Italy is a country of contrasts, beauty and romance. It's
also a country where good taste in fashion and food is a
pre-requisite to survival. Whether it's Gucci or Prada,
gnocchi or papardelle, the Italians take an immense, and
justifiable, pride in their national assets. But three millennia
of history and culture go a lot further than credit cards
and waistlines…for this is also one of the oldest,
and most fascinating, European countries. The art and architecture
are second to none and whether you choose to take it all
in by foot, by gondola, or on the back of a Vespa, the journey
is simply breathtaking.
The TEFL market in Italy is well-established and continuing
to grow, making it a great destination for those looking
for work. Italy can be a particularly good option for newly-qualified
teachers, as many schools (particularly those in smaller
towns) are willing to take on teachers with relatively little
Many of the jobs are in smaller towns and cities and some
jobs are offered in more rural settings, in which case a
school car is often provided for the teacher’s use.
It is always a good idea to check out the precise location
of the school so that you know exactly what to expect. There
are also plenty of jobs around in the larger cities, although
you may find that many of the schools there require teachers
to have a couple of years experience under their belt. Jobs
in places like Rome and Bologna are very sought after and
teachers who manage to get work there tend to stay for as
long as they can. Milan however, is a particularly rich
area for TEFL work, especially in the area of Business English
Teaching, and work is generally easy to come across.
English-learning in Italy is big business and you will
find that Italians are generally very enthusiastic students.
Their reputation as a warm and hospitable nation is well-deserved
and teaching in the country will give you a fantastic insight
into their language and culture.
Salary and hours
On average, teachers can expect to be contracted for 20-30
hours teaching a week, although at busy times of the year
they may be asked to do extra. ‘Split shifts’
are quite common in Italy and it’s worth bearing in
mind that you may well find yourself teaching lessons first
thing in the morning and then last thing at night. Saturday
morning teaching is also a normal requirement, particularly
for the less experienced teachers in a language school.
Salaries tend to be around 900- 1100 euros a month before
Type of teaching
Teachers can expect to teach a variety of age-groups and
class-types. Business clients and Younger Learners are very
common, and you may even find that you are sent to the local
‘scuola media’ (middle high school) or scuola
superiore (high school) to teach large English classes.
Driving out to give lessons at a company’s place of
work is also fairly common, so having a driving licence
will definitely be an advantage when you are looking for
Accommodation for teachers in Italy is often organised
on your behalf. Language schools sometimes own flats which
they rent out to their teachers each year. If not, they
are usually able to source accommodation for you, or at
least give you all the information that you require to do
so yourself. Accommodation can be expensive though, and
you should beware of hidden costs, i.e deposits, costs to
connect the electricity, gas, water rates, and cleaning
at the end of the contract. Unfortunately it can sometimes
be difficult to get deposits back too.
Start of school year/ best time to look for work
Most contracts with private language schools will begin
in September/October and run through to June or July. The
majority of schools will require teachers to have a CELTA/TESOL
or equivalent qualification, and any knowledge of Italian
will be an advantage, although by no means a necessity.
January is also a good time to look for work.
Any EU resident who takes up a post in Italy will
be required to apply for a residence permit (carta di soggiorno)
at the local ‘questura’ (police headquarters)
when they arrive. This can require a substantial amount
of photocopying of documents, and even more patience! The
school that you work for will usually help or advise you
on how best to go about the process though.
Before accepting a job, teachers should be clear
that there really is a north/ south divide in Italy and
while Milan typifies northern Italian life, Naples is a
quintessential city of the south. Milan is cosmopolitan,
well developed and very European, whereas Naples is disorganised,
chaotic and spontaneous. Attitudes towards several things,
including women, can be fairly backward in the South and
it is worth remembering that parts of this area are still
Planet Guide - Italy