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What was your first EFL job in Poland?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 856
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:13 pm    Post subject: What was your first EFL job in Poland? Reply with quote

There are a lot of 'old timers' on this board and I thought it would be interesting to know what your first teaching job here was and how you look back on it.

Mine was IH Bydgoszcz back in 96. Taught 24 hours a week, General and Cambridge Suite to adults and teenagers between about 3pm and 9pm. Shared a free flat with no bills and received the princely sum of 900PLN/month at a time when there were just over 4 Zloty to a Pound Sterling and you could buy a decent flat here for 15K GBP, which was circa 60k PLN back then.

Looking back on it, I had a lot of fun and IH did their best with workshops. Out of the 30 odd teachers only 2 or 3 stayed. It paid a lot less than my previous job in the Czech Republic, which had been, incidentally, a much cheaper place. My then future employers couldn't have cared less that I had worked at IH. There wasn't much demand for privates and we were contractually banned from working elsewhere to prop up our incomes anyway.

If I were to have to go through being a newbie here again, there's no way I would do it. I think Poland's OK on a dual income, once you've got yourself settled but I think the newbie phase now is a total waste of time due to the fact that the earning potential relative to the cost of living is dire outside Warsaw. The amount of running around you have to do to scoop up privates makes the real hourly rate simply appalling. The most I've ever earned here was 7.5k NET with a free luxury 2-bed flat in Warsaw plus expenses and a driver for working about 26 hours a week. However, I had zero life as my lessons were at 7am and 8pm, 7 days a week, with a tycoon.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 561

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, it was in Leader School (now Językownia or something similar?) in Swarzędz. A Callan school at the time, it wasn't much fun. About the only benefit was being able to supplement the 'method' with extra teaching materials, but still - it was an interesting eyeopener into how things were done. I can't fault the place as far as a first teaching job - they always paid on time, and the director was happy to sort out some extra hours elsewhere if I wanted it. A mutual acquaintance of ours is still working there, I think - but I suspect he's got a much easier time of it as the director was absolutely shit scared of him. It's the place where I realised that Polish people are terribly ageist - they will respect someone older for the sake of being older, not because they're actually better.
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Sgt Bilko



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 128
Location: POLAND

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too started at IH in 1994 - 650zl (well 6.5 million at the time) plus flat and all bills (no phones in any of the flats). 20x45 minute contract. We also got flights at Christmas and end of contract and you could take the money (about 1200zl in those days), go by bus and keep the 8-900zl for spending money. It was enough money to have a good time. I think things peaked about 1999/2000 then wages stagnated, bills and rent became teachers' responsibilities and flights got stopped.

A few of us have just had a 20 year reunion. Two people now at the BBC, one a high up in Pearson publishers, two of us writing ELT books, one doing promotional talks all over the world for publishers, one writing/editing ELT books. Another who didn't make it is a CELTA/DELTA trainer and does other ELT related things. So, a fair number who stayed in the business but not as teachers.

Things are different now but IH gave you excellent training (weekly + training days once every couple of months on a Saturday), free DELTA if you signed up for two more years after doing it, easy chance of promotion (if you stayed more than two years, you were basically the most senior person there. If you did the DELTA you couldn't not be DoS or ADoS), great networking possibilities (IH visitors/inspectors) and the transfer system which gave you the chance to move on to Spain etc. Plus a good social life. Turnover was such that, every year, there would be half a dozen, fresh out of college / fresh off the CELTA youngsters buzzing with excitement and ready to party.

I came as a 34 year old from IH in Cairo. Acted like a 21 year old for a couple of years, met my now wife and settled down. I know it's not the same now but IH (southern schools - Opole, Wroclaw, Katowice, Bielsko) in those days were a great place to be. Wouldn't change a thing.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 856
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: yeah Reply with quote

Yeah Bilko, I had a good time too. You're right about IH and there being some good souls in the staffroom. Bydgoszcz is pretty ugly but the nightlife was pretty cool and I'm still in touch with 2 of my colleagues from way back then, one of whom was my excellent DOS, Sally.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 659
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked at Warszawa Szkola Pedagogiczna for a year.
Could not stay longer as I am an American and they wanted to save money.
My replacement was a part-timer from Portugal, but from the EU - that is all that mattered to them.

I would have stayed, so that is why I decided to just move to Japan.
Polish students are far better.

