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Why English Teachers stay Long Term in Poland
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chuckMC



Joined: 15 Apr 2015
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake, don't delude yourself. Most polish people see English teaching as a "small job." Its not a real job in the Poles' eyes. Shake, ask anyone about their opinion of ESL teaching and they WILL say that its either a dead end, slacker, student, backpacker, traveler, easy, boring...job! Its a crying shame that ESL teaching is looked down in Poland and elsewhere. Because its a wonderful opportunity to exchange cultures and open people to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, people have forgotten that original spirit. Too many teachers enter ESL to escape problems back home and don't care to share their culture with the natives. Too many schools nowadays employ these questionable teachers and pay them woeful ESL wages to simply increase their bottom line. I wished there were some sort of regulatory international ESL organization that could regulate the ESL industry by weeding out the questionable teachers and schools, thus restoring creditably and respect for the ESL industry
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11451
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chuckMC wrote:
I wished there were some sort of regulatory international ESL organization that could regulate the ESL industry by weeding out the questionable teachers and schools, thus restoring creditably and respect for the ESL industry

That's a tough call given that English isn't a priority in many countries. In other words, if it were highly valued by other countries in terms of human development; economic growth; advancements in science, education, health, and technology; world standing; political stability; etc., then you'd see more self regulation across the board.

But in reality, that's not the case given there are employers that hire teachers who 1) fit some set stereotype of what a native English speaker looks like; or 2) meet the sole requirement that they speak English and are breathing; or 3) accept low-ball offers; or...
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 375
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You base all this on your experience after eight months in a small town? Thanks for sharing. In my humble opinion, your observations fall well short of the mark, at least in my experience. But I'm just one small voice in the crowd.

I've done voice-overs, proofreading, skype lessons for companies too far to travel to and I have more requests for private lessons than my schedule can handle. I've never advertised. These have all come from referrals and personal contacts and they didn't happen after my first eight months here.

You might think about that before you enlighten us about teaching in Poland.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem here is that someone forgot that just because he experienced something and has a certain view, it doesn't necessarily make it the golden truth Smile
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1202
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
I think the problem here is that someone forgot that just because he experienced something and has a certain view, it doesn't necessarily make it the golden truth Smile
Ditto.

And I'm not on board this idea that everyone should quit EFL after a 1-2 years because they lose their connection to their own culture.

Last time I checked, teaching English was about helping people to communicate in English, not sharing the tradition of Thanksgiving or Guy Fawkes with them - though it's true language and culture are connected, and we should also help students to realize this.

Heck, I wasn't even a solid teacher after 1 year of experience. I spent lot of time those first two years trying to figure out what it was all about and how to do it well. ChuckMC, maybe you should do the same and after that people would take your musings more seriously.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1638
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I think the op is bang on with a lot of what he's said. So try and pull that experience card on me. I moved to Poland in 96 and have a house and son there.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 674

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chuckMC wrote:
Master Shake, don't delude yourself. Most polish people see English teaching as a "small job." Its not a real job in the Poles' eyes.


No. You're basing that on your observation of living in a small town, teaching a "method" in a language school. You're right, Poles don't have much respect for such teachers - they know that you don't know anything about teaching as a profession, and that you'd be lost if someone asked you if it was possible to introduce CLIL into your classes and what the implications are for adults.

When you start attending conferences, start earning serious qualifications and start doing things that real teachers do, then yes - you'll be treated differently.

Quote:
Shake, ask anyone about their opinion of ESL teaching and they WILL say that its either a dead end, slacker, student, backpacker, traveler, easy, boring...job!


Actually, most people say that they couldn't do my job. I'm sorry that your job is so easy that it's considered to be the domain of slackers, backpackers and that it's easy and boring.

Then again, I'm not an ESL/EFL teacher.

Quote:
Its a crying shame that ESL teaching is looked down in Poland and elsewhere. Because its a wonderful opportunity to exchange cultures and open people to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, people have forgotten that original spirit. Too many teachers enter ESL to escape problems back home and don't care to share their culture with the natives.


The problem is that as a profession, it can be remarkably easy to enter for some people. I can't think of many jobs in Poland that would hire unqualified people, but well, some language schools don't care who they hire.

Quote:
Too many schools nowadays employ these questionable teachers and pay them woeful ESL wages to simply increase their bottom line. I wished there were some sort of regulatory international ESL organization that could regulate the ESL industry by weeding out the questionable teachers and schools, thus restoring creditably and respect for the ESL industry


Of course there are organisations. Try working for a school accredited by either PASE or the MEN, for a start.

The problem is that you seem to think that you've seen it all based on 8 months in a small town language school that hired you without qualifications. Try attending serious conferences, getting serious qualifications and taking on serious responsibility and your perspective might change a little.

I'm in the same boat as Scottie. I haven't advertised for a single private lesson in 4 years, but I'm pestered almost constantly by people wanting classes.

