Country Suggestions

Discussion about jobs and employment conditions

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Boru500
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Country Suggestions

Unread post by Boru500 » 07 Jun 2015, 18:06

Hello everyone

I am a soon-to-be 25 year old, Irish, single, male who is undertaking a CELTA course over the summer and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on where to teach?

I’m not just using CELTA as an opportunity to see the world and I would be interested in career progression, but at this stage my main interest is moving to a country where I can enjoy the lifestyle and try new things.

Given that it’s my first year away, I’m not crazy about making a lot of money. At the moment I just want enough to pay my bills and food and to be able to enjoy what the city has to offer.

I have a degree in filmmaking. I’m an occasional freelance filmmaker and aspiring writer, so going to a country where I can continue these sort of endeavours would be nice.

I’m also looking for a place where I don’t have to rely on public transport, as it’s always done my head in and takes away my thirst for exploration. A scenic city with a sense of tranquillity that still has a bit of a big city buzz would be the ideal package.

I’m not interested in going to a different country to spend half my time drunk as a mule, but I’d also like to go to a country where drinking isn’t frowned upon.

Obviously every city has its street crime and stuff but I’d like to live somewhere relatively safe.

In regards to the actual teaching, I’ve heard of some schools doing split shifts which doesn’t appeal to me at all. Ideally I’d be working pretty standard 9-5 hours. Given that it’ll be my first time ever doing this, I’d like to start off somewhere where the work isn’t too demanding so I can ease myself into it.

Before anyone goes off on a rant about how I can't have it all and I need to be more realistic with my expectations etc, I am well aware of this :D I’m just trying to forge an interest in some specific countries/cities so I can start doing a bit of research on my own. And I know this is a bit of a general question, but what’s the best way to start looking for work? I have no idea where to begin.

Thanks!

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 08 Jun 2015, 13:43

Hi there,

You've asked quite a lot of questions! I'll do my best to address some of them, but bear in mind that my comments are really based on the TEFL market in Europe, which after five years here is my area of expertise. For more, see my advice guide: http://toiberiaandbeyond.blogspot.com.e ... urope.html

You mention hours. It's important to understand that teaching EFL means working non-standard hours. You're most unlikely to ever find a 9-5 job as the people you'll be teaching are at work, university or school then. Here in Spain, it's common to start work at 14:30 or 16:00 and teach until 22:00 or even 22:30 (this is very common in bigger cities). You can expect to teach 24-27hrs a week, which may include split-shifts (with 08:00 or 09:00 starts) and weekend work. You will need to factor in another 10hrs pw or more for planning, marking, admin, etc. Admittedly this is tough-going on newbies, so if you can find somewhere that'll give you 18-21 contact (teaching) hours, I'd advise snapping it up.

When it comes to location, 'best' is subjective, and what suits one person may be hell on earth for another. Nonetheless, based on what you've said, I would recommend somewhere like Lisbon. It's a capital city so it has good transport links and an airport (both things that are important to me), but is still small enough to have a 'small town' feel to it. The language is learnable (another 'must' for me), and the Portuguese generally have a good level of English.

If you haven't paid already, I'd recommend taking your CELTA in a city you think you might like to work in. As well as giving you a taste of life in that city and an idea of what students there are like, course providers tend to have links to local employers and so may be able to help you land a job. And if you decide after the course that the city isn't for you, well you haven't lost anything.

I have to go to work now but if you have any other questions, reply below and I'll be back online later.

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

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John V55
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by John V55 » 09 Jun 2015, 04:02

Yes, a lot of questions, but how adventurous are you? Let’s narrow it down.
No experience. That narrows it down a lot and excludes most schools.
Happy with a minimum lifestyle that pays the bills and food.
Experiencing new cultures.
Safety.

The problem is that with no experience, there is no choice of a nine to five and no gentle way of easing into it, as you’d be expected to know what you’re doing and the preferences only come with experience. Perhaps the only other way is to do voluntary work with one of the big companies for a couple of years for accommodation, food and a small allowance. In country (it’s unlikely anyone will pay airfare for a newbie teacher without experience), you will probably get a job with a private language company, but rather you than me. :)
Google, paid volunteer teaching work or similar. (Beware of scams, never pay anything and check them out thoroughly first).
A couple of years of that for the experience and then move on to Japan, S. Korea or China, with a background of a minimum two years teaching experience behind you.

Look at sites like http://www.ajarn.com/recruitment/browse_jobs/index.html
or http://www.seriousteachers.com/
Very few schools would even consider you without minimum experience, that’s your main obstacle. Get that and then move on to the jobs listed in the links.
Change My World: Politics, education & emigration http://changemyworld.forumotion.com

Boru500
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Boru500 » 12 Jun 2015, 17:50

Thanks very much for your helpful responses, everyone. Btw, your 'Teaching in Europe' guide is very helpful!

