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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 914
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Walker wrote:
Poland always reminds me of the movie "Dazed and Confused".It's a great ride for awhile.Loads of fun.Wine, women and song non-stop.

Alas,the end of summer party at the moon tower arrives.You have your last drink and toke and then most decide to move on and get on with life while a few decide to stick around in the dazed zone and keep on partying and putting off the real world.


Funny, this description doesn't describe most of the teachers I work with at all. In fact, in the 3+ years I've been in Poland, the middle-aged, womanising, booze hound, night-owl teachers have been the exception not the rule.

Most of the teachers I work with are English guys over 40 with families who met the right Polish girl and wound up in Poland for good. They know they could be making more money back home, but they like teaching in Poland and/or their wives won't leave so they remain here.

These guys (mostly) don't drink much and have to call their wives if they are in the pub past ten. Best of all they don't complain about Poland much.

I think the profile of the 'native speaker teacher' has changed quite a bit over the last 10-20 years.
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simon_porter00



Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 433
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And should things progress between you and you know who, you can add yourself to the description you described above Smile
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:45 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

People use this forum to vent their spleens;of that I am guilty. I'd just like to say I love Poland. Polish students are the best I've taught. Polish women are amongst the prettiest in the world. I love Polish food. I have hundreds of Polish friends. My girlfriend is Polish. However, the TEFL industry there is krap and long-term will leave you up the creek.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 914
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

You may have a point there, Simon.

sharter wrote:
People use this forum to vent their spleens;of that I am guilty. I'd just like to say I love Poland. Polish students are the best I've taught. Polish women are amongst the prettiest in the world. I love Polish food. I have hundreds of Polish friends. My girlfriend is Polish. However, the TEFL industry there is krap and long-term will leave you up the creek.


Where is the TEFL industry not krap? It's the same in most countries: Poorly regulated with lots of fly-by-night schools and a few good ones.

Perhaps you can earn more and get more benefits in the Mid-East, but I sure wouldn't like to live there long-term.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mastershake wrote:

Quote:
Where is the TEFL industry not krap?


then why would you persue a career in TEFL?
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 914
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:
mastershake wrote:

Quote:
Where is the TEFL industry not krap?


then why would you persue a career in TEFL?


As I wrote, there are a few diamonds in the doo-doo (i.e. reputable schools that pay decent money). I'm lucky to have worked for a few of them.

Plus, I believe teaching English is a more interesting and rewarding job than a lot of the jobs I could be doing back in the States. These jobs would of course pay more but, hey, money isn't everything.

I spend a lot of time these days meeting with some of the more educated, ambitious and influential people in businesses in Poland. I get to hear their opinions and advice on pretty much any topic I choose and I correct them when they make mistakes. For me, right now this is worth not making $50,000+ a year.


Last edited by Master Shake on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mastershake wrote:

Quote:
Plus, I believe teaching TEFL is more rewarding and entertaining than a lot of the jobs back in the States that pay more. Money isn't everything.


how is the job itself different......or better as you say....than in the US?
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Listening to influential people doesn't feed my son or pay for his sailing and skiing trips. The real world...ie the one in which adults live, get married and have kids requires money. Unfortunately, in Poland you can't make enough on your own to have more than the minimum. Of course you can marry well or sponge off your parents ad infinitum Smile.

The Polish market is dominated by dodgy language schools. There are uni jobs but they're not gonna pay that much and then you've got the hassle of privates.

Yes, I'm in the Middle East; the difference between here and Poland is that here even the shite jobs pay you enough to have a good life ie purchasing power, sailing, quad biking, diving, 5*gyms, 9 months of beach life and barbecues etc. My son wants for nothing. I choose not to accept the mediocrity that a life in Polish TEFL permits.[/list]
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 500

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

sharter wrote:
Listening to influential people doesn't feed my son or pay for his sailing and skiing trips. The real world...ie the one in which adults live, get married and have kids requires money. Unfortunately, in Poland you can't make enough on your own to have more than the minimum. Of course you can marry well or sponge off your parents ad infinitum Smile.


Of course you can. It's really not that difficult in a big city to take home at least 5000zl a month net if you've got half a brain. Sure, it requires hard work, but what job doesn't?

But if you want to talk numbers, let's do it. It's quite easy to find companies willing to pay 100zl for 90 minutes. So - two of those a day, and you've already got 200zl in the bank - 1000zl a week, 4000zl a month. Then you add in some extra classes, perhaps through a school - those are 50zl an hour, so do two of those a day, 100zl a day, 500zl a week, 2000zl a month. That's 6000zl gross in your hand at the end of the month. Minus expenses of around 500zl, and with creative accounting, you can easily be left with a very small tax bill - leaving you with over 5000zl in your hand.

