New to TEFL and interested in teaching in Eastern Europe – looking for advice.

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  • StephenJ
    12 March, 2017 at 10:15
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi all!

    I’m a 23 year-old male in the process of completing a 120 hour online TEFL course (with i-to-i). I’m interested in looking for a teaching job on the continent starting later this autumn and I’m looking for some advice. I have recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (in maths) and I’m a native English speaker with a UK passport, but I have no teaching experience.

    I’m looking for somewhere where I can have an interesting experience, and I’d love to pick up some of the language of the country I go to. I’m particularly interested in one of the the Central/Eastern European EU countries such as Poland, the Baltics or Romania. I have travelled through much of the region before and find their cultures fascinating, and I think I’d enjoy living in a country in this area of Europe (especially Poland!).

    I don’t yet know if I want to pursue a long-term career in TEFL (I think I will decide after I’ve had a bit of experience!), hence I haven’t invested time and money in a more advanced certification like the CELTA.
    Given that I have no teaching experience, I’m unsure of the best way to go about landing a job, and I’m skeptical of applying for jobs without any practical training/experience. So I have been considering doing a paid internship first (like one of the many internships offered online to places like Spain and Thailand), as I thought the training/experience might help. However after some research I’ve heard some not-so-great things about TEFL internships (such as that they are “cheap-labour” are a bit of a rip-off).

    What are my chances of landing a job, if I fly out in September to a city I’m interested in (a Polish for example) and apply for jobs locally? Or will I be better off searching and applying for vacancies from home? Would an internship suit me, given my circumstances described in this post, or are they really not worth it? Would it be beneficial to invest in a short practical course, since I’m currently only doing an online course? Since I’m inexperienced in the profession, I’m not fussed about earning a lot of money for a first TEFL job, as long as I earn at least enough to live and pay the bills!

    Sorry for the long post, I guess I’m just looking for some general advice on how to get started! Any advice at all would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!

    13 March, 2017 at 15:27
    • Total posts: 590

    Hi Stephen

    The best thing to do is look at some job adverts for countries you’re interested in (on this site and others), to get an idea of the level of qualifications and experience you will need. if you see, for example, that all employers are requesting a classroom based TEFL course, then you’ll probably be out of luck with an online one. Doing a short practical course may help, but probably won’t make a huge difference if it is a classroom based course that they are after, especially as you don’t yet have experience. If you’re quite flexible in terms of the country this is an advantage – look for a country where the employers are less stringent about requirements.

    Just for example, [url=]this ad[/url] for the Czech Republic requires a “language teaching certificate”. It doesn’t say anything about having to be from a classroom based course, so this would be a good one to apply for.

    I would start applying and see what you get back. Respond directly to job adverts, write “on spec” to language schools (lists [url=]here[/url]). If you don’t have any luck, then definitely consider flying out and applying for jobs locally. Being on the ground normally has advantages. But, be prepared to do a lot of leg-work, and for some of the schools to have already sorted out their employment requirements for the year. Factor in also the costs of living there without a job for a few weeks while you search.

    Hope that helps.


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