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If I am qualified and professional. do I have an edge?
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rawlings



Joined: 03 Jan 2009
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:07 am    Post subject: If I am qualified and professional. do I have an edge? Reply with quote

Hello, I am just finishing an ESL teaching contract and Thailand, and read all of these accounts about it being a difficult hiring time in Prague (and everywhere hit by the recession). But having gone to an ESL training program and taught at a school for one year, I have seen that my competition is pretty meager. Teachers are underqualified, unconfident, don't know how to present themselves, etc. etc.

My question is, if I showed up in Prague with all of my documentation (minus Visa, of course) in hand, a great resume and CV, and a very enthusiastic approach to the interview, what kind of shot would I have of landing a job? I have taught everything from pre-schoolers to high school students to adults. If I could just get my foot in the door with some interviews, I feel like I would have a pretty good shot.

I have read all of the other posts, and I know the hiring situation is dire, but I am just curious as to your thoughts. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
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sisyphus



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Err...No. Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm and you may be an excellent teacher but a tefl certificate and 1 year is nothing here. I know people with MAs and many years experience who are struggling. You can always get some job but it will be the really poor ones , terribly paid, no accommodation. Often people post on this forum wanting people to support their idea , I think its only fair to paint a realistic picture of the reality .
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to second sisyphus...your quals aren't outstanding for Prague. Not to say that you won't find something, but you won't be anything special on the hiring scene iwth your credentials. You'll be running with the majority of the pack.
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep, the two above are exactly right. i'm turning away better-qualified candidates than that, at the moment. schools can be a bit wary of experience that includes Japan, South Korea or Thailand, but i shouldn't be too negative - as Spiral says, there's still a chance you'd get something, sure...
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sisyphus



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cant understand why a school would be negative about experience in those countries. EFL teaching in Czech is largely conversation. You have a few good teachers who can do more. In general Czechs prefer life experience, particularly in business, to tefl certificates..and especially those who have a good deal of teaching experience plus business experience. Not including jobs in secondary schools etc but they are subsistence living.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cant understand why a school would be negative about experience in those countries. EFL teaching in Czech is largely conversation.

Actually, there IS a reason. The expectations that Asian students bring to a classroom, whether it is a conversation class or something more substantive, is very, very different than your typical European student.

The distinction is usually based on expectations about who's responsible for all the action in a classroom - Asian students very much tend to expect the instructor to take a strong leadership role in every way.

European students are usually more motivated and in control, much more willing to speak, and expect to have some say in what is done in the class. After all, to them, it's very much THEIR class.

Reputable language schools are aware of the differences, and that is why they consider that teachers with only experience in Asia don't always transfer well to Europe (or to North America).
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sisyphus



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a cultural difference. But experience of some kind, classroom management, etc is worth something so to say schools wouldnt consider them is not true. I would choose any experience over someone with a 4 week tefl certificate , for example. Obviously someone with european experience 'may' be better but you would judge that person on other things not because they taught in Korea. For example: academic background , interest in teaching, other related experience - business, etc. Ive seen so many poor teachers here who have a 'Tefl' certificate and no interest in teaching, cant spell, and have pathetic academic backgrounds. I recruit teachers according to the credibility of their all round person , not if they have taught in Japan. Call me old fashioned.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I think schools do consider that some experience (even if less related) is better than none.

But I've been in Europe for 12+ years now, and several of the least successful teachers I've known (and I've worked with literally hundreds) have been those who had ONLY Asian experience (and were sure that what worked there will work here).

I know what you mean about the unqualified and uninterested newbies in Prague.

But I have also met many 'experienced' teachers with experience from Asia who are deeply convinced that what worked there will work everywhere.

This is why many European schools aren't overly impressed with experience in Asia only.

It's not just me. Really.
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roywebcafe



Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree. After 2 yrs and 6 mths teaching in Asia I did a CELTA when i got back because the teaching was usually very different from european standards. small groups iof adults are alot different from rows of asian kids and expect more variety in speaking and listening work.

Also there was more differentiation required in the UK especially as the studetns came from more than one counrry. One day I had 11 students from 9 different countries. Getting a Chinese to unferstand a pakistani speaking was a challeng enough since they have their own language interference problems especially pronunciation.

I am srtill thinking of going back tho cos of this recession. i am informed that you can't save money in europe any more. Please tell me this is wrong?


spiral78 wrote:
No, I think schools do consider that some experience (even if less related) is better than none.

But I've been in Europe for 12+ years now, and several of the least successful teachers I've known (and I've worked with literally hundreds) have been those who had ONLY Asian experience (and were sure that what worked there will work here).

I know what you mean about the unqualified and uninterested newbies in Prague.

But I have also met many 'experienced' teachers with experience from Asia who are deeply convinced that what worked there will work everywhere.

