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Questions about TEFL in Italy

 
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hip-hop boy78



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Hip-hop land

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:20 am    Post subject: Questions about TEFL in Italy Reply with quote

Hi to all the board members.

I'm currently teaching English in South Korea, and have been contemplating a move to Italy, to be closer to family, for the past few months. I'm not expecting to make such a move for at least another year but want to plan in advance and at least get some information together before I decide what to do. I'm a British citizen with an Italian mother, and family living in Emilia-Romagna and I can speak Italian fairly well.

I'll start off by giving a little background information regarding my experience. I've been teaching on and off for about seven and a half years. My teaching experience is spread across three countries, Japan (three years), Italy (six months), and Korea (currently four years), and I have taught students of all ages from kindergarten, YL to adults at private language institutes and public schools. During my time as a teacher I have taught conversational English, TOEIC, TOEFL, and prepared students for the Trinity examination. I do not possess any experience in teaching Business English but would certainly be interested in branching out into other areas such as this.

As for qualifications, this is where I am lacking, as I do not possess a teaching qualification or certificate. I do possess a BA and an MA in the political sciences. I know I would have to take a CELTA course and have no problems in doing so, as I believe it would help me learn new ideas as well as guarantee me a decent job.

I would ideally like to find work in Rome, or a smaller city such as Bologna, Firenze, Genova, Padova etc. I've thought about the possibility of taking an Italian course at a university or language institute initially, for maybe six months, and then try and find some part-time work to get started. Would anyone be able to recommend a good course or point me in the right direction of finding one?

Furthermore, beyond eslcafe and TEFL.com, what other ESL sites are worth scouring in order to find Italian job ads? I taught just outside of Naples back in 2004 at a private language institute where I was sent out to a couple of public schools over a three month period, and also taught classes of adults in the evenings at the institute itself. I found the job through my sister, who was working there at the time. Since I was actually working part-time, I received my pay in nero and my hours were never fixed, but I still managed to pull in anywhere between 900-1200 euros a month and that suited me fine. This time I would prefer to find full-time work with a relatively stable schedule. What are my options for finding decent full-time work in the cities I mentioned? How much would I realistically be able to earn each month?

As I mentioned above, I am also quite interested in expanding into other growth areas of English and learning new teaching skills. What are the current growth areas of English learning in Italy? How does one gain the necessary skills/training in order to be able to teach in those areas? Are there any specific courses one can take? How does one find such positions? If it's just a matter of acquiring experience then that might present certain problems, as one often needs to have experience before being able to get any experience in a certain job area.

If anyone can provide any useful input and/or links regarding the questions posted then I'd be extremely grateful.

Thanks in advance!


Last edited by hip-hop boy78 on Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Hip-hop boy - if everyone asked the same level of preparation questions that you ask!

Just a couple of quick answers - let me know if you need more detail...

1. Lack of CELTA / Trinity Cert may well be an issue for some schools, though slightly mitigated with your other quals. If you're concerned, rather than doing an Italian lang course, you could do a CELTA one (say in Rome) and start making contacts while you're doing it. If you already speak Italian fairly well, I'm willing to bet you'd be up to speed quite quickly if you're here, and "immersed".

2. Where I am (rural Italy) the big growth areas are in YL and exam courses (i.e. the Cambridge suite of exams). A lot of state school teaching, too, and some corporates (but training is one of those areas first to be cut back). In cities you might well find that helping uni students with their theses or corporate training is more popular.

3. I see a lot of jobs advertised on tefl.com so they're worth following up. I got my first job here (after moving from Rome) through looking in the yellow pages.

There is a lot of work here. The small school I first started working for has record numbers of students starting. If I wanted more work it would be relatively easy to find it - there's lots of demand.

You might be able to get one contract with one school, but I (and many others) work freelance. Get your residency then get a P Iva for invoicing. There's still work in nero, obviously, but the law has just changed halving the amount you can pay in cash (to 2500).

4. You'll probably get paid different amounts per month. Contracts end in June / July, and start again Sept / Oct. Some months you work much less (i.e. Dec and Mar / April depending where Easter falls). There are very few contracts where you'll be paid year-round, and very few "a tempo indeterminato" contracts. So you'll probably be taken on with the project contract, which doesn't entitle you (as far as I know) to holiday or sick pay.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This time I would prefer to find full-time work with a relatively stable schedule. What are my options for finding decent full-time work in the cities I mentioned? How much would I realistically be able to earn each month?


