Teaching English in Poland: Country Guide
Poland is an Eastern European country on the Baltic Sea, known for its chic medieval architecture in the cities of Krakow and Gdnask and Warsaw. Outside the cities lie unspoilt landscapes of lakes, rivers and hills where abundant outdoor activities take place. There is a growing appreciation of Poland’s rich Jewish heritage with synagogues being sensitively restored and many Holocaust memorials which are deeply affecting. If you are a fan of homemade cooking you will also enjoy Poland’s hearty cuisine.
TEFL Opportunities in Poland
Ever since joining the EU in 2004, the demand to speak and understand English has been huge making Poland one of strongest markets for TEFL teachers in Europe, if not the strongest. English is a prerequisite for a lot of jobs (especially in tourism and international firms) which require English speaking staff. Learning English is also a large part of the school curriculum, and university student studying business even have to pass government mandated English proficiency tests.
There are TEFL jobs available countrywide, with major cities such as Warsaw, Wroclaw and Krakow offering some of the best paid TEFL jobs. There are opportunities to work in state and private schools as well as providing private English lessons out of hours. If you are interested in teaching English in Poland but do not want to commit to a full year, TEFL summer camps run for around 4-8 weeks during the months of June and July.
We have selected a couple of the top destinations for TEFL teachers in Poland.
Krakow is a fantastic city. It lacks the tourists that you find in other cities in central Europe and is instead populated with a thriving student community. The main attractions are the Old Square and the 14th century Wawel Castle which looks like something from a fairy-tale that rises above the Old Town. Nearby is the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp for an educational but chilling experience. The Wieliczka Salt Mines are also a fascinating underground maze of tunnels and can be reached on a day trip from Krakow. The city is overall cheap and easy to navigate and has a great nightlife – making it full of appeal for an alternative European city experience.
Capital Kraków may have the beauty and Gdańsk the seashore, but Warsaw has the culture, the energy and the action. Having to reinvent itself over the years and involuntarily after WW2, today it is a modern, bustling European city but it carries with it a history. The reconstructed areas – the historic Old Town Area – are tributes to the Poles ability to preserve their own history. There are also many green open areas to relax in.
Living in Poland
Poland is a charming country to live in. The country itself has a lot to offer, from impressive architecture to medieval towns and plenty of theatres and museums to visit. Public transport in the cities is cheap and easy to use, making it a great way to see all the sights. Prices for food and drink are also cheap compared to Western Europe. The Poles are also generally friendly and warm people and students learning English are generally eager and respectful towards their teachers. The climate varies from hot dry summers from May to September, to snow storms in the depth of winter.
Cost of living
Costs in Poland are similar to the rest of Eastern Europe, and are much lower than in Western European countries such as Italy or France. Your expenses on food, travel and going out will certainly be manageable.
TEFL wages in Poland are not the highest in Europe but neither is the cost of living and you should still earn enough to get by, with many jobs including perks such as free accommodation. Naturally your salary and conditions will vary depending what school and region you are teaching in, but typically you can expect to be paid an average salary of 2,500 PLN (£570) for teaching in Poland. Many TEFL teachers also offer private classes, as a means of an extra income, charging around £13 an hour.
A great perk of teaching English in Poland is that most schools offer their teachers free accommodation, most likely with another TEFL teacher and close to your place of work. You can expect the accommodation in Poland’s city centres to be modern and to a similar standard you would find at home. If you do have to find a place yourself, rent in Krakow for a one bed flat is around £300 a month. In the countryside and smaller towns the houses are more old fashioned, but still comfortable and the rent is as low as £100pm.
Finding a TEFL job in Poland
Most jobs contracts last a year although there are also opportunities for short-term teaching contracts if you apply mid-way through the academic year. The best time to apply is in July or August for positions beginning in September or October. Or you can apply in half way through the academic term in January. Alternatively, if you want to teach in English but on a shorter contract your best bet is to apply for a Summer Camp positions which lasts between 4 to 8 weeks through June and July.
Applying to jobs
You can search for jobs through our TEFL Jobs Centre. There are also advertisements for positions online. Alternatively you can travel to Poland and approach schools in person with your CV and a copy of your TEFL certificate.
Recommended TEFL course
We recommend taking our 120 hour TEFL course if you want to find a TEFL job in Poland as this is the minimum requirement for many jobs. The 120 hour course can be completed either online or in a combined option with a 20-hour weekend classroom course (100 hours of online learning).
Poland is a great choice for EU citizens as you do not need a visa to work here. If you do not have an EU passport you should apply for a visa through your nearest Polish embassy.