Everything you need to know about teaching English in the Czech Republic

 

There is a wide variety of work available to qualified teachers of English in the Czech Republic, teaching in either the cities or smaller towns, and this article deals primarily with what to expect if you choose to teach English in the major urban centers.

Czech Republic flag

Where is the Czech Republic?

The Czech Republic is nestled bang center in the heart of Europe and has – since its Velvet Revolution in 1989 – been a magnet for teachers of English from around the world. Known worldwide for its cultural masterpiece of a capital city, Prague, this small country is also famous for its writers and musicians, athletes and politicians, and of course for the wonderful beer which flows abundantly in this Land of Castles. Travel outside of the capital, and you’ll soon discover a countryside often feeling somewhat lost in time. 

The Czech Republic is a very teacher-friendly location and the only requirement for teaching English here is that you hold an international TEFL certificate

Having a college degree will of course raise your teacher profile, but for a country still obsessed with the Austro-Hungarian custom of overly giving credence to titles, the Czechs ironically don’t really seem that bothered if you are university educated or not. 

The teaching salary in the Czech Republic is pretty much the same wherever you want to teach in the country, so this article doesn’t specify the salaries or hourly rates for each of the cities listed below. The vast majority of English teachers in the Czech Republic choose either to teach for private language schools, or find private students, or a combination of the two, and you can expect to be earning between US$15 – US$20 per hour. Should you decide to take a teaching position at a state school, then expect the workload to treble and the salary to be unattractive to say the least. Things have gradually improved over the years, but an experienced state school teacher still only earns roughly US$1,200 per month. 

It is possible to earn much more than the average private language school teacher’s salary by fully going it alone and we have received reports of some astute, hard-working teachers earning up to US$50 per hour by charging each student around US$3 and accepting a maximum of 16 students onto each course. 

Work is available year-round but try to avoid coming in August, when the whole of the country seems to have fled en masse to the Croatian coastline. Czechs are very casual dressers so no dress code per se. 

Teaching in Prague

There must be as many language schools in Prague as there are church spires and it is incredibly easy to find work in the capital. On the other hand, there are just as many English teachers, so this is the main reason for the plateau in teacher’s salaries. Salaries here haven’t really budged that much in the past 10 years, but given the low cost of living – as long as you don’t frequent the overpriced tourist areas – you will do just fine. You might not get rich quick, but you’ll earn enough to live well and travel well if you put the hours in.

Prague city centre

If you are coming from another EU country, you are not required to obtain a work permit to teach English in the Czech Republic. However, we do recommend obtaining a business license – known locally as a Zivnostensky List. This license will enable you to legally set up shop here as a freelancer and means that you can freely begin teaching English to companies and individuals who will more than often want to be issued with a receipt for money paid to you for your lessons. You can teach privately without getting the license, but this means that you will be limiting your market and will essentially be working illegally. 

When teaching for a private language school, you can expect to be taxed around 15-20% on what you earn and if teaching on a business license, you only begin paying tax after a certain amount and you can also deduct costs from your earnings. 

For non-EU citizens coming to teach, the Czech Republic is a part of the Schengen group of countries and you will receive an initial 90-day tourist visa which becomes active from your first day of arrival. This is more than enough time to then find teaching work and get your work visa processed. Again, we also recommend applying for a Zivnostensky List. 

At tefl online pro we help all of our graduates with visa-related info, so if you are a graduate of our international TEFL certification program and need more information on this then you know that you are very welcome to reach out to us and we will help you through the process. 

It is also worth mentioning here that while it is possible to take an Onsite TEFL course in Prague before you start the hunt for work, we don’t recommend this path. You will need the full three months to arrange your work permit, and by taking an onsite course in the city, you eat into the first month of your 90-day limit. Yes, we do run Online and Combined international TEFL courses and yes, we are biased in the online versus onsite TEFL debate, but it logically stands to reason that in the first few months of your arrival that you will need all the free time you can lay your future teaching English hands on to get all your ducks in a row.

