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Overview

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 teaching experience.
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 tax.

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 work.

Accommodation
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.

Red Tape
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.

Miscellaneous advice
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 quite underdeveloped.

Paginegialle

British Council

British Institutes

FCO

Education Guardian

Lonely Planet Guide - Italy