There are plenty of reasons why teaching English in the Czech Republic may be the right step for you! Besides the fact that there is an overwhelming demand for ESL teachers, especially in the enchanting capital of Prague, it is a wonderful and laid-back place to explore Europe from and stay for a year, or even start a new life and career.
All you need to do is trust those who came before you, and you are sure to have an incredible experience teaching English in the Czech Republic. To give you real insight on what it’s like to be an ESL teacher in the Czech Republic, here’s what past teachers had to say in response to the question "What do you love about teaching English in the Czech Republic?”:
1. There is a high demand for English teachers.
The demand for English teachers in Prague, and the rest of the Czech Republic, is high. Students are eager to learn as they rely on their foreign language skills in a country surrounded by speakers of other languages. Finding ESL teaching jobs in the Czech Republic is easy, so you’ll likely be creating your own schedule, which has massive advantages compared to structured working hours typical in other countries and teaching jobs.
Siobhan Hyser, a Trinity CertTESOL course graduate, strongly believes that the demand for English teachers in the Czech Republic has made life abroad much easier, allowing him to create his own hours of work.
I like that I'm not stuck in a cube for eight hours a day staring at a computer screen. It takes some adjustment to get a good schedule, so you're not traveling around so much for classes, but it works out. It's great having so much control over my schedule.
2. It is easy to obtain self-employed status, so you can enjoy life more.
Getting legal in the Czech Republic is connected to some red tape, but way easier and more straight-forward than in most other countries. Though, it’s a good idea to go with a visa company and once it’s done, you’ll be free to work as a freelancer (which is what 90 percent of teachers do in the Czech Republic). Once you obtain self-employed status, you’ll be free to work with as many or as few language schools as you like, without the stress of maintaining full-time work to avoid losing your visa. Andrea Milanović, an ESL teacher from Split, Croatia, says:
The Czech Republic is one of the most ‘low stress’ EU countries. Yeah, you work for your money, but you don't have to give up all your free time just to survive.
3. There are ample opportunities to travel to other parts of Europe.
The Czech Republic is often referred to as “The Heart of Europe,” due to its central location; spectacular sites are only a short bus or train ride away. ESL teachers can explore Berlin, Poland, Paris, or Vienna, even over the weekend! If you are thinking about traveling the world, but are not too sure about the teaching part, consider what TEFL graduate McKenna Marsden’s had to say:
I decided I wanted to travel before I decided I wanted to teach, but just the experience of traveling is made so much richer by teaching. My students are not only okay with telling me about their lives in class, they are basically paying me to make them. It can be hard to get any real window into ordinary life when you move to a new place, and teaching has given me a much more real and authentic connection to the culture here than I could get otherwise.
4. You can enjoy an easy-going lifestyle.
Many ESL teachers who choose to teach in the Czech Republic value the unwound life they are allowed to lead. The Czech Republic is very easy and hassle-free place to live abroad. The “come as you are and be who you are” mentality seems to be the general idea throughout the country, and for many ESL teachers this relaxed atmosphere has made it easier to find what they were looking for in life.
5. There is no limit of cheap, great beer!
Milos Carapic, an ESL teacher from Toronto, Canada, feels like he has become “richer as a person” by teaching English in the Czech Republic. He has also found that “the students are what makes teaching so rewarding and satisfying.“ However, he also adds that Prague, being an affordable and chill city, provides an abundance of some of the finest beer in the world, which can sometimes be almost as satisfying as seeing his students learn a new language.
6. The one-of-a-kind expat life cannot be found anywhere else.
TEFL certified teacher Justin Wisner, from Pennsylvania, swears the best thing about his experience as a teacher in the Czech Republic was the people he met along the way.
The expat community in Prague is unlike the expat communities I've known elsewhere, in that the people want to develop real friendships with people as opposed to friendships of utility, convenience, or necessity.
7. The cost of living is manageable, creating more possibilities.
The cost of living in Prague is extremely low compared to most other European countries. In fact, it is one of the top nine most affordable places to live, and that shows. Any ESL teacher can afford to go out in the evening, and social life happens every night in the streets. Going for dinner doesn’t have to be a super special occasion, instead it is just a nice way to bond with new people or catch up with old friends.
8. Czech people are open-minded and friendly.
The Czech Republic has been called one of the most open-minded countries in the world. Laura Fox, an ESL teacher from Los Olivos, California, especially appreciated the locals while teaching English in the Czech Republic. Some of her students became her close friends and she still values their honest relationships greatly today.
My experience in the Czech Republic has been so much richer because of teaching, and the link it provides me to the local community.
Another TEFL graduate, Gwen Bellinger from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, felt similarly to Laura:
What I liked most about teaching was getting students to open up and learning about life in the Czech Republic. They taught me so much about cultural customs and daily life...My older students talked about life in communism and how it differed. Some of them talked about to nostalgically, others critically, others in a more neutral manner. As a history major, I sometimes felt more like an anthropologist conducting interviews than a teacher.
9. You can wake up to a fairy tale every day.
ESL teacher Jess Black, from Menard, Texas, never gets tired of the magical feeling she is faced with each morning when she wakes up. The castles, the picturesque streets and buildings, and the cobble stoned streets make her feel like she is living in a wonderland. How many people do you know who can say that?
10. You NEED to get there before everyone else!
The beauty and greatness of the Czech Republic is not a well-kept secret, there are people coming and going every day, but it almost seems like this contributes to the magic of the country. For some, the Czech Republic can become home for many years, for others it will just be a station along the way. Every ESL teacher has a very unique experience teaching English in the Czech Republic, no one person seems to live the same life as someone else.
Those who choose to teach English in the Czech Republic never say they regret their decision, and when asked if they would do it again, all of them will answer yes, without any hesitation. So why not join them?
Start your adventure now, sign up for TEFL courses in Prague!
This article was contributed by Oxford TEFL, one of the leading TEFL program providers in the world. Oxford TEFL has training centers in Prague, London, Barcelona, Cadiz, and Kerala, providing aspiring TEFL teachers with a range of cultural and professional opportunities.