ESL Česká republika a Slovensko do's and don'ts

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ESL Česká republika a Slovensko do's and don'ts

Postby Matthodonín » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:25:58 -0500

Hi my name is Matt. I am a fairly new TEFL/ESL teacher. I have been living and working on the czech/slovak border for 9 weeks now. It has been great but I would like to share some tips so your start to TEFL will be even smoother than mine was.

First some cultutal tips and do's/don'ts in the classroom, out and about and driving.

Secondly the positives and negatives that I have encountered during my first 2 months.

So some do's and don'ts


Make sure you shake hands with every new person that you meet within a business context especially in schools. Most important is the director (what they call the headteacher or principal) and each class teacher especially if they show you around or get you coffee.

Do look people in the eye especially when shaking hands

Shake hands with teachers/director at the end of the school day

It is very important here and natives won't always be the first to offer their hand so make sure that you offer yours.

Do say Dobrý den (good day) or other small greezing in czech which you may have picked up or learnt in class but then leave any czech words you know at the door. They are impressed that you make the effort to communicate with them but you are there as a native speaker so you are not expected to speak more than a couple of words and it could hinder your success if those words spill into your classes.

Plan plan plan and have a physical official lesson plan on the desk for the teacher to see

I don't mean write pages of super detailed notes or min by min account of what you will do. Just make sure for each lesson you have thought about the grade/ability or the class eg grade 5, the topic eg sports and what tense you are using.

Try to only speak in the tenses you habe been given/told to concentrate on.

Grades 1-5 only know the present simple and continuous. Only in grade 6 do they start the past or future.

My biggest tip for myself is SPEAK SLOWER
I really van't emphasise that enough

I still speak too fast with grades 1-6. They are little so don't understand.

You feel really patronising and silly when you talk at the required speed but you need to.

So now on to Don'ts

Don't say any czech words!
No matter what your phillosophy is on this issue don't say any non english words as your trainer, manager, boss or school will tell you off. Even parroting back words that the children say are a no no which is hard because I am just starting to understand czech so it is hard to not repeat stuff they say. They may say brille brille, meaning glasses and I would say 'yes glasses, brille is glasses'.

Having lrarned spanish and italian by the translation method I find the only target language method hard as I am used to the matching one word to the word in the target language but it is a bad habbit.

In fact our best and most praised teacher has the least spoken czech so you may feel knowledge of the local language is needed, it really isn't and can actually be a bad thing.

Don't talk about your life or job back in England/home unless you were a qualified teacher with a pgce. If like me you did a regular degree and then TEFL then they will think of you as unqualified as you don't have a proper teaching licence. Even if you are fully TEFL certified and have a high degree. They only care about degrees in child care and teaching.

So just say you worked as a teacher at home. Teachers want to check your credentials and make sure you are bona fide so just lie if you say for example only just started teaching a week ago.

This is probably the most uncomfortable question you will get asked here so just try to be more diplomatic than I was talking about my garm and factory work in Australia thinking that they would be impressed by my worldliness when actially they were thinking 'so this guy is a farmer/laborer with no teaching experience and he is teaching my kids and probably earning more than me".

Last one

Don't ever park in front of a school engrance even if other cars have. Aleays find the designated spots or park on the road or track near the school.
So yeah I am too honesr sometimes.

So those were a few cultural tips

Now for some positives and difficulties/negatives teaching in this region


People are friendly and have a great sense of humor
Most TEFL teachers and managers are pretty nice fun people

The money here, although it looks low when you consider the price of everything is actually pretty great.

I get paid 1000 euros (or 27000 koruna) per month and my rent is only about 150 (4500 kr) per month so I have about 200 euros to spend on food, drink, going out and activities each week!

I have been able to go away or on a big drinking night every weekend, eat in restaurants a few times a week, get takeaway and soon I am starting payments for my own car. So you can live very comfortably here. I owed my parents £200 plus had to pay off a 200£ overdraft and I still had 100 euros per month after all that and it has been fine even living off half salary.

Attitudes towards teachers is really good in this area
School classes are usualoy pretty well behaved and often perfectly behaved

Classes are really fun
Hodonín is near to vienna, bratislava and only a few hours from poland or hungary or praguel so a great location and transport is cheap.

Alcohol is really cheap here!

Some negatives
You don't always know what you will be doing even the next day. Usualoy you are told about most of your classes by maybe thursday or friday the week before but many times I have been given classes at the last minute.

They don't give you full directions to a new school. You have to just use the sat nav to find the town then hope it is easy to find once in the town. This is being rectified as I speak though.

You dont ever get any syllabus and you are sometimes told the topics for each class a couple of days before which often has you doing lesson plans over the weekend or late on a weekday.

Some schools are really fussy/* about things
If you don't bring worksheets to every single grade/class
If you don't bring flashcards to every class or if you get a tiny bit of grammar wrong etc

The constant analysis/reviews of your lessons. Most of the time there will be at least the class teacher present judging you, sometimes maxbe your manager or sales person or dorector, maybe other teachers and possibly the school director. So be prepared to have every little error pointed out!

My company are good at giving compliments as well as improvements so it is not so bad just stressfull. It will feel like are on constant OFSTED lol

So plan amd try to do good, fun lessons so they don't bitch so much haha.

Wow I didn't kniw I had so much to say but there you go

Hopefully this is of help to people

Comment or message me with any questions, advice or if you want tips.

See ya
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Re: ESL Česká republika a Slovensko do's and don'ts

Postby LevPlauche » Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:25:55 -0500

I taught throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia for a few years. Great place. So much to do and see! Moc se me vsechno libilo! A moc se mi po cechach and slovensku styska!
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Joined: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:06:25 -0500
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