I'm leaning more towards Europe at the minute, specifically Poland and Czech Republic. As I said, at this stage I'm not too worried about money, but would the wages I make in countries such as these cover my living expenses and allow me to indulge in a modest amount of fun?

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 12 Jun 2015, 20:38

Hi again,

Glad you found the guide helpful!

I have worked in Poland, and my friend is currently working in the Czech Republic. Both of us earn(ed) enough to live comfortably in-country. Then again, neither of us work(ed) in a major city. I was in Bielsko-Biala (a couple of hours south of Krakow) while she is based in Liberec (an hour or so north of Prague).

Talking of cities, I'd avoid looking for work in either Krakow or Prague. Both are flooded with teachers meaning that the market is absolutely saturated. The huge number of teachers means that wages are low, and schools can get rid of teachers on a whim safe in the knowledge that there is a queue of others just waiting to step into the breach. If either city is your goal, I'd recommend going elsewhere first and getting two years' solid experience behind you.

In Poland, unless accommodation is provided, I wouldn't accept less than 3,000 zl (approx. £525/€725) gross per month, and even that is pretty low. In the Czech Republic, you should aim for a gross monthly salary of around 20,000 CZK (approx. £530/€730), although I've seen some of the 'big name' schools offering far, far less!

Hope that helps,

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

Boru500
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Boru500 » 15 Jun 2015, 17:17

That does help. Krakow interests me a lot but I will heed your advice!

I'll probably take a look at places offering jobs nearby, but I'm guessing the closer the schools are to the big cities the less jobs they have to offer?

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 16 Jun 2015, 23:06

Hi again,

Most people who want to work in Krakow want to actually live/work in the city centre, so I think that if you are prepared to work further out, or in one of the commuter or less desirable towns/cities, you'll have more luck. Unfortunately, I can't really suggest anywhere as I'm not all that familiar with the surrounding towns. I certainly wouldn't recommend either the town I lived in or the school I worked at!

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

Boru500
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Boru500 » 17 Jun 2015, 12:36

Hello again!

Duly noted - I'd be happier living in a smaller town with less of a buzz and decent pay if a big city like Krakow is only a stone's throw away. Or would living in Krakow and commuting somewhere nearby to work be a realistic option?

I'm guessing the school you worked at wasn't what you'd hoped it would be? Is there an easy way to find out if a school is reputable? I don't want to end up working for a sketchy employer! And do you mind if I ask, just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about Bielsko-Biala?

Cheers

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 17 Jun 2015, 21:20

Hey,

I guess if you lived in Krakow and worked outside the city, you'd be doing a sort of reverse commute, which might not be too bad. However, I'd advise finding somewhere to work first of all, then deciding whether it's possible to live in Krakow.

The school I worked for is part of a big name franchise. As with all franchises, some schools are good, some are bad and some are plain ugly. Unfortunately, this particular school fell firmly into the last category. There were good points of course - the students were, for the most part, absolutely lovely, and the hours were great (22hrs pw, roughly 15:30-20:30, no split-shifts and no weekend work) – but the bad definitely outweighed the good.

There was a rather large difference between what was promised in the contract and what was delivered and throughout my time there I was consistently underpaid. Furthermore, new teachers are given dodgy contracts that use an American address. You don't pay tax and the school reduces its own tax and social security liability, which, as I discovered, is illegal. As if that weren't enough, office politics made the school a less than desirable place to work.

To get the heads up on employers and things to look out for, I'd recommend posting on the Poland forum on Dave's ESL Café (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/). There are some VERY snarky posters on there, but they do tend to know what's what.

In terms of the town, I found Bielsko-Biala to be fairly charmless. It's small and there's nothing to do, especially if you don't speak Polish and don't like hiking or snowsports. There was no expat scene, no art and culture, no anything really. It was also too far from Krakow for me (approx. 2.5hrs by bus). Obviously, all of this is just MY opinion and I fully accept that another person might go there and love it, but if I were ever to return to Poland, I certainly wouldn't choose to base myself in Bielsko-Biala!

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

Boru500
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Boru500 » 20 Jun 2015, 12:16

Well as always your response was very informative, thanks a lot!

lauretta83
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by lauretta83 » 22 Jun 2015, 13:15

Dear all,

I am new and perspective teacher; on the summer I want to have a TELF training course and I would like to attend it in Prague.
I've read there are two schools:
http://www.liveteflprague.com/
http://praguetefl.com/tefl-course/prices/

Is there someone who can advise me the best or the differences between them?

