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Information about being a TEFL teacher in the Czech Republic.
You can always find work here. Prague is a tourist mecca, and the locals have realized that English is essential to take advantage of this English tuition is growing rapidly.
Private English language schools – both foreign and locally-owned – are sprouting up everywhere. Particularly in Prague, but also in the quieter and equally beautiful rural areas.
Many schools only offer part-time contracts. So teachers often need to supplement their income with private lessons (which are easy to find). The Secondary schools have now started recruiting qualified ESL/EFL teachers for one-year appointments, often with subsidized/cheap accommodation thrown in.
Most schools ask that you have done a 4-week either a TEFL or TESOL course as minimum qualifications.
School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 or 7 and 14 or 15. Pupils of that age attend mainly comprehensive basic schools, which can be state, private or church. Some pupils at the age of 11, who pass a special examination, go to grammar schools. The school day lasts from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. The school year begins in September; it ends in June and is divided into two terms. Each class has 20-30 students and, for some subjects, each class is divided into two groups (e.g. English). Plenty of children take up extra after-school activities such as learning to play a musical instrument, dancing classes, crafts or ceramics, doing sports or attending extra language classes.
In most schools children begin to learn English (or German or French) at the age of 9 or 10 in form 4. By that time children are supposed to be good enough at Czech. Some schools offer foreign language in form 3 or even 1. The beginners often start with audio-oral programme. They listen to tapes, learn by heart chants and short conversation on everyday topics. They draw and color pictures with family members, with school and house objects and sing songs. After that a textbook is used.
Every school can choose between home or foreign authors. There are bookshops dedicated to teaching materials with a wide choice from various foreign publishers. Local representatives of the publishing companies organise seminars on ESL methodology and new textbooks.
However, some teachers do not attend these seminars because they are afraid of speaking English in front of an adult audience. Many Czech teachers used to learn solely from textbooks. They had minimum contact with native speakers and they feel that their aural and oral skills are weak. The grammar-translation method prevailed in the schools not long ago and students strove to make no mistakes and therefore they are scared of speaking. These teachers often learn only vocabulary and grammar, they use mainly mother tongue in class and textbooks and workbooks with a lot of exercises are their safety belts. The choice of books depends on the finances of schools and these are not optimal.
Qualifications: You can still teach in many schools here just using your BA or university degree, but that’s not going to help you plan for the hectic 25 hour week of courses. If a complete beginner, take an ESL course to acquaint yourself with Eng. grammar, teaching techniques, and the textbooks on the market. Czechs often want to know the grammar and the reason WHY, so be ready for it. Thus prepared, you can probably teach a general public course in the evenings and make it fun for yourself and the students. There is however other schools, that tend to instruct very specialized clients, so the quality expected of teachers is higher. Hired applicants hold some professional degree in ESL, business/management, law or applied humanities. Clients want someone who can instruct them in English as well as answer questions about the European Union, law and taxes.
There are still many opportunities in state secondary high schools outside the city, where your ESL certificate, imagination and a lot of energy will count.
Accommodation: Prague is beautiful, but only the rich westerners can actually afford a flat rental in a picturesque setting. If your salary is around 15 000 crowns a month, then you may be able to afford a single room for 7000 or 8000/month furnished. One and two bedroom flats run upwards of 10 000 to 15 000 depending on locale. Many times housing is in panel houses outside the historic centre.
Paperwork/Visas: Miserable. The big thing is to have your original birth certificate with you, a police record check (often notarized and even legalized by the Foreign Affairs Dept of your own country), along with the papers concerning accommodation and employment supplied by the employer. For some folks a multiple entry visa is needed even to come into the country. If any of these are not in order, the application process may be suspended. Check the consulate near you.
And all that talk about not making money, well, you’ll make what the Czechs make, basically. If you are going to a country to learn about the people and culture, it probably is best to have a similar budget. You will live comfortably and be able to have a good time on the salary you make.
The question you need to ask is why are you going there? If it’s for money, wrong place to start for a nest egg. If it’s for experience, best place to start to appreciate what the world really has to offer.
Salary contract details and tips.
Each TEFL teacher works up to 25 lessons per week with time for regular teacher training workshops, in house.
CZK 25,000 per month take home + medical coverage based on standard full time employment according to the State laws.
The offer for non-EU citizens is a freelance position and you would have to come with a trade licence for the Czech Republic to apply for a work visa.
Business teachers will have TEFL CELTA or TESOL qualifications in teaching English as a second language with a ready police background check and previous experience teaching Business English as a minimum requirement.
Teachers in Public Schools will have a ready police background check and previous experience working with children as a must.
Another fact, home ownership is among the lowest in Europe, many still live with their parents or their grandparents.
Finding a job in Prague is very easy with a TEFL cert. In fact, most “interviews” are more of a “when can you start?” variety. Take your time to find the best school. You will most likely either be working for an agency that sends you all around the city to teach (not so great) or an actual school were you teach a class of students on site.
It can be difficult to live on a TEFL teacher’s salary, so bring savings for travel and extras. It is sometimes difficult to permeate the culture and become friends with any Czechs, except through my private lessons.
Don’t come here expecting to get rich, but do come here if you appreciate architecture, cheap food and beer, the cynicism of their sense of humor and the fantastic nightlife. You have to make compromises when you move here, and one is that if you can’t speak Czech, then it’s difficult to communicate with the locals, so you do your best to be polite and friendly. There are no figures as to what the average monthly gross earnings of a full-time teacher in the private sector are, but at the school that I work for an entry-level teacher (fresh TEFL course graduate or one year’s full-time TEFL teaching experience) can expect to be earning around 19000,–CZK gross monthly, not including bonuses, paid holiday, reimbursements for various expenses such as travel passes and visa costs and other supplementary payments that are available. Bear in mind that this is for an entry-level teacher.
A TEFL teacher with better qualifications or broader experience can quite easily earn upwards of 25 000,–CZK. Experienced teachers who have been working for a school for more than a year can earn anything from c. 22 000,– upwards.
A number of TEFL teachers (admittedly with more than a basic workload) earn 25 000,– to 39 000,– gross each month. The sort of earnings that a full-time teacher can achieve are well above the norm and for experienced teachers can compete with bank clerks. This still isn’t a whole lot of money and requires hard work, but very few jobs earn you easy money.
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