For what it's worth, anyone with even an ounce of common sense would understand that entry-level teaching is exactly that - entry-level teaching. If you don't like it, why not use it as a means to look for something else? BPO/SSC centres are recruiting like crazy right now, and a native English speaker is almost certainly going to get a job. A friend got transferred to Dubai after 2 years, and he's now out there earning a decent tax-free wage.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1638
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 7:11 pm    Post subject: lol Reply with quote

Stop blowing smoke up your own blowholes. No-one disputes the fact that Poland is a lovely place for nature etc but every bloke is here/there for a woman. It's one of the cruddier TEFL destinations and horribly paid. 90% of the employment is in language schools, which are dire. Polish management leaves loads to be desired. Outside Warsaw, there isn't some jobs glut. there are tonnes of teachers all over competing for the privates. If you go self-employed, you'll be paying 1500/month just in zus after 2 years, let alone tax and rent.

It's a place where people often get stuck big time and delude themselves that they are doing OK.

Getting uber qualified will help you not a jot.
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chuckMC



Joined: 15 Apr 2015
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason I feel like the opinions from most of these posters are out of touch with reality. I don't know what world you guys come from. For the ordinary person, ESL is not a long term career because its difficult to settle down, raise a family, and return to your home country with a salable skill. First of all, do you guys ever think about settling down back home? Will you stay overseas ALL your life? Most people dream of living overseas, but they ultimately yearn to be with their people and make real Western money. Living overseas all your life is not a tenable situation for most ordinary people. Also, ESL teaching, is not really transferable back home. A CELTA, or a DELTA, will not be honored by the home country.

In regards to teaching ESL in Poland, it is nice to work there for 1 or 2 years but anymore is absolutely nuts. I'm sorry, Poland is an okay country if you are a young person looking for an European experience or a Retiree looking for a cheap location in Europe. But it is a HORRIBLE place for raising a family, advancing your career, and making real money. Polish people are shocked and suspicious when they meet someone from the rich West working in Poland. They ask themselves if that person is a loser back home or is crazy. The money here is crap. I make 4000 PLN a month, which is a good income here, and I still feel poor. Prices for consumer goods are crazy high. The life here is tough. Why someone would want to live here for long term is beyond me!!
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chuckMC



Joined: 15 Apr 2015
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean, come on...there is a reason why so many Poles are running away from Poland; its a loser country. It offers little professional opportunities, crap wages, and a crazy bureaucratic system. Guys, stop deluding yourselves, Poland is an average country at best. It has an interesting history, good food, nice women, cheap beer, nice cities, good party life. But overall its a loser country with a lot of losers in the game of global economics. These losers (people who earn crap incomes by international standards) are often racists, bigots, xenophobes, homophones, super-religious, backwards, etc.. Unfortunately, Poland has more of these crappy people than the Western countries. By the way, this is what every Polish person will tell you! I feel like there is some sort of weird idealism on the forum.:/
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 674

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chuckMC wrote:
For some reason I feel like the opinions from most of these posters are out of touch with reality.


I dunno, I find reality much easier to come by when living in a big city than living in some small town in the middle of nowhere.

[quite]I don't know what world you guys come from. For the ordinary person, ESL is not a long term career because its difficult to settle down, raise a family, and return to your home country with a salable skill.[/quote]

Why do you assume everyone wants to return to their own country? Many people don't want to and can't see themselves living there. I still laugh about the pathetic property tax bill in PL vs the UK.

Quote:
First of all, do you guys ever think about settling down back home? Will you stay overseas ALL your life? Most people dream of living overseas, but they ultimately yearn to be with their people and make real Western money.


Do they? Polish salaries pay for me to have a pretty easy life, two nice holidays a year in places that I want to go and own property here. I don't have any yearnings to be back home, particularly when I see my peers struggling to put a deposit down on a property. A friend is a fully qualified lawyer, but she has no hope of ever buying a reasonable property as her field simply isn't that profitable. It's a sad situation when you earn the equal of 190,000zl a year and still can't even think about owning your own property in anywhere reasonable.

Quote:
Living overseas all your life is not a tenable situation for most ordinary people. Also, ESL teaching, is not really transferable back home. A CELTA, or a DELTA, will not be honored by the home country.


Shows how little you know. For the UK, the DELTA is almost obligatory if you want a real job.

Quote:
In regards to teaching ESL in Poland, it is nice to work there for 1 or 2 years but anymore is absolutely nuts. I'm sorry, Poland is an okay country if you are a young person looking for an European experience or a Retiree looking for a cheap location in Europe. But it is a HORRIBLE place for raising a family, advancing your career, and making real money.


Horrible for who? I could introduce you to quite a few foreigners in PL who are doing exceptionally well for themselves. I even know one unemployable chump who managed to land himself a sales management job here. The same guy would struggle to get a cleaning job in the UK. How he got the job, I don't know, but he appears to be successful.

Your perspective is obviously clouded by living in a small town with absolutely no prospects whatsoever. Get out to the big cities and get involved with the startup scene. If you want, I'm happy to introduce you to a few foreigners who built very successful businesses here.

Quote:
Polish people are shocked and suspicious when they meet someone from the rich West working in Poland. They ask themselves if that person is a loser back home or is crazy. The money here is crap. I make 4000 PLN a month, which is a good income here, and I still feel poor. Prices for consumer goods are crazy high. The life here is tough. Why someone would want to live here for long term is beyond me!!


