Work Visa in advance / EU passport holders
Cost of Living
Business Professionals, Children
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What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Poland?
Most English teaching jobs in Poland are at private language schools. These lessons usually take place in the afternoons and evenings, teaching all ages (usually from 3+ years) and all levels. These might be family-run or independent businesses, or internationally-recognised chains. There are also some opportunities to work in public schools, often offering International Baccalaureate programmes, or in private international schools, which deliver most of their curriculum in English. Universities also offer positions as teacher trainers.
Teaching at private language centres in Poland
In Poland, there are 100s of private language schools – Warsaw and Krakow boast many of these, but you will find at least one or two in smaller cities all across the country. Your students can be of any age, right from three-year olds to retired adults. Expect to work approximately 25 hours a week, although this might reach over 30 hours if you take on one-to-one students or corporate classes too.
Finding a job
Jobs will appear on online jobs boards throughout the year – this is the best way to find permanent work. Apply through jobs boards – attaching a CV and cover letter if it’s required.
You might also find a job if you apply in person, particularly if you are looking in small towns or cities. Students in more obscure towns are often looking for one-to-one lessons with teachers who have a different nationality, background and accent to them. You might be able to piece together a timetable working in a few different places, supplemented by some private work too.
When to apply
Although recruitment takes place year-round to meet demand, the majority of positions will be filled in September, with contracts running until June. Send off your job applications from as early as May (though recruitment usually takes place throughout the summer) right up until the start of term in late September. If you’re planning a move to Poland in future, keep an eye on job ads and ensure you have the right qualifications.
Teaching hours & Class sizes
Most private language schools are open in the afternoons and evenings, with core hours being 3pm-9pm. It’s unusual to work at the weekends but it might happen if you’re running mock exams or putting on extra-revision classes for your students.
Expect to work between 20 and 30 hours a week. The majority of this will be with afternoon or evening classes, but it might also include some one-to-one students or business English classes – you might have to go out to different companies in your town for this. This means that you might have some split shifts throughout the week.
Class sizes tend to have a maximum of 12-15 per class, depending on the school. Schools are usually well-organised with a pedagogical approach. You can expect decent resources and plenty of professional development.
Salary & Bonuses
The standard hourly rate will vary from around $9-16 per hour – depending on how many hours you work per week, you could earn between $750-950 per month. Although this might seem low, the cost of living is also lower than in many other European countries. In addition to this, your school might contribute towards your rent – in some schools, they’ll cover the cost of your accommodation in full. It’s worth looking out for this in the job adverts.
All EU citizens are entitled to national healthcare. Some schools will also cover private treatment – such as emergency consultations or dental work.
Holiday pay will differ depending on your contract. Expect to have time off over Easter and Christmas, as well as national holidays in March, May, June and November. All public schools in Poland close for two weeks in January or February, so private language schools tend to do the same. Schools across the country are divided into four groups – each group takes their turn for a two-week holiday. Many people take this opportunity to go skiing in resorts in the Tatra mountains in the south of Poland.
- Hard-working students in an academic, organised environment
- Free time until 3pm
- Very little weekend work
- Plenty of public holidays
- Accommodation provided or paid in part by employer
- Hourly pay rather than a salary
- May be more difficult to find work without an EU passport
Other types of teaching work in Poland
By far, teaching in a private language school is the most popular type of teaching in Poland. For jobs in public schools or international schools, you’ll need to be a qualified teacher in your own country or have a CELTA/Trinity TESOL, have lots of teaching experience with young learners and teenagers, and have a proficient grasp of English. For teacher-training jobs in university, you’ll need a Master’s degree in ELT or Linguistics, or a Delta/Trinity Diploma plus some experience as a teacher trainer.
Am I eligible to teach in Poland?
To teach in Poland, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL qualification. You’ll find job hunting an easier process if you have a CELTA or Trinity TESOL too and some schools will expect teaching experience. Some schools may accept an online TEFL certificate.
How can I get a visa?
For EU passport holders, you can live and teach in Poland without a work visa. For those outside the EU, you’ll have to get a visa first, followed by a work permit – this should be organised by your employer who will act as a sponsor. Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a working holiday visa depending on where you’re from.
Where can I teach English in Poland
There are 100s of language schools in Warsaw and Krakow – teaching jobs can be competitive and the job market is increasingly saturated. Move out of the big cities and into smaller towns, where despite there being fewer positions, you’ll have a good chance of finding work, earn a good salary and experience the real Poland.
What are the challenges of teaching English in Poland?
