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New teachers thinking of coming to Poland
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:28 am    Post subject: New teachers thinking of coming to Poland Reply with quote

I'd like to a share a bit about my first year teaching here. I'll try not to go on forever and include only the stuff that I would like to have known before I got here.

Firstly, about my job. I have taught adults (4 hours per week), teenagers (10 hours), business classes (6 hours) and individual lessons (5 hours).
Most of my classes went well, I got on with the students and they occasionally put up with my infrequent mistakes in grammar with good grace. They obviously didn't expect perfection. One class of teenagers was a nightmare but I think that's par for the course. As my boss said, the reason he started a language school was so that he didn't have to teach teenagers anymore.

The business classes have been a mixed bag. Sometimes they are eager, other times apathetic and irritating. Sometimes they have 5 weeks in a row with no cancellations, then they cancel 4 lessons in a row.

My boss has been fair. I've always been paid on time and never pressured into taking more classes than I wanted. The DoS has had trouble communicating in a tactful way with staff but she's not the demon headmaster. (McGregor Language Schools, if you're interested)

Secondly, the money/living situation. I've worked in Myslenice, a small town of around 40000 people, for nearly 9 months and get around 2300zl per month (after tax) for 25 hours, which includes an apartment. I share with 2 other people and it's furnished to a basic standard. We have all the stuff we need provided - microwave, oven, kettle, internet router, internet contract too, etc. I only pay bills which are miniscule in the summer (70zl) and only 30-40zl more per month in the winter.

This salary is easily enough money to live and travel on.

I have travelled to the mountains (Tatras, Bieszczady and Beskidy) countless times. Really, it's more than 10 times but less than 20, I can't remember. Also, to Israel/Jordan in winter break, to Wroclaw and recently to Lwow for a few days.
It's even enough to save (don't delude yourself into thinking you'll be able to save a lot in your first job in Poland). I've got about 8000zl in the bank, which I'm happy with.

On a day to day basis I've bought food from the more expensive supermarkets and eaten out at least once a week. Recently, I've been eating out 2/3 times a week because I can't be arsed to cook anymore!

Krakow is 40 minutes away on the bus. I personally wouldn't live any further from a big city as I'd get bored. Next year I'm hoping to live within 10/20 mins of either Krakow or Moscow.

I hope that was kind of useful. Any questions, just ask.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 748
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:32 pm    Post subject: Erm Reply with quote

I'm not being facetious but how the hell do you live on 80Zl a day and travel and save 8,000Zl? You teach 100 hours a month for what is basically 24Zl an hour plus a 33% share in a flat rental.

OK no kids is a given. I'm assuming you don't drink, smoke, run a car, eat in restaurants (I don't include kebabs, milk bars and the like), need to buy clothes, electrical goods, stay in hotels, pay czynsz or blow dosh in Starbucks.

Seriously, that's 14 quid or 23 bucks a day in Europe. Horrifying.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 524

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stonethecrow, is it your first year in TEFL in general?
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Post Mortem



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see things worked out for you, STC; thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the same first-year experience.

Question: do you feel that being in small city/town was a factor?
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 505

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the insecure egomaniacs begin to ruin another thread which really has nothing to do with them...
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 886
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Stone!

Sounds like you had a pretty normal first year in.

From your last comments you are weighing going to Russia or staying in Poland so I am curious what sort of factors are on your mind in reaching a decision?

Do you feel you developed (in any of several different ways) as a result of your experience?


Last edited by ecocks on Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 886
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
And the insecure egomaniacs begin to ruin another thread which really has nothing to do with them...


+1
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 748
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I don't know if that comment was aimed at me. I just wonder how you can live on that? Small towns are cheaper sure but not that cheap. I was wondering if this was a subtle advert.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 886
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
And the insecure egomaniacs begin to ruin another thread which really has nothing to do with them...


+2
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 748
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:20 pm    Post subject: well... Reply with quote

The longer people put up with this exploitation, the longer it will continue. Amen.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 505

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, no balance in the argument. Of course you can make more, you can make less, you can teach more or less, you can live in a desert, on a mountain, on a plateau etc. etc.