To TIR's very useful post, I'd like to just add a couple of general notes.

First, while you might get lucky and find something full-time and stable in the first year, it's more likely that you will spend the first year doing split shifts and other less-desirable gigs. The job market in the region is generally fairly competitive and the better jobs most often go to teachers who already have a local reputation and experience. If you find yourself with a less-desirable schedule, don't despair. The second (and third) years can be much better, as local employers and students get to know you.

Also, your teaching years in Japan and Korea may not particularly impress potential employers in terms of applicable experience. The teaching environment, expectations and motivations of the students, and approaches and methods used are considered to be very different between Asia and Europe in general. It can help if you express your understanding of this difference by not assuming that your Asian experience will put you above a teacher with just a couple of years in Europe.

I agree with TIR that you're doing a great job with the research, and I'm sure you'll make it work nicely when you are ready to make the move.
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hip-hop boy78



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Hip-hop land

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, thank you for the informative responses. I'll post a longer reply over the weekend when I have more time, and any other feedback you could give me would be great.

Cheers!
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hip-hop boy78



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Hip-hop land

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a few follow-up questions.

How would I go about gaining experience/training in certain growth areas like exam preparation or corporate teaching? I have some experience prepping Italian students for the Trinity Examination but no business teaching experience to date.

As I mentioned, I would prefer to live/work in a bigger city rather than in the more rural areas. However, a smaller city/large town wouldn't be out of the question. In your experience, which one did you find suited you better in terms of your work schedule, monthly income, better job opportunities, availability of more affordable accommodation, and quality of life? I'd be interested to hear what drove you to the countryside. Are there any rural areas you would recommend based on what you've seen or heard?

What are the opportunities for proof-reading/editing work in general?

In my previous experience of teaching in Italy (outside Naples), I found that I had to spend a lot of time lesson planning on the weekends because the institute that I worked for didn't provide me with any textbooks or other materials. I basically had to create all of my lessons from scratch, even for the public school jobs I had. Is this a common practice across Italy, or does it just depend upon the school that you work for?

That should cover it. Thanks again for your input.
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photo2541



Joined: 18 Sep 2011
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose this all assumes you have an EU passport.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm a British citizen with an Italian mother
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So sorry hip-hop boy - didn't see your follow-up question:

Quote:
How would I go about gaining experience/training in certain growth areas like exam preparation or corporate teaching? I have some experience prepping Italian students for the Trinity Examination but no business teaching experience to date.


Have a look at the Cambridge website to get a good idea about the exams. Many schools here run exam courses - you can get experience teaching them quite easily. Find out who your local cambridge exam centre is, and ask them about training to become an examiner. (I think they require a minimum number of years' experience, but check.)

For business English, again, have a look at some of the coursebooks out there, such as Market Leader. A lot of bus English stuff is telephoning skills, email writing, meeting skills - that sort of thing. Sort of "dressed up" English... If you've ever worked in an office, you'll be OK with it.

Quote:
As I mentioned, I would prefer to live/work in a bigger city rather than in the more rural areas. However, a smaller city/large town wouldn't be out of the question. In your experience, which one did you find suited you better in terms of your work schedule, monthly income, better job opportunities, availability of more affordable accommodation, and quality of life? I'd be interested to hear what drove you to the countryside. Are there any rural areas you would recommend based on what you've seen or heard?


For wider job opps, larger cities will have more on offer. But get somewhere small enough, and you'll have lots of work! If you're freelancing, you'll be spending a fair amount of time travelling to lessons / companies, so schedules are hectic - at least in the cities. Outside the cities, rents are cheaper, but you might get paid less. I left Rome because I wanted to buy a house, but also because Rome was giving me asthma problems. I love it in the middle of nowhere, but realise this doesn't suit everyone.

Quote:
What are the opportunities for proof-reading/editing work in general?


Probably not huge. I was always amazed that more people weren't bothered about getting their writing work checked. They'll ask someone else to have a quick read, use google translator, or just hope for the best...

Quote:
In my previous experience of teaching in Italy (outside Naples), I found that I had to spend a lot of time lesson planning on the weekends because the institute that I worked for didn't provide me with any textbooks or other materials. I basically had to create all of my lessons from scratch, even for the public school jobs I had. Is this a common practice across Italy, or does it just depend upon the school that you work for?


I'd say that depends on the school, though most will assign a coursebook to students.
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