Posted on September 27, 2019 | By Lisa Triani
22nd Mar 2019
Ever wondered what it would be like to live and work in a place where cappuccino flows like water, conversations sound like music and every town square is a work of art? Thanks to the fashion and tourism industries, there is an increasing need for EFL teachers in the land of pizza – so your wondering could easily lead to wandering those cobbled streets.
If you’re serious about teaching English abroad in Italy, here are some things to consider that may help you to decide:
#1 Wanted… you!
In Italy, English is considered an important language to know. Both in a professional sense and in terms of “la bella figura” – loosely translated as making a good impression. So work opportunities for qualified, native level speakers are widespread around the country.
You may have the choice of working in a metropolitan hub, like Milan or Rome, or in a more remote place where the cost of living is less and the lifestyle much more “provincial” as they say in Italy. Slow food, fast coffee and great panoramas.
The importance placed on learning English also means that people will want to speak English with you often, so that they can practise and increase their fluency. This can be fun for a while, but also limiting for you and you may need to insist on Italian outside of the classroom if you want to improve your knowledge of the local lingua.
#2 Career possibilities
Italy is a good place to develop your EFL career. In terms of contracts, many employers require a bachelor’s degree as well as a TEFL qualification, although some do not, and of course, teaching experience is always appreciated. If you are starting out teaching English abroad in Italy, there are many options for you to build up your teaching hours. Summer schools are always an option – many schools offer summer programmes for young learners in beautiful settings. This is a good opportunity for you to get some experience, earn some Euros and get a taste of what it is like to teach English in Italy. You could also offer private lessons in the town you choose to live in, but in that case, remember that you will need to have your own venue, provide your own materials and handle the business side of things yourself.
#3 Fair dealings
If you decide to work for a private language school, the contracts generally include relatively low hours, around 25 a week, for an entry level salary of around €1,200 per month. You will mostly be guaranteed a certain number of hours each month and paid overtime if you go over your allotted hours – though be sure to check your contract!
Teaching in Italy won’t earn you a fortune, but you can work relatively easy hours for a good lifestyle which gives you time to explore the many wonderful places, people and habits which come with Italian life. You can always supplement your income with private lessons after hours, but be sure your students are not procured through your school – that would be a breach of contract!
It is important to note: if you want to apply for TEFL jobs in Italy, you will need to have your own EU passport or working visa already, schools will not acquire a work permit for you or sponsor you to get one.
#4 Variety is the spice of life!
Most contracts at a language school will include teaching a range of ages and levels: from young children who come for interactive games and an initial exposure to the language, to retired ladies and gentlemen who enjoy talking to foreigners and occasionally go on holiday somewhere where English is required. Many of your students may have a good grasp of grammar, which doesn’t mean they can necessarily use it correctly, but Italians are often highly grammar-aware, which means you will need to be too.
You may teach Cambridge exam classes, prepare students for work meetings or presentations and even do some “Mother Tongue” conversation classes at a local high school. This means that life in the classroom is never boring and your skills will develop in lots of areas – win, win!
#5 A room with a view
Many schools in Italy provide support in finding accommodation and some even include accommodation in their teaching package. You may find yourself sharing with other teachers from different countries, which is a great way of connecting with people having a similar experience. You could also choose to share a home with Italians and benefit from really integrating into your new environment both culturally and linguistically. Living alone is an option, but is quite expensive in Italy, especially in the bigger cities and on a teacher’s salary. The big plus is, of course, that wherever you live in Italy is likely to have a view of something pleasing – be it a street, a fountain, a lake or a bustling market.
#6 Open doors
Italians are very hospitable people and as a foreign teacher, you are likely to be invited into their homes, lives and social networks fairly early on. Italians love to host people, talk about their country, make and share delicious food – an all round winning combination for someone who has just landed on Italian soil! Italians are also on the whole supportive of people making an effort to learn their language. You will mostly find them appreciative (and naturally entertained, at times) of all your attempts to get your tongue around their greetings, verbs and courtesies and just as they are often keen to try out their English on you, they are also usually quick to offer correction and guidance on your Italian pronunciation, when needed.
#7 Espresso, per favore!
It has to be said: one of the best things about living and teaching English abroad in Italy is the quality of coffee you get to enjoy. Not to mention the frequency of it – coffee, in Italy, is like punctuation – it happens before, during or after most conversations! If you are a coffee lover, we advise quality above quantity in order to be kind to your kidneys, but the choice of fabulous coffee bars really is endless and you are likely to find your favourite cafés in no time at all.
If all of the above has piqued your interest, have a look for TEFL jobs in Italy on our jobs board or www.wantedinrome.com to find the job you are looking for. You may also want to check out our guide: Everything you need to know about teaching English in Italy.
Fine food and good living await you!