Getting Started Teaching English in Prague
Prague has long been a favorite destination for young, enthusiastic English teachers. The low cost of living combined with the high number of locals eager to improve their English has made Prague the place where many people have their first overseas teaching experience.
But don’t mistake teaching English in Prague as easy. You’re not the only person trying to make a living teaching in Prague and you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to find good work opportunities and have a comfortable lifestyle.
If you’re planning on teaching in Prague, we’ve put together this guide to get you started.
For citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein, working in the Czech Republic is not really a problem. You just need to register with the immigration office when you arrive.
All other nationalities, however, need an appropriate visa and work permit. Most of the liability for applying for that actually resides with the employer who needs to apply for a permit to hire foreigners at the Labour Office. The employee needs to apply for a work permit for one specific position before arriving in the Czech Republic. More information on this can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs or your local Czech embassy.
As mentioned above, Prague is quite popular with young expats teaching English either full-time or to supplement their income. This means things are quite competitive in Prague. To succeed, the first critical step is getting your teaching certificate. You will most benefit from a CELTA, TEFL or TESOL teaching certificate.
The most widely recognized of those is the TEFL qualification, with CELTA and TESOL being aimed more at teaching in an English-speaking country. The investment required for obtaining any of these teaching qualifications varies greatly in time and cost, but if teaching English abroad is something you’re interested in for the long term, it’s worthwhile.
You can find some options of getting a TEFL certificate in Prague from TEFL Worldwide or The Language House.
Working with Language Schools
To get ahead as an English teacher you need to build experience fast and the best way to do that is by securing work with language schools. Approaching them should definitely on the top of your list of things to do as soon as you arrive in Prague.
The easiest way to find language schools would obviously be to use Google. Prague.tv also has a job board as do a few other expat sites. In general, the smartest way to approach these English schools would be to march right in that door, CV in hand. That shows your pro-activity and enthusiasm for getting a job – also never underestimate how difficult people find saying “No” to your face. But if that’s a little too much, direct emails and follow up calls work as well.
It’s also a good idea to start a working relationship with a few schools since that would help to cement your pipeline of income. Language school work can start earning you about 15.000-20.000 CZK per month. That should be a stable income that can get you a reasonably comfortable life in Prague.
In addition to working at language schools, many teachers supplement their income by giving private lessons. The upside is flexibility, much more dedicated students and usually more money than language schools can offer you. 300-400 CZK per 60-minute lesson is typical and you can charge more if you’re teaching specialized skills.
The drawback of teaching English privately is the fact that finding private students is much more difficult that teaching a class organised by a language school. Check expat sites, or use services like Teacher Creature, Learn English Prague and myTeacher.cz. There are also expat events and language exchange groups organised on platforms like Meetup.com where you might have luck finding some new students. As a last resort, you can also stick up flyers.
Also, keep in mind that while going fully private looks like a good idea, the amount of cancellations and seasonal changes in demand make it a risky choice. Be very upfront about you cancellation policy and try getting students to pay for several lessons up front to ensure their commitment. Still, with all these precautions it’s best to assume at least 10%-15% of your lessons will get cancelled each month.
Out of the Class
Although at first sight teaching English in a foreign country might seem like a breeze, the fun definitely comes with a high price. The unrelenting schedule and the constant need to either be preparing for, or be in front of a class definitely takes its toll. So one of the most important advice would be to get out (of the class) as much as you can to avoid burnout. Prague is a fantastic city with a very lively expat scene, which makes winding down quite easy. Try to get out and make friends as much as you can, because it’s truly the people you surround yourself with that will make your experience teaching English in Prague an unforgettable one!
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