I'm essentially in town on holiday and wasn't planning on getting my certification while I was there (Nor would I be able to finish in time for hiring).

So it looks like coming back next year would be best. If I do that, do you recommend any schools over others? Ones to avoid?

Thanks for all your help.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As for specific schools, there are many in Prague; most are ok.


There are over 50. The ones which have been around longer are usually better. As a US citizen, you basically want one that will help you with visa paperwork as much as possible; be aware that lots of schools these days don't want to bother - they can hire EU citizens without any hassles, and there are lots around.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to ask a question related to this - I'm considering going to Prague in late September to look for a job. Is this a good time or is it too late?

What are the chances of finding work? How much experience do they require? Do schools offer professional development or do they want you to be ready to go right off the bat?

I'm an American, I have a CELTA, 1 year of teaching experience to JHS students in Japan a few years ago (JET program, so a teaching assistant, not a full teacher), and recent online and tutoring teaching experience (ESL, and also non-ESL, math, etc.).

Any advice on this regard or idea on how the market is currently?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll be a bit late (now is the peak hiring period), but might find something. CELTA is a plus, but your experience in Japan is unlikely to impress much (Japanese students and Czech students are apples and oranges. Or chalk and cheese, more like).

Schools will want people ready to go off and teach businesspeople immediately. They're not going to mess about training you. You will most likely be asked to do a demo lesson; if you do ok, you're off.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Spiral, I would probably need some training or development during the early stages of teaching, since I don't actually have that much (recent) classroom teaching experience. Perhaps schools outside of Prague would be easier or more accommodating, and provide an easier transition if there is less competition?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might be worth a try, but it's just a fairly small job market overall. Really small cities like Tabor, for example, support a couple of long-timers, but unless one of the regulars has left, few openings around full-time.
Pisek, Ceske Budejovice, other middle-tier cities. Maybe, but it's a bit of a gamble.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your feedback. Yeah Czech in general seems like a pretty popular destination. Beautiful country, I can see why!
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the other alternate hiring season? Any jobs start opening in later months? How about January?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small bump in January. You might be able to cobble something together then, but I think it would take great good luck to come up with one full-time gig in January as a newcomer.

Still, you never really know 'til you try - I can say that it's a tough job market til I'm blue, but definitely people find jobs here, so don't be discouraged! Just be realistic in your expectations, then come over and give it a shot, assuming that you have the resources to support yourself for a couple of months if you don't find something.

The basic message is that it's not a given; some people don't find work, or don't find enough work to support themselves. Some do.

Actually, on the 'resources' note, consider:
Come over in early January, start job search. Start working maybe in the last couple weeks in Jan, maybe at first of February. Schools pay monthly, the month AFTER the work has been done, so unlikely any income til early March. Most schools will help you find housing (shared most likely) but very few provide it - usually only those that are really seriously rural, or very high-end, requiring specialized qualifications (international schools).
And obviously you need to be able to afford a return flight ticket.

It sounds awful, I realize, but it is in fact do-able; many people 'do.' Again, just be sure to be realistic and you've a better chance of success.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that's a really helpful response regarding the right attitude to take towards a job search there, and what kind of what I was thinking.

I think I'm going to do a bit more research first, I've already contacted some schools and mostly gotten the response of "are you in Czech Republic?", so it's hard to tell about job prospects, but the response hasn't been too overwhelming.

I was trying to avoid Russia, which might be a better place to get your feet wet but not really a place I want to go at the moment. That said, I think I'll try to figure out some arrangement where I'm not just flying over there then hemorrhaging money and have some sort of backup plan in case since it does seem risky.
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