Thank you!!
Laura.

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 22 Jun 2015, 21:42

Hi Laura,

There are loads of TEFL course providers in Prague, but those two are not ones I'm familiar with. Basically, for a certificate to have value, your course needs to include a minimum of 6hrs of observed and assessed teaching practice where you teach REAL students (as opposed to your fellow trainees). While both those courses mention teaching practice, it isn't clear whether it's with real students. I'd advise checking that before paying anything.

The best-known and most reputable course providers in Prague are as follows:

IH Akcent (http://www.akcent.cz/en/p/39/metod.html), which offers the CELTA
Oxford House (http://www.oxfordhouse.cz/en/teacher-training/), which offers the Trinity CertTESOL
The Language House (http://www.thelanguagehouse.net/)

I would rather choose one of those three than some little-known school offering job guarantees. No provider can guarantee you a job, unless they are actually going to offer you one. Based on that alone, I'd tread with caution.

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

lauretta83
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by lauretta83 » 23 Jun 2015, 08:32

Dear Briona,

thank you very much for your useful information. I am really in the middle of nowhere and I am afraid to choose something that doesn't match with my need.
Can you advise me other cities where TEFL courses are much more reputable that you can suggest because your experiences or other's experience?
Thank you for helping me with this matter.

Laura.

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 23 Jun 2015, 10:07

Hi again,

There are reputable courses in cities all around the world. As I said above, what matters is whether the course includes a minimum of 6hrs of observed and assessed teaching practice where you teach REAL students.

The most respected and internationally-recognised courses are the Cambridge CELTA and the Trinity CertTESOL. You really can't go wrong if you choose one of these. To find a provider go to http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/find-a- ... ng-centre/ (CELTA) and http://www.trinitycollege.com/site/?id=212 (Trinity CertTESOL).

It is generally said that you should do your TEFL course in the city/country where you'd like to work. And there are good reasons for this. First, you get experience with students from that country; second, course providers often have links to local employers which increases your chances of finding work immediately after the course. However, I did my CELTA in Spain, and used it to find work in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland and the UK, before coming to live full-time in Spain.

You haven't said where you're from, but your nationality may have a bearing on where you can work and how long you can stay in a country/region. My area is of expertise is Europe, so for more information on working in this region, have a look at the advice guide I posted in response to the original poster (second post in the thread).

Hope that helps and if you have any other questions, please ask.

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

lauretta83
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by lauretta83 » 23 Jun 2015, 10:41

Dear Briona,

thank you very much for your help, you are really helping me!
I am 32 years old Italian girl. I come from Rome (Italy) and I would like to teach English to foreign students in my country but I would like to teach English in other countries as well.
In this moment I am an employee at the university, but during summer time I would like to travel all around the world by teaching English for summer schools (if there are any).
I was thinking about doing a TEFL course abroad could be the best way to strenghten and improve my English.I would like to do it in Ireland, but at the Galway Language School they ask me for a C1 that I do not have.
I graduated at the University (5 years degree) in Foreign Languages and Literature and English was my major language.
Considering what you have told me, about chosing the right city/country in according where I'd like to work, I am really a bit confusing for what I told you. In fact, as I won't have a fix place where to teach (if I will) 'till I will leave my present job, I would like to try to teach during summer time where requested (Spain, Czech Republic, Ireland, etc.).
What do you recommend to me?

thank you!!!!

Laura.

Briona
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Briona » 23 Jun 2015, 20:20

Hi again,

In order to be accepted onto a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL course, you would need to have a proven level of English. This is usually a minimum of B2+ (Cambridge First/IELTS 6.5). However, many providers insist on you having C1 (Cambridge Advanced/IELTS 7.5 or 8) because you may have to teach B2 students on the course. So if you're serious about wanting to teach, you need to get a C1 certificate.

When it comes to finding work, summer is just about the worst time. There's very little work in mainland Europe. Schools tend to shut down completely for the month of August and any work in July and September goes to the teachers who work there year-round. I have worked in Spain for the past three years, and I go back to the UK every summer because there isn't enough work in Spain. There are lots of short-term summer jobs (3-6 weeks) in the UK, but you need a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL to work there, and you also need to be at least C1.

My advice, therefore, would be to improve your level of English with a view to taking the Cambridge Advanced as soon as possible.

Briona
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

Caitlin
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Re: Country Suggestions

Unread post by Caitlin » 02 Jun 2016, 10:55

Hi,

I've found www.teflhub.com incredibly useful and it has lots of European vacancies that I think might be suited to what youre looking for . Hope this helps!

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