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
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.
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.
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.
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
Planet Guide - Poland