To find jobs teaching English in Poland requires determination and persistence. It is rich in cultural interest and living there can be an exciting experience. Nevertheless, finding a teaching job could become more than challenging and requires the right qualifications and a good dose of persistence. If you are considering applying for a position in Poland, the following information outlines some of the basic things you need to keep in mind.
Visa requirements: Do I need a work visa?
Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) may live and work in Poland without a visa, but must have a valid passport or national identity card. Non-EEA nationals will be required to get a resident’s permit and work visa before entering the country. The application must be done by the future employer, and this will mean that you must be employable and have, preferably, secured a long-term contract before a school will consider going through the application procedure. Obtaining the right resident visa and work permit is a time-consuming procedure so it is best to start well in advance of your travel dates. You should also be sure that you are able to finance your stay while looking for a job.
Full information on visas for Poland is available at:
Language level: Will I have to speak Polish well?
In most large towns and cities you will be able to get around with only English, as many Polish speak it to some extent. In the smaller towns and rural areas, however, you will need to know basic Polish, and it certainly will help when dealing with bureaucracy and interacting better with your colleagues and neighbors. A good basic level of fluency to achieve before you go would be level B1 (“intermediate”) with respect to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).
Diplomas and experience: What qualifications will I need?
Both schools and students are demanding in terms of results, and qualifications with two or three years experience are crucial to getting a job interview in a good school. Teachers may be required to teach several subjects. CELTA certification is the absolute reference for jobs teaching English in Poland, and will open most doors to jobs, though Trinity certificates, university teaching degrees, and classroom experience will also be recognized as well. Swedish, Norwegian and French are also popular, and being able to show a recognized certificate would be very helpful, for example the Swedish TISUS or Chamber of Commerce certificates, or the French DELF. Degrees and experience in the business, financial, legal, vocational or professional fields also will be of interest in finding teaching positions in Poland.
Be aware that online-earned certificates have little to no value in Poland.
Organization: What is the Polish school system like?
The Polish Ministry for National Education and Ministry of Science and Higher Education coordinate all educational issues in Poland. Enrolment is obligatory until the age of 18, and the school system has several different levels and options for both children and adults. Primary school covers the first six years. Secondary school begins with three years of Gymnasium, followed by three to four years in one of the upper-level secondary schools: Lyceum (specialized or general studies), Technical, or Vocational. Complementary Vocational or Technical schools offer 2-to-3-year courses. Upon completing secondary school, students can sit for the standardized secondary school achievement examination (“Matura”), which is required to enter higher education.
Adult vocational training is also well-structured, with three main levels: Introductory, Basic and Secondary vocational training. This sort of training is done both within the school system and through private organizations. Teacher training is carried out in specialized institutes and foreign language teacher training curriculums are available.
Finally, there are a few international schools, mainly in Warsaw, offering British and American curriculum as well as preparation for the International Baccalaureate.
Getting hired: Where and how should I look for a position?
Warsaw, Krakow and the other larger cities and towns have sizeable expatriate communities, and work is usually readily available to those with language, business, legal or financial qualifications and experience. You may also find positions available in the smaller towns, and competition in these areas is much less stiff. However, keep in mind that a good working knowledge of Polish will be necessary. It is recommended to research possible positions before leaving, and then to apply directly to the school for the job. You should ask if it is possible to visit the school facilities in order to see what the school offers and determine for yourself if the position is the right one for you. Be sure you understand the contract and pay scale as well.
Split-shifts and required curricula: What will my working day be like?
You will probably have a schedule that is organized in “blocks” of about three hours, and split shifts are frequent, so you will need to organize your time to accommodate for commuting.
The main language teaching methods in Polish schools are the Callan method and the Communicative method. Schools often prepare the syllabus and provide you with the work to be done on a daily basis. You will also be working in tandem with a Polish teacher, and you will have classes to yourself two or three times per week. You should be prepared to do a great deal of preparation, especially in the communicative method, as the activities must keep students focused, participating, and motivated. Classes have 12-15 students and are organized into two 90-minute sessions, twice a week. Depending on your contract, you may also have to write reports, do student counseling and meet with parents.
More information can be found at
You may want also want to check the EURES website for more details on working and living in Poland: http://www.eures.praca.gov.pl/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86&Itemid=108
All the best in finding your teaching position in Poland! Powodzenia!
This Guide for Teachers in Poland was originally published on www.TeacherHit.com