The Czech Republic is a small country in central Europe
(and the Czechs prefer “central” as a description
to “eastern”) sharing borders with Germany to
the west, Poland to the north and Slovakia and Austria to
the south. It is famous for its beer and the fascinating
capital city Prague, a major centre of culture, business
and tourism. However, there is plenty more to discover:
mountains and rivers, beautiful countryside, medieval castles
and spa towns, vineyards, weird rock formations.
The Czechs are sometimes perceived by foreigners as a little
reserved at first, and service with a smile is not always
guaranteed. However, beyond that initial reserve they are
friendly and hospitable, and keen to interact with foreigners.
As well as beer and sausages, sports and outdoor activities
are very popular; especially volley ball, hockey, skiing,
hiking, cycling, swimming and canoeing.
There is a well-established and growing TEFL market. Most
foreigners choose to work in Prague for a wide range of
employers from large private schools who will help with
visa applications and accommodation to one man agencies
who pay cash, and everything in between.
There is a general preference for native speaker teachers,
so non-native speakers have to be a bit more determined
to find work. Teaching a language other than English can
be a way in, then making sure everyone knows you are willing
to teach English as well - be prepared to do last minute
substitutions and wow the students until your employer finally
realises that you are just as good as most so-called native
Another option is to teach in a state school. These jobs
are a little harder to come by though. They require a BA
in English or Applied Linguistics and applications need
to be received before the end of April. It is not unusual
to be working in tandem with a Czech teacher e.g. he or
she may teach grammar while you focus on speaking and other
In smaller towns and cities free or subsidised accommodation,
travel, Czech lessons and other assistance is often provided.
The smaller the town, the less likely you are to be able
to get by on English alone.
Czech students tend to be motivated, like a bit of a challenge
and have a good (occasionally somewhat dark) sense of humour
and fun. Many teachers socialise with, and become friends
with their students and other locals.
Salary and hours
New teachers can get a full timetable, especially if they
work for one of the larger schools, but it is also common
to have a few hours at one school, a few at another and
so on. Try to keep the number of employers low, so you don‘t
drown in paperwork. Pay in Prague is around 200 - 250 Czech
koruna (around 8 Euros) per hour. By hour I mean 60 minutes;
often the unit quoted is 45 minutes or 90 minutes, so when
you have a job interview, make sure it’s spelled out
exactly what rate you’re getting. Typically you’ll
earn around 15-20,000 CZK a month which, after rent (probably
around 7000 for a shared flat at the time of writing) and
tax (around 25%), doesn’t leave you a whole lot of
disposable income - enough to live reasonably comfortably,
especially if you like beer which is high quality and very
cheap, and to go on an occasional trip. If you are entrepreneurially
minded and prepared to put yourself about a bit, you can
pick up private classes and other work to supplement your
income. Work such as writing and proof-reading can be quite
Outside Prague pay is lower, but so is the cost of living.
Also, you are more likely to be housed, fed, driven around,
clasped to the bosom of the family and so on. It is not
unusual for teachers to be relatively better off on a lower
salary outside Prague.
Type of teaching
There is a lot of work for those wishing to teach
young learners, students and others requiring general English,
but the majority of work is in-company and, as with most
other places, this means your timetable is likely to include
early morning and evening classes, often with little in
between, and require you to travel around a bit.
Accommodation is not usually difficult to find,
but the initial outlay can be substantial, especially if
you find it through an agency that will require a fee in
addition to the usual one month’s security deposit
and one month’s rent in advance. Places outside the
main tourist centres will typically provide accommodation,
and some schools in the major cities (Prague, Brno, Ostrava,
Plzen, Liberec, Olomouc and Hradec Kralove) will also go
to some lengths to help you.
Start of school year/ best time to look for work
September and January are the main hiring times. Large schools
start recruiting as early as May for September. There is
something of a hiatus in August, but less so than in many
other European countries, and there are jobs in summer camps.
There is a fairly high turnover of teachers and, in Prague
at least, it is usually possible to find a job at almost
any time of year.
Established schools will usually help with work and residency
permits. There are a lot of teachers in Prague so to some
extent this affects how far the employer is willing to go
to help you out, but there is also competition for the best
new prospects, so it’s worth shopping around a bit
if you’re lucky enough to be coveted by several schools.
Similarly, schools outside the capital may be willing to
work harder on your behalf simply because their need is
Getting legal is easiest for EU citizens, and next easiest,
in approximate order, for US, Canadian and Australian nationals.
The process is bureaucratic and usually requires you to
supply your birth certificate, criminal registry extract
and other documentation. It is relatively straightforward
for EU citizens. For US citizens there is a long, unofficial
tradition of popping over to Dresden or Vienna every 90
days to renew their tourist visas until they can complete
the process of becoming legal. However, this loophole may
be at least partially closed by The Czech Republic’s
entry into Schengen, planned for October 2007.
Other non-EU citizens are advised to sound out potential
employers in advance about their willingness to employ someone
of their nationality. Schools may state that they have no
preference regarding nationality, but this is not necessarily
true in practice, and may depend on difficulties they have
encountered in the past, and the advice of their lawyers.
Another option is to apply for a business license which,
again, may require a lot of patience and some initial costs,
but which will enable you to be “self-employed”.
Employers are often delighted to take on teachers with a
business license because it means far less work and fewer
overheads for them.
For further information:
Official Website of the
There is a lot of petty crime in Prague, i.e. pick-pocketing
and other petty theft. You need to be vigilant with your
valuables at all times, especially between the airport and
the city, on public transport, in the pub and in areas popular
with tourists. Fortunately it is a relatively safe city
with little violent crime.
Prague is also one of the most popular destinations for
stag and hen parties, so it is not unusual to see groups
of drunken men or women in matching t-shirts or weird outfits,
determinedly having a good time and sometimes rather spoiling
things for everybody else. They are not always English!
If you want to keep your exposure to this, and the other
seamier aspects of the city, to a minimum you soon learn
where not to go and when.
The Czech Republic is generally quite permissive, so attitudes
to drink, sex and so on may appear lax to people of a more
conservative nature. Anti-Romany feeling is fairly widespread
and racism is perhaps more visible on the surface than in
some other places. However, it must be stressed that Czechs
on the whole are very friendly, accepting and interested
in the world outside their own country; with the ongoing
process of change and development the trend is one of increasing
Planet Guide - Czech Republic