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current job situation in PL?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject: so Reply with quote

So Infinite/Delph-is this a good or bad omen for language teachers? I'm still debating whether to make a go of it here again and spend a year hustling to get my sh*t together re a timetable or take my wife to the UAE or Bahrain. I still have my rotation but am currently enjoying 'extended leave' as the company likes to call it. I call it 'a get out of dodge vacation'.

As someone who has only very recently started having meetings re work here, it seems that the following points are true for Poznan.

1-Lots of teachers
2-School rates are dreadful
3-They want you 'self-employed'
4-Some/many people in management who don't know their ass from their elbow re ELT materials
5-Lots of people who are not teachers offering private conversation classes on sites like nativespeaker.pl
6-Employers who want native speakers who are cheap and to hell with experience
7-Polish kieruwniks who are amazed a native speaker can teach grammar
8-The resurgence of method schools (ie Empik Insell, Callan, Logos Accelerated Learning/Direct method, Avalon, Speak Up, Berlitzto name but a few).

Getting blocks in-company would seem to be the only realistic and enjoyable way.
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Louisdf



Joined: 05 Feb 2013
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:54 pm    Post subject: Re: so Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
So Infinite/Delph-is this a good or bad omen for language teachers? I'm still debating whether to make a go of it here again and spend a year hustling to get my sh*t together re a timetable or take my wife to the UAE or Bahrain. I still have my rotation but am currently enjoying 'extended leave' as the company likes to call it. I call it 'a get out of dodge vacation'.

As someone who has only very recently started having meetings re work here, it seems that the following points are true for Poznan.

1-Lots of teachers
2-School rates are dreadful
3-They want you 'self-employed'
4-Some/many people in management who don't know their ass from their elbow re ELT materials
5-Lots of people who are not teachers offering private conversation classes on sites like nativespeaker.pl
6-Employers who want native speakers who are cheap and to hell with experience
7-Polish kieruwniks who are amazed a native speaker can teach grammar
8-The resurgence of method schools (ie Empik Insell, Callan, Logos Accelerated Learning/Direct method, Avalon, Speak Up, Berlitzto name but a few).

Getting blocks in-company would seem to be the only realistic and enjoyable way.

In the past, when there were less natives companies had to have classes in blocks in order to make it attractive for the native. However, now as there are a lot more natives companies usually have no problem finding people to come from 7:30-9 or 5-6:30. Sometimes there are blocks of 2 or 2 and a half hours but not usually any longer than that. However, people in executive positions can have classes at around 10/11am so if you choose your hours carefully you can still get near enough 25 hours a week.
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my own działalność. Small school in a small community. Everyone's looking for something different. Nobody can tell you one way or the other. The way I see it now, Poland respects quality but they don't want to pay for it. However, if you are consistent with your quality, you'll find customers willing to pay for it. It's all about the word of mouth here.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:51 am    Post subject: Exactly Reply with quote

'Poles expect quality but they don't want to pay for it.'

The wife and I were having exactly the same conversation the other night and I/we couldn't agree more and it's not just about teaching. I think it's true in many fields.

There is a lot of work here but I'm happy I can be choosy. Bottom line is, I have a job abroad I can go back to.

Presently I'm erring on the side of possibly working myself to death rather than being put to death Smile
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:56 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I think 'in the west', we expect quality and we are willing to pay for it and leave tip.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1200
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infinite wrote:
I have my own działalność. Small school in a small community. Everyone's looking for something different. Nobody can tell you one way or the other. The way I see it now, Poland respects quality but they don't want to pay for it. However, if you are consistent with your quality, you'll find customers willing to pay for it. It's all about the word of mouth here.
I think that about sums it up in the smaller towns here. But I must add "If they feel there is no other choice but to fork over for quality, they'll reluctantly do it." Hurrah.