Then if you've got half a brain, it's easy enough to pick up corporate training gigs at the weekend. I know one guy who runs such a company - and he charges 2000zl for a weekend course in-company. And gets it - easily.

So, with a bit of hard work, you can easily walk home with over 2000 Euro a month in your pocket. Not a bad wage by Polish standards, at all.

The truth is that in Poland, like everywhere else, the money you can earn depends on your own abilities.

Quote:
Yes, I'm in the Middle East; the difference between here and Poland is that here even the shite jobs pay you enough to have a good life ie purchasing power, sailing, quad biking, diving, 5*gyms, 9 months of beach life and barbecues etc. My son wants for nothing. I choose not to accept the mediocrity that a life in Polish TEFL permits.[/list]


But you have to live in the Middle East - not exactly a hotbed of excitement, fun and civilisation. Oh, and you don't get to see your son grow up. All the quad bikings, diving, gyms, barbecues, etc mean nothing when you don't get to read a story to your child at night...
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sharter



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 878
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:00 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Not many earn 2K Euro a month.

As a divorced person, I don't see my son as much as I'd like anyway. Last year 18 weeks were spent in Poland. Such is life....after 8 years we're both ok with it. I'll be back on rotation soon anyhow.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sharter:

Quote:
Not many earn 2K Euro a month.


i've never met anyone in poland that teaches english and consistently pulls 8000zl net per month and I knew people that literally drove around teaching lessons from sun up to sun down, Monday through Saturday.

and Delph, what you have just described is fairy tale stuff.

for one, you know as well as i do that what you have on the schedule each month is not what you get. people cancel. people get sick. you get sick. weather makes travel impossible. holidays roll around. you go on vacation. all that saps away cash and it's unavoidable for the run-around-town TEFL guy.

secondly, that magical 2000zl weekend you speak of is not something you're going to rely on to pay your mortgage. I know what you mean, I've done them myself (one was a Friday night through Sunday afternoon gig in Poznan, had to stay there the whole time with the students at a hotel so it's a ton of hours and very exhausting) but that kind of gig dries up and you can't expect it to be there every month.

500zl for monthly expenses? isn't gas in Poland still like.....a gazzillion zloty per liter?

also, no amount of "creative accounting" is gonna help you dodge the 900zl a month ZUS payment. Did you decide to conveniently leave that bit out?

better rework the numbers, man.

you know as well as I do that what you just described, although doable if you play your cards right (after a couple years in country), is completely unsustainable month to month (especially June-July-August) and is absolutely unsustainable if you have a wife and/or children at home to care for.
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simon_porter00



Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 433
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know somebody, who:
earns 8000zł+ a month.
is an English language teacher.
lives in Warsaw
has a wife.
is building a house.
wants to start a family.
will run two cars.
will live on the outskirts of Warsaw (once the house is built).
works hard.
had an exceptionally busy summer (working at 80-90% of normal)
Likes shopping at Biedronka (and he actually KNOWS how GOOD that stuff is) although his wife won't let him.

and

with a combined income can:
have all of the above
manage debts, credit cards and daily expenses
save money
be confident of starting a family and the deal with the costs that entails
and be happy with life (once he can sit in front of his open fireplace... so I've heard).

He is not invisible, nor a figment of my imagination.
Also there are several other teachers just like him or close to him.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 500

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:
sharter:

Quote:
Not many earn 2K Euro a month.


i've never met anyone in poland that teaches english and consistently pulls 8000zl net per month and I knew people that literally drove around teaching lessons from sun up to sun down, Monday through Saturday.


It's not impossible - but you need to do things yourself. You'll never get 8k a month working for a school, for instance. I know someone here in Poznan that does exactly what I outlined - corporate classes from 7-10 in the morning (100zl a class x 2), then another corporate class from 3-4:30 (another 100zl) - then 5-9 in a school (50zl a shot). That's 500zl a day, and he does it Monday-Thursday. 8k a month right there. That's not including private lessons on Fridays/Saturdays.

Quote:
and Delph, what you have just described is fairy tale stuff.

for one, you know as well as i do that what you have on the schedule each month is not what you get. people cancel. people get sick. you get sick. weather makes travel impossible. holidays roll around. you go on vacation. all that saps away cash and it's unavoidable for the run-around-town TEFL guy.


If you work for yourself and are willing to really bust your nuts to do it, it's possible. It's not a life for me, nor for most ordinary people - but it's doable. It takes a lot of talent to pull it off - you need to be able to negotiate good contracts with companies, you need to be able to have the balls to make the contacts - and if you ask me, he's wasted on TEFL. He actually takes a bit more than that, but his 'baseline' is the numbers above as 100zl is a psychological barrier.

