The Czech Republic, a strategically located country in Central Europe, is known for its stable economy that has given rise to favorable market conditions and excellent employment opportunities. Residents enjoy a high standard of living and many expats are able to easily find jobs in a variety of sectors such as finance, trade and hospitality.
English teachers are in high demand in the Czech Republic. Although teaching jobs usually begin in September, there is a requirement to fill such positions all year round.Expats who want to work as English teachers can look for opportunities in public and private schools, universities, colleges, language institutions, and private tutoring. A growing demand for English teachers also exists in business settings.
Before deciding to move abroad and teach English, however, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons. We’ve put together a brief guide to the advantages and disadvantages of teaching English in the Czech Republic.
Plenty of opportunities
Expats can find teaching opportunities in different fields in the Czech Republic. There are public and private schools, where there is a requirement for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and TESOL certification. Having formal teaching experience does give you an advantage over other candidates. There are also private language schools where classes are conducted after hours. Since these classes do not follow the semester schedule, hiring can take place throughout the year. Universities in the Czech Republic begin their academic year in mid-September. Teachers at this level may require higher credentials and prior experience.
Expat teachers, especially in the capital city of Prague, may find that they can enjoy quite a bit of flexibility, since they are allowed to work for different schools and also have freedom with regard to teaching methods.
Affordable and efficient public transport
English teachers often take up more than one job, especially in the initial period. So you may have a schedule that involves teaching classes at a public or private school in the mornings, and private tutoring during the evenings.
The public transport system in the Czech Republic is extensive and inexpensive, making it convenient for you to commute to and from your places of work. The public transport system also strictly follows schedules, so you don’t need to be concerned about being late. You can access the schedules easily online. Investing in an Opencard is a good idea since this enables you to access the buses, subways, trams and ferries at discounted rates. Local taxis are also available at the designated taxi stops.
Czechs may appear distant when you first meet them, but this changes quickly. Most of them are friendly, honest and outgoing. This also makes them excellent students. Many expats remain friends with their students even after a course has ended.
We asked Rebecca Parmentier, Admissions Coordinator at TEFL Worldwide, what other advantages she has noticed when teaching English in the Czech Republic.
“The advantage of being an English teacher in the Czech Republic is the breadth of courses that you can teach. In the six months I’ve been here I’ve taught 4-year-olds, business men, professors, scientists and everyone in between. No matter who you want to teach or how you want to teach it is available in the Czech Republic. Another advantage is the ease of relocation for expatriates. The visa process is fairly straightforward and Non-EU citizens have a much easier time finding jobs than they might in Western Europe”
And what do people find difficult when teaching English? Rebecca elaborates:
“I can’t answer for most people, but what I find the most challenging about teaching English as a foreign language is the schedule. At times I can have a full schedule and be running around the city from one class to the other, and others I can have half of my lessons cancelled in a week. It is frustrating when students cancel because they are on vacations or have a business meeting scheduled that week for the same time as our lesson, because that is 90 mins that you won’t be paid for. However, you keep on working and the next week can always be better.”
Some other disadvantages include:
EU nationals can live in the Czech Republic without any permit. This applies to both temporary and permanent stays. They only need to register with the Border Police within a month of their arrival. This enables them to obtain a EU card, which can be used for purposes such as getting a driver’s license or buying a car. Expats from non-EU countries, on the other hand, are required to have a long-stay visa. They must also furnish various documents along with proof of funds.
Cost of living
Foreigners are likely to find accommodation more expensive because many of the apartments available to them are not rent-controlled. Real estate agents usually charge fees that amount to at least a month’s rent. Expats should be prepared to pay almost three times the actual rent in the first month, as part of this goes towards the estate agent’s fees, another part towards a security deposit, and third towards the actual rent.
The cold winters in the Czech Republic can be a challenge for those who are not used to such a climate. There can be days, and even weeks, without any warm sun. Most residents get around this by making the most of the weather. There are plenty of winter activities to try such as skiing and ice-skating.
Have you taught English as a foreign language? What did you find interesting or challenging? Share your experiences in the comments.