Work in Slovakia as an English teacher
Moving to Slovakia to work as an independent english teacher is maybe not the most obvious career choice on your mind. However, if instant fortune isn’t your primary target teaching in Slovakia can offer you a very interesting view on both business and private life in this young nation. And if you are an outdoor enthusiast the flexible work schedule allows plenty of time for trips in the mountainous Slovak countryside.
The Job Market
There is a huge demand for English teachers all over Slovakia and the English language is seen as one of the most important skills in almost every position on the job market. English, being one of the major subjects in secondary school education with a „maturita“ (A level exam) on B2 level (upper intermediate) also means that there is high demand among teenagers. Furthermore, most English speaking programs and films shown on TV channels available in The Slovak Republic are dubbed, so the average Slovak, unless seeking actively, is only exposed to English at work or through music.
The salary varies naturally from region to region with the highest being in Bratislava where you can invoice general 45-min one-to-one lessons up to 20EUR. Teaching groups or special English such as legal English can of course boost your earnings even more. In other regions the prices are a little different with 10-15EUR per 45min lesson.
How to start
If you are an EU-citizen the only thing you need is a „Zivnost“ a simple form of self employment with which you can start invoicing companies. Having filed all the documents (proof of person, police register extract etc.) this takes only three days to be approved. You can of course also work as a regular employee in one of the many Schools.
To work for a school can be a good way to start, it will provide you with students and valuable contacts for the future and it gives you a chance to show yourself and build a reputation on the market. More opportunities will then automatically come by word of mouth. To start on your own might be harder, you need a few months to advertise and find enough students. Working on your own you of course also need to know something about Slovak accounting…
The History of Language Education in Slovakia
Traditionally Russian and German were the most important languages to know in Slovakia. However this changed rapidly after the fall of the Iron curtain and many teachers were simply told „You are a language teacher so you will teach English“ by their headmaster. Therefore it is justified to say that the quality of English teaching has not always been the best. Most of those teachers have retired now and many new teachers have experience from extensive stays overseas. Traditionally the teaching method is strictly book based and many students look for communication based teachers, where of course foreigners have an advantage.
Positives and Negatives Working in Slovakia
Money is of course important wherever you are and Slovakia has one of the lowest price indexes in Europe. Services as restaurants, tourism, massage, beauty are extremely cheap often you can get 5-6 beers to the price of one in any west European country. Your money is worth a lot here. The Slovak people are also very friendly to foreigners and often help you without any thought of reward. On the negative side we have the poor social security system, the mediocre health care and the gigantic differences in income between people, but who cares about this, relaxing with massage and a Zlaty Bazant after an unforgettable day in the High Tatras.