Quote:
secondly, that magical 2000zl weekend you speak of is not something you're going to rely on to pay your mortgage. I know what you mean, I've done them myself (one was a Friday night through Sunday afternoon gig in Poznan, had to stay there the whole time with the students at a hotel so it's a ton of hours and very exhausting) but that kind of gig dries up and you can't expect it to be there every month.


I think it depends on what kind of person you are. If you've got (as we say) - 'the gift of the gab' and can make contacts in big organisations, you'll get somewhere. It's not realistic for 95% of us, because we wouldn't waste ourselves in TEFL if we could sell to them, would we?

Quote:
500zl for monthly expenses? isn't gas in Poland still like.....a gazzillion zloty per liter?


Oh, that was just the cost of an accountant + ZUS, no more. Obviously, that goes up too - but you can get round that if you're an EU citizen who doesn't need to worry about a residence permit.

Quote:
also, no amount of "creative accounting" is gonna help you dodge the 900zl a month ZUS payment. Did you decide to conveniently leave that bit out?


As I said above - that's only an issue for non-EU nationals. I know quite a few teachers here who are invoicing through UK self-employment and pay next to nothing in social insurance/tax contributions. Useless for non-EU guys, of course, but still.

Quote:
you know as well as I do that what you just described, although doable if you play your cards right (after a couple years in country), is completely unsustainable month to month (especially June-July-August) and is absolutely unsustainable if you have a wife and/or children at home to care for.


Well, if you play things right, you should be able to still walk away with 4k+ in July/August - so a figure of around 90-100k a year gross is perfectly achievable here. I mean, you'll have the workload of a typical small business owner and won't have any of the perks associated with TEFL - but the cash is definitely there.

The real question is with physical health - I know I wouldn't be able to do it, and I don't think many people could. The guy I'm talking about above must surely be constantly stressed, what with commuting in traffic all day and leaving home at 6:00 and not getting home until 10:00.

But then again, we're talking about what you *can* do, not what most people do. I know there's some guys in Warsaw that make a killing from teaching at home - though that's not for me, personally.

(edit : quick point about Biedronka - it actually has very good meat, strangely. It's actually one of the few supermarkets that seems to be genuinely consistently good - absolutely odd, given its status)
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gwiazda



Joined: 07 May 2010
Posts: 13
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The real world...ie the one in which adults live, get married and have kids requires money. Unfortunately, in Poland you can't make enough on your own to have more than the minimum. Of course you can marry well or sponge off your parents ad infinitum .


Ok this kind of comment really annoys me. Of course there are adults living and working in Poland and making enough money to be well above minimum standards of living and yes they have children, cars, houses and ski trips too.

Everyone's incomes and levels of spending differ, but none of the Tefl teachers I know have "married well" or "sponge of their parents". Speaking personally,

1) I have a car (bought it new and yes I can afford the petrol for it)
2) I bought a flat (which is more than most of my UK based friends are able to do on their salaries)
3) I'm building a house (also possible on a Tefl salary)
4) I eat out at least 3 times a week (too lazy to cook)
5) I travel extensively (only Europe, but 6 holidays abroad so far this year and a few more in the pipeline)
6) I go shopping, buy stuff, go out and generally do all those things that adults do

and no sponging off my parents or spouse or eating obiad everyday at the mother-in-law's house

but yes I do shop in Biedronka - only because its the closest supermarket, not because I'm paranoid about my grocery budget.

It is misleading to people reading this forum to state that its impossible to live a financially stable/happy life in teaching Tefl in Poland because plenty of people are doing just that Smile
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lundjstuart



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 211
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simon_porter00 wrote:
I know somebody, who:
earns 8000zł+ a month.
is an English language teacher.
lives in Warsaw
has a wife.
is building a house.
wants to start a family.
will run two cars.
will live on the outskirts of Warsaw (once the house is built).
works hard.
had an exceptionally busy summer (working at 80-90% of normal)
Likes shopping at Biedronka (and he actually KNOWS how GOOD that stuff is) although his wife won't let him.

and

with a combined income can:
have all of the above
manage debts, credit cards and daily expenses
save money
be confident of starting a family and the deal with the costs that entails
and be happy with life (once he can sit in front of his open fireplace... so I've heard).

He is not invisible, nor a figment of my imagination.
Also there are several other teachers just like him or close to him.


If you're a good teacher, you don't have to worry about the summer! Your students will keep you busy!
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