They rented out a bad high school in west Warsaw.
The tram stop was Dickensa - named after Charles Dickens.
I worked from Wednesday to Sunday.
We had the day students and the weekend ones - who had to work during the week. Some were Polish teachers. One lived near the Belarussia border and took a bus to Warsaw. She slept on the bus and got to Warsaw in the morning.

I had a free apartment but got robbed once. My supervisor was from the Isle of Mann. Another teacher was from Derby.
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Infinite



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A small school on the outskirts of Warsaw from which I ran after two months. Just recently I discovered an interesting site which rates employers with two pages worth of rants from Polish teachers about that said school. Made me feel a bit better.
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Rusty77



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 44
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first gig here was at a small school in Kalisz, PiomarHouse, in 2005; 35 PLN per teaching hour, a Callan school, and although I was "guaranteed" at least 20 hours per week when I signed the contract, by the end of the school year I was getting only 10 or 12 hours, I think partly because I wasn't a big fan of the parrot method of teaching. A soul-less, superficial director with no personality or warmth, obsessed with implementing the owner's cheap and inefficient 'method' philosophy; but a couple of male Polish teachers who had lived in the States in the 1990s helped me get through the year with Thursday and Friday night drinking sessions in a pub, run by a mild-mannered ol' Babcia near the school, that looked more like the lady's living room and offered 5-zloty Zywiec's.
The school went out of business soon after. I've never returned to Kalisz since. However, since no one spoke any English in the town it did provide me with a good basis for learning Polish.
A funny thing though: now, almost ten years later, I am making only marginally more than that 35 PLN rate per hour in my part-time gig at a private language college in Warsaw. Laughing Thank goodness for privates!
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 561

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does seem to be a particular trend among Callan (or "method") schools in general to promise x hours and then to cut them whenever you annoy them. I remember one discussion with a school director who wanted me to act as their senior teacher for such a method. I wasn't really interested, but I thought I'd go to an interview for a laugh. Of course, I started by immediately bringing up money - I told him my demands, and the guy was all "of course, of course, no problem, I guarantee the hours". Then I pulled out a pre-prepared annex to a contract, which stipulated that the school was obliged to pay a minimum yearly salary of 40,000zl based on 20 hours a week, 40 weeks a year and 50zl an hour. His face was a picture - he stuttered "I can't promise that...!". The second he said it, I smiled at him and reminded him that he just did.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 856
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: yep Reply with quote

The 'schools' here are an utter joke. Most ruthless I've seen anywhere.
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auhruh



Joined: 01 Aug 2013
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
I worked at Warszawa Szkola Pedagogiczna for a year.
Could not stay longer as I am an American and they wanted to save money.
My replacement was a part-timer from Portugal, but from the EU - that is all that mattered to them.

I would have stayed, so that is why I decided to just move to Japan.
Polish students are far better.

They rented out a bad high school in west Warsaw.
The tram stop was Dickensa - named after Charles Dickens.
I worked from Wednesday to Sunday.
We had the day students and the weekend ones - who had to work during the week. Some were Polish teachers. One lived near the Belarussia border and took a bus to Warsaw. She slept on the bus and got to Warsaw in the morning.

I had a free apartment but got robbed once. My supervisor was from the Isle of Mann. Another teacher was from Derby.


coo coo ca choo, I remember you!
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 659
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do? Let me guess, are you in Dubai right now?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 856
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject: ha Reply with quote

If he's got any sense, he will be.

I'm a month into this grind and can't wait to get back to a real job, with real working conditions and a living wage.

Running around like a blue-arsed fly ain't for me.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 659
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, he left for Moscow then moved to the Gulf. Can't say I blame him.
Drinking there must be a little tough, especially during Ramadan.
Can drink a Guiness in under five seconds.

He must have left Warsaw in 2003-2004. Left Kielce in the rear view mirror.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 979
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:25 am    Post subject: Re: ha Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
If he's got any sense, he will be.

I'm a month into this grind and can't wait to get back to a real job, with real working conditions and a living wage.

Running around like a blue-arsed fly ain't for me.
So why go through the trouble? You've obviously got a wad of cash saved from working in the ME, so why the blue-assed fly nonsense for chump change?

Why not just teach a light schedule and use the free time to post more more often on Dave's or sth?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 856
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:22 pm    Post subject: cos Reply with quote

The missus mate.
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