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Getting started in Warsaw

 
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tangmu



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Chengde

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 9:58 am    Post subject: Getting started in Warsaw Reply with quote

If the general rate of activity on this forum is any indicator, it would seem ESL in Poland is as dead as a door nail. However, it does seem from the postings that Warsaw is still a viable place to seek work in Poland as an English teacher.

Can anyone offer some tips on how to get started in the capital? Should one first seek employment with a school or should one immediately try to get some privates (though public postings, etc.)? I'm asking about the situation as would concern a native speaker with degree related to languages and years of ESL experience, not for a newbie with no credentials.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1597
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:10 pm    Post subject: well.... Reply with quote

If I were you, I'd head there at the end of August and hit the road with your CV arranging interviews, building a timetable and adding the privates as you go. However, I'd point out the following: You need to ask yourself if you are going to be employed on an umowa and which umowa. If you go the soul-trader route ie set up a company, privates ie companies will treat you more seriously but there are pros and cons to this depending on how long you want to stay as the insurance payments after 2 years ramp up considerably whether you teach 1 lesson that month or not. Flats in Warsaw can be costly and the commutes long. The last time my wife and I went for dinner there in a Thai place it cost 500 PLN for 2 meals and a bottle of Prosecco. I'll be there in 2 weeks so can update you re costs.

I have 23 years' qualified experience and a hell of a CV. You will be treated like a new teacher. I know because I had to work there in 2014 for 3 months in between 2 contracts elsewhere. No-one actually cares if you've got this or that, it's all about what sh1tty hourly rate you charge. Race to the bottom stuff. Not saying that you can't change that after a year or two but it's where you'll start. Some of the hours were at Empik and I had to get a lawyer involved to get paid my 2000 PLN (50 PLN/hour minus tax, do the maths for the number of hours). My private lessons were 75 PLN/hour for FCE prep and my students all got an A and that bit was pretty enjoyable. One of the companies I worked in said ;'You're the first real teacher we've had.' This made it all the more galling since the blokes there before me were getting paid the same rate.

The TEFL scene in poland is dead. It's barely a living these days. The old school mob make more money doing translation and proofreading. I live there but work elsewhere. I'm going back soon for good but due to investments and some money I inherited I can choose to work or not. My polish wife thinks native speakers have become a joke and no-one takes them seriously. Quite a few of her colleagues agree and she's an HR Manager.
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juriusz



Joined: 05 Sep 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On top of that, there are some (rather chaotic) changes being implemented by the government. Next year there might be more Polish English teachers who are going to choose private market over public schools. So more competition and lower pays are likely to follow.
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wojbrian



Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What changes are being pushed through?
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juriusz



Joined: 05 Sep 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starting from 2018 teachers are not going to get apartments from schools and different salary calculations were implemented. Some teachers reported that their working hours were shortened and that they may not have enough to make ends meet. I think that the way of calculating bonuses was adjusted (not in teachers' favour of course). The salary in public schools has always been a joke (some make under 2K PLN a month) but with all the bonuses, some people were willing to accept it. Doesn't seem to be the case these days.

Generally, it's chaos, nobody really knows what's going to happen but quite a few people want to leave public schools. Some will do it, some won't, some will choose corporations, some tutoring and private schools. Sadly, whatever happens, chances are slim that the salaries and rates are going to improve.
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wojbrian



Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2k a month is not enough, barely passable if housing is included. I would never move back to teach if it was my only income. Just look how the posts have fallen off the past few years.
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billbob



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't say that native speakers have BECOME a joke. In a decade of working in the private efl sector in Poland, I can say that when I started there were serious, able teachers, absolute disgraces and all types in between. The same was true 10 years later.

For sure, by about 10 years ago, no-one was "fooled" by native speakers anymore. From what old timers have told me, people stopped kissing your ass and paying you their hard earned zloties to hear you ramble on JUST because you were a native a long time ago.

I know capable Polish teachers snatching clients off natives: corporate groups, not just individuals.

Had a conversation with a native speaker EFLer in Poland acquaintance some months back. After a couple of years teaching, he'd reached the conclusion that the most fundamental quality you can possess to give you an edge as a native speaker EFL teacher is "not being weird"Smile This is especially true when getting rich people to invite you into their houses and pay good rates for teaching their kids!!!
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1597
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:22 pm    Post subject: yup Reply with quote

Yes, I agree Billbob. Don't look like a loser and you have a better chance. That holds true anywhere though. And while it's true that the more serious you are, the more seriously you'll be taken, it's hard to be serious for 10-20 quid an hour (when that hour is actually 2.5 as you have to get there and back and pay your petrol etc.)

The BC is Warsaw pays OK but I keep getting offered work by the BC in Poz and they frowned when I said my rate was 75/hour and I thought I was lowballing. I'm not saying it's impossible afterall, I had a private paying my 250/hour once but it takes a whole lot of networking and years to set yourself up in Poland.

I taught there between 95 and 99 (the golden era) and did a short stint in 2006 and 2014. I've had a house there for years and am on my second wife. I know the country extremely well.

I wouldn't head there now to start off. Fortunately, I'm in a different position financially and when I go back there to live (I work elsewhere), I might, just might teach 2 hours a day just to keep busy. But then again, I might not.
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