If you don't like the wages or conditions anywhere, you don't have to go. This fellow was just sharing his experience which he seemed to enjoy. I'm sure if he stays he'll figure out a better deal or he'll eventually move on or he'll stay here and continue in his job or whatever else.
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Janek



Joined: 25 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Krakow, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: Erm Reply with quote

[quote="dragonpiwo"]I'm not being facetious but how the hell do you live on 80Zl a day and travel and save 8,000Zl? You teach 100 hours a month for what is basically 24Zl an hour plus a 33% share in a flat rental.

OK no kids is a given. I'm assuming you don't drink, smoke, run a car, eat in restaurants (I don't include kebabs, milk bars and the like), need to buy clothes, electrical goods, stay in hotels, pay czynsz or blow dosh in Starbucks.

Seriously, that's 14 quid or 23 bucks a day in Europe. Horrifying.[/quote]

Aside from my loan repayment I have no higher expenses. But I live first class spending less than 80 PLN a day. In Krakow, including Tatra trips, together with my wife.

Maybe reading exercises are not your strong point but he dind't have to pay for his flat.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 524

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post Mortem wrote:
Good to see things worked out for you, STC; thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the same first-year experience.

Question: do you feel that being in small city/town was a factor?


A small town like the one mentioned is the best bet for anyone coming to Poland for their first year post-qualification, in my opinion. I've noticed time and time again that the bad experiences in the first year tend to come at the hands of larger operations in cities - those in smaller towns tend to be treated better.

STC, did the school organise any workshops/training opportunities for you?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 748
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:37 am    Post subject: re Janek Reply with quote

I agreed with DD about Jeszyce and now funnily enough I agree with him about small outfits and out-of-the -way places being a more doable option. If this guy's happy, that's all that matters.

'I'm not being facetious but how the hell do you live on 80Zl a day and travel and save 8,000Zl? You teach 100 hours a month for what is basically 24Zl an hour plus a 33% share in a flat rental.'

That's what I wrote Janek. Please read the last 'chunk'. My native speaker reading skills are just fine thanks. How are yours? Now I am being facetious.

Anyhow, I seriously think the OP was not completely up front. In 9 months the fella earned about 2,250 and saved 8k of that, which leaves 14,500. Out of that he went on all these trips and to the Middle East and ate out in a restaurant once a week. Pull the other one. I've been to the country he mentioned and it ain't so cheap. Joining dots, this would mean living on about 30Zl a day or 6 quid in plain English, which is one kebab, a coffee, a tram ticket, a bowl of soup and 1 beer in a cheap pub.
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer a few questions.

Yes, it's my first year teaching English.

About big cities and exploitation - I think that it's probably right to say people in their first year get exploited in cities more than smallish towns. From my limited experience alone I can tell you that the choice I had to make last year was between Myslenice and earning 1000 Euros a month in Munich with no flat included.

Dragonpiwo, you're right, I had a tax rebate from HMRC that paid for my holiday to Israel/Jordan. Even without the rebate I could've still gone but obviously I would've saved less than 8000zl then. I really have no reason to lie or mislead anyone, it just slipped my mind.

No kids, no car, no insurance of any kind, no weekday transport (all walking because the town is so compact), no expensive hotels, no buying laptops/cameras, no debt back home but I do drink and eat in restaurants regularly.

About training, there was one 'workshop' which consisted of the boss talking for an hour, going on about various teaching situations and reeling off his old anecdotes and jokes whilst telling us to find our own teaching style without any tips on how to do this. I'm going elsewhere next year to a school that provides some professional development. This school has been pretty good to me in terms of learning the ropes but a second year would be a waste of time IMO.

Krakow/Moscow depends on whether I get offered a job in or near these cities. Then it depends on money, flat, hours, etc. I'd prefer not to teach as many low-level teenagers but I realise it's quite unrealistic not to teach teenagers at all in a language school. I've got a girlfriend in Krakow to consider too, although she's open to the idea of moving abroad.
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