I think it's worth pointing out that you don't have CELTA, don't have basic qualifications and don't have much opportunity in Poland to progress.

By the way, what you say about Poland being a loser country - try as I might, I can't get by the fact that you're obviously bitter about the fact that no-one wants you in PL except crappy schools in crappy small towns.

Perhaps if you actually had a real career (instead of teaching Callan), you might see things differently.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1638
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Delph you must be winding him up. Me and a certain journalist you know have talked about this over beery evenings and neither of us knows how people get by long-term. Most TEFL teachers are 1 payday away from real shyte, but it's predominantly a middle class profession and many have mum and dad to fall back on when it comes to their weddings, deposits etc etc.

I don't think the op is far off the mark at all. The vast majority of jobs there are rubbish. Getting really well-qualified doesn't help in the earnings stakes. You earn more by getting 1 or 2 lucky corporate clients and by working more hours.

My wife and I have talked about what Poles think of TEFLers and she reckons they have an awful rep in Poland these days. No-one takes them seriously except themselves. You got a good job Delph but I'd wager it was potluck like all my good ones there were.

No-one gets into this rigmarole for the dosh. Most of us did it years ago because we wanted to travel and party and get hot girls. I remember yawning through workshops as a newbie looking at my watch thinking 'ace I'm getting out of here once Rod, Jane and Freddy have stopped miming the Present Continuous looking like real asses'.

Getting older life changes. You want it to be easier not harder. There are just much better places with happier folk where you'll get treated and paid like a professional, whatever line of work you are in. On my current salary I could pay for a house in 1 year. Thank F I'm no longer working there.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11451
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chuckMC wrote:
For some reason I feel like the opinions from most of these posters are out of touch with reality. I don't know what world you guys come from. For the ordinary person, ESL is not a long term career because its difficult to settle down, raise a family, and return to your home country with a salable skill. First of all, do you guys ever think about settling down back home? Will you stay overseas ALL your life? Most people dream of living overseas, but they ultimately yearn to be with their people and make real Western money. Living overseas all your life is not a tenable situation for most ordinary people. Also, ESL teaching, is not really transferable back home. A CELTA, or a DELTA, will not be honored by the home country.

Lots of broad assumptions made by someone who is only 25 years old. But that's typical for those who have barely started their life's journey into adulthood.

Not to get too philosophical... but we're each unique individuals and not one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter clones of each other. In other words, I'm not you and you're definitely not me. So why generalize? Keep in mind we all have diverse backgrounds, cultural identities, life experiences, career goals, personal needs, motivations/incentives, vices... yada yada. Besides, there's free will, which is the ability to choose our own course of action or destiny, and hopefully, make informed, adult decisions about our lives, especially when it entails doing something out of the ordinary like teaching EFL. Some stumble, while others fly. That's life.

So figure out what it is you want to do and do it. Stop concerning yourself with what others' motivations are---focus on your own interests and goals; otherwise, you'll stay disillusioned. And frankly, maybe TEFL isn't for you. Those who tend to be the most successful at it have learned to keep their expectations low (realistic), are flexible, and they maintain a healthy sense of humor.
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PC Parrot



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 459
Location: Moral Police Station

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is no-one else amused by this?

nomad soul wrote:

Lots of broad assumptions made by someone who is only 25 years old. But that's typical for those who have barely started their life's journey into adulthood.


nomad soul wrote:

... we're each unique individuals and not one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter clones of each other. In other words, I'm not you and you're definitely not me. So why generalize?


Put down a whole age group in a sweeping generalization and then chastise a member of that group for the very act of making generalizations. How's that!

And as if that isn't enough, she goes on to suggest that youth and inexperience are synonymous with being wrong. My, oh my! If anyone is firing wonky arrows it's Nomad Soul.


Last edited by PC Parrot on Thu May 21, 2015 4:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1638
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 3:54 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

She's probably miming the PPC as we speak.

PC- the op is right about a lot of what he says. I've never made more than 7,500/ month net there and for that I was teaching 6 if not 7 days a week. I loathed the free flat in Warsaw even though it was luxurious. The last bit of work I did there, which was a part time job, ended up with me having to hire a lawyer. No matter what 3 or 4 people say here, the vast majority of teachers in Poland are in a parlous financial situation. Furthermore, professional class Poles don't regard them well. They've had years of scruffy 'Business English Teachers' turning up looking rough or not knowing how to work the projector. Poles are demanding students and most teachers there would struggle to answer their questions accurately for much of the time. So NS teachers are relegated to being bit part actors (the Polish teacher does the grammar), conversation teachers and YL nannies, running all over town being everyone's bitch. Surviving that for years must give one a false sense of achievement.

Personally, I like the old KISS maxim. For me, keeping it simple meant working elsewhere. I miss half a dozen people but it's a truly a shitty place in which to work whether you are an expat or Polish. At some point you have to get real. My biggest nark there is the quality of what you get for what you pay. The Polish mentality is all about sales and not service. Once you figure that out it explains almost everything. It applies to the schools as much as it does to the shabby hotels and pop-up restaurants.
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