TEFL/TESOL in Poland
Poland joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004 therefore if you are an European Union national you can visit Poland as a tourist and stay up to 3 months on your (valid) EU Passport, without having to provide any other formal documentation.
For stays over 3 months, and if you are there to work, you will need a temporary residence permit. This will entitle you to take up work. Residence permits are issued by the Department of Citizens Affairs of the Voivodeship Office in the province in which you wish to stay. Detailed information is available from the website of the Polish Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
Teaching in Poland
Prospects for English teachers in Poland are good, not only in the big centers like Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krak’w and Poznan, but also, and perhaps even greater, in the lesser-known cities and towns.
You can expect to find students who are generally very hard-working, eager to learn the English language well and very respectful of their teachers. Poles are very proud of their heritage and value education. Achieving linguistic ability is no exception!
As in many other countries, there are some very good schools and some real cowboys too so be a little careful.
Teaching jobs are available in both state and private schools. Contacting private schools ahead of time is always a good idea however you are more likely to find work on the spot. So pack your walking shoes and prepare yourself to do the rounds of the school directors!
Native speaking teachers of English are treated with some sort of reverence in Poland and school directors are delighted to interview native English speakers who present themselves in a professional manner. However don’t expect to simply walk into a job! The EFL customer here is slowly becoming more discerning and teachers are expected to have at least a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate and some teaching experience. Often a degree is also requested.
However, if you lack formal teaching credentials and/or teaching experience, you may still be able to pick up work in less popular and populous places outside the main cities.
Teaching Pay & Conditions in Poland
The academic year for most schools begins on September 1st and ends on the first Friday after June 18th. In universities it is October 1st.
Teachers generally work a minimum of 20hrs a week. Make sure your contract includes not only your pay but also a set number of hours per week. Unscrupulous employers will guarantee high hourly rates but not a set number of hours per week.
The current hourly rate for teachers working in the private sector is the equivalent of about €12 ($15 USD, £10) (but deduct from this 21% for taxes and contributions).
The average wage is about 2,500 PLN or €600 ($758 USD, £483) per month. As a guide, in the major cities a pleasant one room flat with kitchen and bathroom will set you back around 1300 PLN or €315 ($398 USD, £253) per month.
Although the wages are poor by Western European standards, native English speakers earn a more than decent wage by local standards. To put things in perspective you should bear in mind that the minimum wage is around 900 PNL or €220 ($278 USD, £177) and that people in Poland work 5 days a week for a maximum of 40hrs a week.
As part of your teaching contract, you can often expect to receive assistance with visa and accommodation, possibly in lieu of part of your wages.
Besides working in a school, you can also work privately and, in fact, many foreign teachers supplement their income by giving private lessons. In fact it is not uncommon for employers to take teachers on a part time contract and allow them to work privately for extra money.