A lot of these country bumpkins have a surprising amount of money to blow on English lessons.
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Rusty77



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 53
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:46 pm    Post subject: rates for private lessons and non-EU citizens Reply with quote

'Shake, regarding the country bumpkins having lots of money to blow, it would be great but I have yet to discover this phenomenon: I work in Warsaw during the week, and in a small town 50 km from Warsaw at weekends; my rate in Warsaw is 70 per 60 minute class; in the small town it's 40 for the same amount of time. (therefore I only teach in the small town very few classes, and to relatives, I am there because my partner lives there). This is based on privates. 'Been doing this for two years and have tinkered with many different techniques in attracting and maintaining students. I've found that most students make a decision based on price.
But more importantly than the focusing on the rural-urban contrast, I think, newish teachers who haven't yet found a contract with a school and are looking to depend on privates here should perhaps consider that of teaching adults vs children. Often young professionals can be a challenge in terms of consistency: based on their tendency to not seriously prioritise English lessons over other areas in their lives (as evidenced by the frequent cancellations, excuses not to have a class because it's a "holiday weekend", or general lack of accountability and respect for time), they can't initially be relied upon as a regular source of income. Children don't have these options, and they tend to be more reliable.
It's true, prospective clients want quality, but usually they are willing to pay only 'market' rates-- and given the average earnings differential between Warsaw and smaller communities this market rate is obviously much different. In Warsaw, I've learned to be decisive and patient when negotiating: if the prospective student won't pay at least 70 per hour class, I'll walk away, since I can easily find a replacement student who will pay that, although sometimes it's necessary to wait a while.
A note about the contracts (for the Kiwi hoping to move to Poland): I'm non-EU, but I was able to get an umowa o dzielo, although it took a while (3 to 4 months last year), and only after working for a year for the same school prior to that. Also, I didn't have a tourist visa but rather a work visa. Hence it was still necessary to get the work permit and the residency permit. The most crucial points here seemed to have been: (1) establishing a legitimate residence and getting the residency permit and (2) persistence, with respect to constantly nagging the DOS at my school to get on the phone with the Foreigner's Office to check on the progress of my application.
Maybe nothing new here, but to sum up: it's possible to come here and 'make it', even if you're not an EU citizen, but in my opinion and based on my experience it takes a lot of patience and a willingness to be very flexible with respect to your schedule and who (which type of clients--business, children, proof-reading, etc) you're willing to teach.
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Louisdf



Joined: 05 Feb 2013
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: rates for private lessons and non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Rusty77 wrote:
'Shake, regarding the country bumpkins having lots of money to blow, it would be great but I have yet to discover this phenomenon: I work in Warsaw during the week, and in a small town 50 km from Warsaw at weekends; my rate in Warsaw is 70 per 60 minute class; in the small town it's 40 for the same amount of time. (therefore I only teach in the small town very few classes, and to relatives, I am there because my partner lives there). This is based on privates. 'Been doing this for two years and have tinkered with many different techniques in attracting and maintaining students. I've found that most students make a decision based on price.
But more importantly than the focusing on the rural-urban contrast, I think, newish teachers who haven't yet found a contract with a school and are looking to depend on privates here should perhaps consider that of teaching adults vs children. Often young professionals can be a challenge in terms of consistency: based on their tendency to not seriously prioritise English lessons over other areas in their lives (as evidenced by the frequent cancellations, excuses not to have a class because it's a "holiday weekend", or general lack of accountability and respect for time), they can't initially be relied upon as a regular source of income. Children don't have these options, and they tend to be more reliable.
It's true, prospective clients want quality, but usually they are willing to pay only 'market' rates-- and given the average earnings differential between Warsaw and smaller communities this market rate is obviously much different. In Warsaw, I've learned to be decisive and patient when negotiating: if the prospective student won't pay at least 70 per hour class, I'll walk away, since I can easily find a replacement student who will pay that, although sometimes it's necessary to wait a while.
A note about the contracts (for the Kiwi hoping to move to Poland): I'm non-EU, but I was able to get an umowa o dzielo, although it took a while (3 to 4 months last year), and only after working for a year for the same school prior to that. Also, I didn't have a tourist visa but rather a work visa. Hence it was still necessary to get the work permit and the residency permit. The most crucial points here seemed to have been: (1) establishing a legitimate residence and getting the residency permit and (2) persistence, with respect to constantly nagging the DOS at my school to get on the phone with the Foreigner's Office to check on the progress of my application.
Maybe nothing new here, but to sum up: it's possible to come here and 'make it', even if you're not an EU citizen, but in my opinion and based on my experience it takes a lot of patience and a willingness to be very flexible with respect to your schedule and who (which type of clients--business, children, proof-reading, etc) you're willing to teach.

