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Overview

Poland is a country with a blossoming future but a tumultuous past and this is very much reflected in its cities, its architecture and its people. The country has a tremendous amount to offer, whether you are looking for gorgeous scenery or bustling nightlife, Poland has it all. Although there are plenty of desired locations in Poland, the busiest and most sought after cities are Warsaw, the capital, Gdansk, the city by the sea and Krakow, a city boasting more pubs and clubs per square metre than anywhere else in Europe. With dazzling gothic architecture and a ripening cultural significance, Poland is a most welcoming country for people looking to work on the continent and to have a great time while doing so.

TEFL in Poland is a developing line of work and although it may be a little tricky to find good employment in big cities, many private language schools are expanding to smaller towns and villages, which can be equally enjoyable to live in. Since Poland joined the EU five years ago, EFL teaching has become increasingly popular and private language schools are popping up all the time. This means that wages are competitive and that teachers are often required to have a couple of years.

It has often been said that Poland is a difficult place to work in due to its Communist past, and that many school directors dwell in their Communist upbringing and are, as a result, rather unpleasant to work with. However, due to the recent popularity of teaching English, the newly established schools are generally considered to better to work for- the management are a lot more pleasant and socially capable in dealing with the requirements of native English speakers.

Poland is a large country and there are many cities that are equally as beautiful as Krakow and Warsaw that remain relatively undiscovered by EFL teachers, even though there are many language schools there to work for. An example of these is Rzeszow, a picturesque city in the South East of the country; it boasts several language schools, a booming nightlife and a wonderful market square.

Whether you find yourself working in a busy city or a small town, students are equally eager and demanding during lesson time. They are very keen to develop their skills as quickly as possible, which makes teaching them both a challenging and rewarding experience.

Polish people are generally very friendly and hospitable. Their hospitality, at times, can even be a little overwhelming- you may well find yourself plied endlessly and unequivocally with traditional tea and cakes!

Salary and hours
The average wage for an EFL teacher can range between 2000 to 3000 Zlotis a month, which is about 400 to 600 GPB. ZUS payments cover income tax, personal health insurance and even a pension scheme. ZUS payments are compulsory and take 20% of the monthly wage.

Type of teaching
It is common for private language schools to provide for a variety of age groups and language abilities, although most schools ask the teachers’ preference with regard to both age and level of their students. Business English is also in popular demand and the majority of schools in big cities have open contracts with businesses in the area. Although specific training is not required to teach Business English, experience or knowledge of the required field would prove very useful.

Accommodation
In the last two years, real estate prices have increased 76% in Krakow alone. Due to the ease of foreigners being able to buy a property now that Poland has joined the EU, the cost of rent has also increased. In a large city, the average cost of rent is around 900 Zlotis (about 180 GPB) a month. Finding a flat is easy enough, and some schools help with finding accommodation for staff. When looking for a flat, it is always a good idea to take bills and deposits into consideration as well. If you are designated to a town or a village though, it would be worth checking out the area and making sure that the accommodation is 100% secure before signing a contract.

Start of school year/ best time to look for work
Term starts for young learners at the end of September and for adults at the beginning of October so the best time to apply for work is around July and August time. Most schools also accept applications just after Christmas.

Red Tape
Poland is about twenty years behind the UK with regards to bureaucracy, this means that they like their rubber stamps and that it can take forever to get anything done. Collecting packages from the post office for example often takes a while for foreigners as Passports, birth certificates, proof of address and various other such proof of identity are required. It is also often necessary that new EFL teachers set up their own business in Poland to decrease their ZUS payment, but the majority of large city based schools tend to help with the procedure.

Miscellaneous advice
t is always a good idea to register with a doctor and a dentist upon arrival, this is easy to do and free of charge as long as you provide an E111 card.

Eating and drinking out in Poland is fabulous, the countries traditional food is sometimes considered a little bland and fatty, but since the tourist explosion across the country, it is easy to find fantastic food at very reasonable prices. The Polish love their vodka, so if you find yourself at a family dinner table or at a Polish wedding for example, be prepared to drink!

Public transport in Poland is often criticised- trains frequently run late and the renovation of the roads in preparation for Euro 2012 means that there are continual traffic jams around major town centres. The best way to travel is by tram, as long as you have a supply of tickets. When using the buses and the trams it is often wise to buy a book of tickets or a monthly pass as to not get caught by the ticket inspectors. Be sure to validate your ticket as soon as you board and to not question the authority of the conductors.

Although the food and drink are cheap in Poland, things like clothes and electronic goods are not, in fact they are often more expensive than in the UK so make sure you bring a strategically packed suitcase!

The weather in Poland is variable. In the summertime, temperatures can reach 35 degrees, but around November the winter kicks in and for this you will need to dig out your snow boots and earmuffs!

Poland.pl

Go Warsaw

Warsaw Voice

Virtual Tourist Poland

Lonely Planet Guide - Poland

Poland.gov