So, you’ve finished your TEFL course and now you’re a fully qualified EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. It’s finally time to kick-start your teaching career in this stunning European city! That is if you’ve decided to make Prague your home for this new chapter of your life. During the course, you would have learned that there are countless options for EFL teachers. Some of these include teaching post-secondary school students, in-company courses, young learners, public courses (individual and groups), private students and all either online or in-person. Most TEFL graduates have a good feeling about the direction they’d like to take. So, as you gather your necessary papers, such as the trade license, a resume and your brand new TEFL certificate, you begin to search for the perfect job for you. Here’s what I’ve learned about the EFL job hunt in Prague in the last six months.
After completing TEFL, I took the three-day Young Learners course with TEFL Worldwide to further expand my options, which is something I would absolutely recommend. Czech kindergartens, primary and secondary schools have a never-ending demand for EFL teachers. Especially in the big cities. So, if this is your desired direction of an EFL teaching career, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to fear! Prague is a diverse international city, located in the heart of Europe where English is viewed as a second language. This means that English native speakers and EFL teachers are highly sought-after, as a high level of English is becoming a must in this part of the world.
When I finished the TEFL course in July 2020, I only knew one thing for sure, I wanted to live in Prague. Once I’d collected all my paperwork, which was surprisingly easy due to the enormous help that the course offers, I had to learn how to find the right job for me. The job guidance from TEFL Worldwide helped me figure out what suited me most. In my first year of teaching, I wanted to focus on teaching young adults, in-company courses and private students, which still left me with countless options. I had enjoyed teaching students of most ages but decided against teaching young learners. Though it is something I would definitely consider if I ever did ‘teach and travel’ in other places, in Prague, teaching adults is what’s right for me.
I was looking for work at the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year. Usually August and September are good months for a job hunt I was told, as language schools are filling their courses with new students and taking on new teachers. During my job search, teaching was mostly done in person, however, due to the previous Covid-19 lockdowns some language schools were still running many courses online. I was lucky to be offered a position with TEFL Worldwide’s language school, Spěváček. One of Prague’s largest language schools which offers all of the courses I’ve listed above and more. This was when I learned about post-secondary courses.
Generally, post-secondary students are between the ages of 18 and 21. Many colleges require a minimum level of English at the upper-intermediate level. The Czech final high school examination “maturita” requires an intermediate level, which means that in order to achieve a place in some universities, students need to take a gap year to focus on improving their English. Others use this opportunity to have a productive year while deciding what they want to do next. I had accepted the offer from Spěváček and allocated three mornings of my week to post-secondary courses, which added up to nine hours a week.
Of course, I was not done searching for more students. I decided to try finding several in-company and public individual courses. After I had done some research, I decided to apply for a position with another language school, located in the Old Town Square. Less than a day after I had sent the school my resume, I received an invitation for a Skype interview. You will find that most schools like to conduct online interviews during this time. Thanks to TEFL Worldwide, I was also prepared to carry out a demo lesson for the interviewer. In no more than three days, I was officially hired by the company. This allowed me to have a wider selection of in-company courses to choose from, as these courses are the school’s forte. I’ve been teaching in extremely welcoming and pleasant places for this school right from the start. Czech Radio is one of my favourite companies. An architecturally impressive building, with even more intriguing and inspiring employees, who are now my students. I’ve even caught glimpse of a few Czech celebrities when I came to teach my lessons! You never know where teaching can take you.
Some of the best options for ESL teachers are private students. Keep in mind that, should you choose private teaching, all responsibilities fall on you. These include organizing and filling up your own schedule, setting a cancellation policy and an hourly rate, as well as the bureaucratic side of working for yourself, such as sorting your tax, social welfare and medical insurance. As a new teacher with little to no contacts in the city, reaching a full schedule with private students can be tricky, possibly a little overwhelming, but not impossible. Patience is key, building a brand new contact list takes time. I managed to find a small handful of private students, but I do believe that with some extra effort, I will find more in the future.
To conclude, I’d like to leave you with a little piece of friendly advice from a fellow TEFLer. First, there’s no need to panic about finding work after completing your course. Many of us EFL teachers love to travel and when we do, we leave job openings behind us. It’s a never-ending cycle. Second, the TEFL Worldwide community provides an extremely welcoming and supportive environment, where you’ll never be left to your own devices. Finally, if all else fails there is a whole world of online teaching to discover! Our graduates are always happy to share their tips.