This is why many European schools aren't overly impressed with experience in Asia only.

It's not just me. Really.
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rawlings



Joined: 03 Jan 2009
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all very much for the helpful responses.

I understand that teaching styles vastly differ between Europe and Asia. The impression that I try to give with my resume, is not that I am committed to the Asian style of education, but that I am experienced and versatile in many fields. I have taught pre-schoolers and high school students in America, I have trained for college entrance exams, taught primary school in Thailand, and I have taught music for over 6 years, as well as establishing a music club at my current primary school. I have taught all ages, up to adult, in all subjects from ESL grammar and reading to high school triggonometry to music theory. Aside from my versatility and experience, I think my biggest strength is self-presentation, beginning with the interview process. It's difficult to speak about your resume and career and not sound immodest, but I can clearly recognize that I am superior to the majority of ESL teachers I currently work with. It is this knowledge that gives me the hope that I could still find a desirable job during this time of low supply and high demand.

Again, thank you for the comments, and I hope that the discussion continues!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is this knowledge that gives me the hope that I could still find a desirable job during this time of low supply and high demand.

The key here is that the teachers who are getting the 'better' jobs are those who have reputations in the Czech Rep, local contacts and language skills.

There are really very, very few 'better' jobs around to begin with, and those very few honestly go (almost always) to those who know their way around the city very well, not to someone newly arrived from outside.

The thing is that Prague has been something of a teacher training mecca for some years. This means that every few weeks there has been a new crop (not all stay in the city, but many do, of course) to pick from. This keeps wages generally low, and the vast majority of jobs are those that raw newbies can fill with a fair degree of success.

Not that you may not be able to work you way into something a bit better - but expect this to take some time. It is most likely that you'll be in the regular newbie pack from the start, really.
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a lot of interesting points here, but i'll keep my reply brief...

sisyphus said: "Ive seen so many poor teachers here who have a 'Tefl' certificate and no interest in teaching, cant spell, and have pathetic academic backgrounds." - agree. but in my experience, the candidates who've only taught in Asia tend to have the weaker CVs too. that's a very broad generalisation, of course, and there are obviously good teachers in Asia too. (i know of at least 5 ex-colleagues who went there after here and were very very good teachers).

roywebcafe said: "i am informed that you can't save money in europe any more. Please tell me this is wrong?" - i'd certainly say it's difficult to save money here at the moment - you'd probably need to work your arse off to achieve it. remember, Czech prices are still generally lower than the rest of Europe (salaries too), so any travelling you do becomes a real drain...

rawlings said: "It is this knowledge that gives me the hope that I could still find a desirable job during this time of low supply and high demand. " - trouble is, demand is falling here, and supply of teachers is still high. so i'm not sure that the last part of your statement is correct, really. still, your credentials do sound good - and things may pick up during the year. best of luck!
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sarahrempe



Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject: one big difference Reply with quote

the OP did not mention if they have an EU passport. if so, you can work wherever you want and pick and choose the job (not just in czech)

if not, czech has limited possibilities, regardless of quals and exp.

i posit that any posters to the czech forum explain whether or not they are EU passport holders PRIOR to giving advice.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As non-EU citizens CAN get work permits for the CR, I am not sure why this is vital info, but...


OK, i'll play the game.

My bona fides:

I am from the US, but have not lived there since 1997, have no ties to the country, and no plans to ever return.

I have a Czech spouse and permanent residency/work permits for the country. My application for citizenship is pending (has been accepted, but I still wait for the actual passport).

However, I have not worked in the CR since 2000.

I have an exceptional work permit for the Netherlands. I have also worked on exceptional permits (I have specialist quals) in Luxembourg and Belgium.


We have a flat outside Prague, where I spend some months every year.
Our family have flats in Prague, and I am very often in the city. I have long-term friends in Prague who 1) own language schools and 2) used to own and work at teacher training centres and 3) who teach in the city as their only income.

I also have many contacts in other parts of Europe, through the university where I work (partners) and through contacts I made when I was in Prague working at a teacher training centre and as a teacher.

I am often in Prague, and try to keep up with the job scene there, for my own benefit. I would prefer to be working in the city than anywhere else!!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9371
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sarah wrote that if you are from the EU, you can 'work anywhere and choose the job

Not so. I work (partially) in hiring. There are tonnes and tonnes of highly-qualified teachers on the job market in Europe in general.

We advertised for one measly free-lance, part-time position and got over 50 CVs from would-be employees with quals up to Phds in the field. We didn't even screen anything from outside the EU....

Any actual salaried, contracted position would attract HUNDREDS of highly qualified potential teachers.

The job market is simply TIGHT all over these days. It's not just in the CR, but all over Europe.
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