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At some point, quite a few expats will have worked as an English teacher. It may have been a foot into the country while waiting for something else or maybe teaching is your passion. To get an idea of the teaching marketplace and what conditions await any budding English teachers out there, we spoke with Cheryl Drábová, founder and managing director of TEFL Worldwide Prague.
What special skills are required?
According to Drábová, native speaking skills still count for a lot and will almost guarantee you a job, but it’s not everything.
“Any previous work teaching or tutoring is helpful. Also, there’s an increase in demand for teaching English at preschools and teaching Business English so if you have experience with children or if you have a business degree or business experience this is also a benefit.”
How important are qualifications and how do you obtain them?
“Most schools require a TEFL certificate as well as a Bachelor’s degree. Many times though this is only because of the visa requirement. In the Czech Republic, a degree is not required if you get the Trade License (Živnostenský List) but there are some schools that may still prefer that you have a degree,” says Drábová. Still, plenty don’t require it.
TEFL courses are often the shortest course of study, lasting four weeks of full-time classroom work. One place to obtain a TEFL certificate is with Drabova’s company TEFL Worldwide Prague. For other options, please check the Expat.cz listings.
Drábová says, “You really need to take a TEFL course. Just because you are a native or fluent English speaker doesn’t mean you can teach it. The course will teach you the best approaches needed in order to deliver an effective English lesson. You’ll feel much more confident after going through the training.”
CELTA, which is administered through Cambridge, is one of these short courses and along with the Trinity TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages ) is considered to have some of the most rigorous standards.
An even more advanced qualification would be a Graduate Diploma or Master’s Degree in TESOL which can take from one to two years and involves a lot more theory.
Who gets the most work?
A couple years ago, when the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Zone, some schools were more inclined to hire within the European Union. However, the scarcity of English teachers meant they are once again looking to a range of English speaking nations from around the world and helping with the paperwork. Drábová says teachers are primarily coming from US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Organizing a trade license can also increase your chances of employment.
“In the past couple of years, non-EU teachers are taking the initiative to get a trade license, which we highly recommend now. This allows them to teach on a freelance basis without a school having to sponsor them. It’s much easier to do this and there are agencies that help with this,” Drábová adds.
Most teachers outside of the EU/Schengen Area choosing this path.
Who is hiring?
Drábová says that there are over 100 language schools in Prague, so finding something shouldn’t be hard. “Teachers come and go and language schools acquire new clients so there are always positions open.” As mentioned before, there are possibilities for teaching kids in private preschools.
Universities and secondary schools are tougher nuts to crack. They often require higher qualifications and the places are limited. A good way to teach in an institution with stable pay and perhaps paid holidays is to contact them once you’ve got your foot in the door with a language school. You might start with a couple of classes and then see this to something full time.
What can you earn?
Based on latest listings, schools are offering between 200-320 CZK per hour. If you work for a salary, you could earn from 25,000 CZK-30,000 CZK a month, more if your course is more specialized.
One way to earn a bit more is to teach privately. Because it is private, hard figures are hard to come by but 350 CZK an hour seems about average. The downside to private teaching is that you don’t always get paid for cancellations – or you ensure this before you start teaching.
Teaching do’s and dont’s
…Be friendly but professional
…Turn up to classes on time
…Give your students a sense they are working toward something
…Make sure your lessons are prepared
…Think outside the text book
…Think talking all lesson is enough
…Be afraid to correct mistakes
…Be scared to ask other teachers for advice
…Think text books are all bad
The following table will give you a good idea of what salaries you can expect as a language teacher here in Prague:
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