Almost all schools only take people who have their own business or put them on a umowo zlecenie contract (high taxes and you can't deduct anything). The tax office has instructed many schools not to use the umowo o dzielo contract.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 674

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: rates for private lessons and non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Louisdf wrote:
The tax office has instructed many schools not to use the umowo o dzielo contract.


Not even a matter of instructing, rather ordering. The legality of umowa o dzieło for teachers was always somewhat dodgy, and it doesn't surprise me that the Ministry has finally put a stop to it. From what I understand, the deal was more or less made that language schools would continue to be exempt from VAT, but in return, they had to clean up their act in respects to contracts.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1200
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty77, you might look into ways to attract wealthier people in your area. 40zl for 60 min. in a small town isn't that great.

In Warsaw, most teachers I know charge between 80-100zl for 60 min., more if they can get it.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:13 am    Post subject: Shake Reply with quote

I think there's a tonne of work in Warsaw and good rates are there to be found but I think elsewhere people just don't want to pay up.

I've had 3 weeks 'in the market' here in Poznan. Through the nativespeaker site I could have got myself about 12 hours of work weekly. I've been contacted by numerous people for in-company teaching. I've been to a few language schools for meetings with the DOS. The best offer I've had is 110Zl Gross for 90 minutes. Most offers hover around the Zloty a minute level. It's blatantly clear that employers want a good teacher but are willing to sacrifice quality for cost. It's also abundantly clear that with the new contracts/umowas, people who hire have effectively become middlemen. It's a racket.

Just yesterday, I had a meeting with an old friend who has been here 15 years, married, kids the whole nine yards and he's off. Was billing 8 or 9k 5 years ago, now less than 5k. Heard the same story from a similar old mate, who's actually done 19 years here, last month.

I've met several native speakers/school owners here who clearly don't know their arse from their elbow. Ask them a few questions about course design, materials or needs analysis and the BS starts. The bottom line is cash.

After 2 years with your own company your ZUS is over 1,000 a month and you pay tax. There's the KRUS tax dodge and some teachers are at it. In a year or 2 Polish banks will allow non-EU types to get credit here, which will make house prices go up. If people are billing less but working the same hours and property prices rise again, then this place is a no-goer for anyone wanting a life rather than a hand-to-mouth existence. I've seen for myself how expats' real incomes here have been eroded over almost 2 decades. I've also seen Poznan go from around a core of 50 native speakers to hundreds if not thousands. I've also seen the Polish English teachers come on in leaps and bounds. I've met quite a few now who I thought were American/English. It's all going in 1 direction and I've been saying it for years.

It just ain't worth it especially as you get older and the running around isn't for you. I'll give it a year here but I think my mid-term future will involve living in a villa with my wife teaching 3 hours a day, 5 days a week making a Polish monthly salary every few days somewhere in the 'very open' UAE. Well, that's the plan.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1200
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Shart...ahem...Dragonpiwo Reply with quote

Are you still harping on this old obsession of yours? Three words for you: rose colored glasses.

Everywhere is the world was always better 10-odd years ago: You were younger and thinner, the responsibilities were fewer, the girls were more interested in you, the money went further, the friends were out more, yadda, yadda, yadda. It's as true for Poland as anywhere else.

I can't comment on the job market in Poznan, but consider this: You've only been back 3 weeks and you've already got a decent schedule and are making a zloty a min.. Don't you think you'll be able to get a better deal a few semesters down the line? And how about a few years?

As for your friends experiences, I also know teachers in Warsaw who struggle to get a zloty a min. net and say the sky is falling. It doesn't mean there aren't better opportunities out there.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:20 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I have a wife so am not interested in the women. I also have standards, so am not interested in snake oil salesmen, method schools and running around like an idiot when there's a much easier life to be had for me and my family.

OK for a year off. A living? Seriously?

3 words?WTF! I've lived here for almost 2 decades fool.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leave Poland for the young men (and it is mainly men !) who are into getting some experience and enjoying "social life". (That is a euphemism for drinking large quantities of alcohol and womanising)
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1630
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: lol Reply with quote

I'm just talking about Poznan and what I am seeing on the ground right now.
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