Brno city centre

Teaching in Brno

Brno is sometimes described as being the Manchester of the Czech Republic and very often plays second fiddle to Prague. Nonetheless, as the Czech Republic’s second largest city, it has a lot to offer and is a true student city. The capital of the Moravian region, it is located in the sunniest region of the Czech Republic and a relative stone’s throw from the ripened vineyards of the south and undulating mountains to its east. Brno has its fair share of teaching work and the bonus is the seemingly lack of English teachers around.

In the Czech Republic most teaching work involves teaching adults and this generally falls into teaching either General English or Business English, and either teaching groups or individuals. 

Czechs are quite a laidback bunch but they do have a persistent tendency to want to focus heavily on grammar. We recommend that you divide your classes up into teaching grammar and teaching conversation so that you have the opportunity of introducing games and other resources into the classroom while your students will feel confidently satisfied having had their grammar fix. 

The Czech language is notoriously difficult to master and it is a grammar minefield for anyone attempting to do so, so it’s understood why Czechs often project this difficulty onto their English language learning.

Teaching in Plzen

Plzen: home to the world famous Pilsner beer, original home of the Skoda automobile industry and a city rich in Renaissance and Romanesque architecture. Despite not having as many schools as Prague or Brno, this beautiful city in the west of the country still offers lots of opportunities for English teachers, and because of the dearth of English teachers hanging around it is a simple process of finding teaching work. This is the city on this list where you will be considered a rarity among the locals and given an extra warm welcome.

Row of beers in Plzen, Czech Republic

Compared to other countries in the region, teaching English in the Czech Republic provides you with a lot of personal freedom. Many schools may have a certain text book which they follow, but you will usually enjoy the flexibility of being able to set your own syllabus if you so choose. 

The laws of the land are quite liberal too and one good example of this is the freedom of being able to grab a sleeping bag and tent and go out into the countryside and wild camp (not in the national parks though please.) 

On another note, Czechs are sometimes dissed because people assume they are grouchy simply because they tend not to smile a lot, and while it’s true that many people don’t smile a lot, when you really get to know Czechs they are mostly fun-loving and very hospitable. 

Ostrava city centre

Teaching in Ostrava

The teaching scene in Ostrava is almost a mirror reflection of teaching in Brno: enough work for the teachers who are around, and a city where there aren’t so many teachers that it feels overrun and at the same time not making you feel like you’re the only teacher in town. Ostrava used to be the industrial heartland of the country when it was joined at the hip to Slovakia. And after years of recession, it has emerged as a city bent on reinventing itself as a cultural hotspot. The Colours of Ostrava music festival is a fine example of this.

While it is possible to apply for teaching English jobs from abroad, there is absolutely little reason to do so. There are just so many teaching opportunities in the Czech Republic that all you need to do is turn up and start your search when here. Besides, schools are often skeptical of teachers applying from abroad because they like to meet you in person and receive the assurance that you are in the country before spending their time starting the application process. 

A typical scenario in finding a teaching position is contacting the school, being invited for an interview, teaching a demo lesson and then being offered work. As with a lot of locations, you can expect to start off with just a few hours per week for the first month and then if the school and students are satisfied, you will be provided with full-time teaching hours. In fact many teachers find it difficult to say no to work and end up with crazy schedules because there is just so much work available. 

Teaching in Ceske Budejovice

In the south of the Czech region of Bohemia, there can be found the enchanting town of Cesky Krumlov and its picturesque surrounding countryside, and Ceske Budejovice is the commercial capital of this region. Similarly like Plzen, there is a healthy equation here of teacher to school ratio but unlike Plzen, Ceske Budejovice receives far more tourist numbers and this is reflected in its much more culturally diverse visitors. Plus, it’s only a 45-minute drive to the Austrian border when you have that Sacher Torte craving.

Cesky Krumlov

Read more Teaching English Abroad Country Specifics articles on the tefl online pro Blog

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