Poland has lots of positives – hardworking students, organised language schools, plenty of things to do – however, like everything, it isn’t perfect. Some people find the weather a real challenge, with many teachers going home to warmer climes in the Christmas holidays and simply never coming back. There can be long periods of cold, dark days. Prepare for this and remind yourself that spring is just around the corner!
Another challenge is the language. It’s notoriously difficult boasting an impressive seven cases determining the purpose of each noun in a sentence. Pronunciation can be tough too. Take a look at the consonants in this Polish tongue twister: W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie (In Szczebrzeszyn, a beetle buzzes in the reeds). Thankfully, and unlike English, there are strict pronunciation rules – so if you know the rules for pronouncing each letter, you can read full words, even if you don’t know the meaning!
Cost of Living
You can make your money go a long way in Poland – life can be quite cheap, especially if you move out of the bigger cities and into more rural towns. If you manage to bag a job where your employers will contribute to your rent, you’ll be in a much healthier financial position.
It’s considerably cheaper to buy groceries and cook at home than to go to restaurants – you might even meet students who have never been to a restaurant as they’re convinced that the food is both better quality and cheaper if it’s home cooked by mum or grandma. Having said this, eating and drinking is cheap in comparison to other European countries – grab a home-cooked meal at a local restaurant for $5. This usually includes a soup, main and drink.
Coffee and beer come in at under $2. Get a bus or tram ticket for under a dollar. Luxuries like cinema trips and gym memberships are slightly more expensive, $6.5 and $20-40 respectively.
Poland’s chequered history is both fascinating and devastating. Its artwork, architecture and literature memorialise the past, ranging from folk traditions to monarchy, from war to politics. In many ways, Poland is as modern as the rest of Europe – huge malls, fast food and over-priced coffeeshops – yet, look beyond this and find an old-fashioned simplicity, centred on family, home-cooked food and healthy lifestyles.
Polish culture is formal and polite – if speaking to someone who is older or in a position of authority, such as your Director of Studies, it is customary to always use Mr or Mrs (Pan or Pani), when speaking or referring to them – even if you have known them for a long time. It is normal to use first names, however, so you might call your colleague, for example, Pani Kasia (Mrs Katie).
This politeness extends outside your workplace, so it’s a good idea to say hello (dzień dobry) and goodbye (do widzenia) to shopkeepers when entering and leaving shops.
Polish people are family-oriented, sometimes with different generations or cousins growing up in the same house. Religion is also a key part of life, with over 90% of the country identifying as Catholics. Expect to see the congregation bursting out of the doors on Sunday Mass at churches around the country.
The Polish diet is made up of home-grown, natural and fresh produce – potatoes, beetroots, apples and buckwheat. Outside of the larger cities, there’s little in the way of processed food, reflecting a national focus on home-cooked meals with the family. Try delicious bread and soups, which can be eaten for every meal. Żurek is with meat and mushrooms and finished off with rye, giving it a distinctive tartness. Barszcz – a thin soup made from beetroot – is often topped with tiny dumplings, called uszka – literally ‘little ears’ because of their shape.
You can’t experience Poland without trying pierogi. These dumplings can be stuffed with anything and everything to be sweet or savoury. From meat to mushrooms and from strawberries to cream – they’re cheap, delicious and everyone is convinced their grandmother makes the best.
Accommodation in Poland
Unless you live out in the suburbs or the countryside, expect to live in a flat – they’re usually well-maintained by cleaning staff and stay very warm in the winter months. Depending on your employer, you might be helped with your rent too – schools tend to find flats that are well-located so you won’t have too long a commute. Rent can vary from $400-600 depending on the location – although you might be paying considerably more in the city centre of Warsaw or Krakow.
Weather in Poland
Poland in many ways has the best of both worlds – freezing, snowy winters and hot summers with blue skies and little rain.
Summer temperatures sit at around 25-30°C. Cities in the south west historically have the hottest weather, with temperatures in Tarnow reaching 40°C. Escape the southern cities, such as Krakow and Katowice, and head to Zakopane for hiking in the hills. From Warsaw, head to the port city of Gdansk and seaside town Sopot, for sandy beaches and health spas.
In winter, it’s a different story – with an average winter temperature of 0°C, you’ll need to dig out your thick gloves and thermals. Temperatures can get much lower but, owing to a super-organised infrastructure, it shouldn’t affect your routine and life will go on as normal. Head to ski resorts in Szczyrk and Białka Tatrazańska – the former boasts 60km of ski runs and is the home of Poland’s Winter Olympics athletes. The latter has thermal baths – perfect for relaxing after a hard day on the slopes.