Mailbag – Trip To Slovakia, Looking For A Teaching Job In Slovakia

Teaching Question

July 18, 2012

Allan Stevo

A reader wrote to mention a few months back that she was heading to a wedding in Slovakia and to ask advice about finding a school to teach at.  Here’s her note and here’s how I answered.

Hi Allan, Your blog is of particular personal interest as I am considering a move to Slovakia in October, and I’ve also been working in Chicago for the last five years, originally from Wisconsin. So the anxiety of “Oh God, will I love/hate Slovakia?” that has been dancing around in my head has eased a little after reading through your experiences.

Do you have any sage advice on securing a teaching position? I read that you were teaching… any chance that was in Bratislava? I have experience teaching English and Spanish and wanted to start making a few contacts at schools in Bratislava, but not sure where I should head first.

I’m actually flying to Bratislava next Tuesday, then on to Zilina for a good old svadba (wedding). I really hope they carry out the bridal kidnapping tradition. Sounds like one I want to bring back to the States.

Keep up the good work with your Slovakian tales – very interesting reads! And thanks in advance for any advice you’d like to share for another Midwesterner headed to Slovensko.

– A

Dear A.,

Thank you for your awesome note. It’s a pleasure to meet you here online. Thanks for reaching out to me about your job search. I know lots of good schools. Quite a few readers of 52 Weeks in Slovakia have asked me about teaching in Slovakia, but then sort of flaked out after wasting a bunch of my time, which was annoying, so I’m gonna hold out on some of the more detailed stuff until I know you’re serious.

My advice to you is basically this – ask someone, anyone, at the wedding if they know an English teacher and then tell that person that you want them to call that English teacher to see if you can visit the teacher’s class. You’ll get an invitation and a glimpse into a Slovak classroom. You want to be there the whole hour at least, but preferably the whole day. Ask yourself if you can imagine yourself being happy in that classroom or one like it.

Don’t feel like you’re putting anyone out, because the teacher will probably make conversation time with you the focus of the class. The students will get to hear a native speaker up close and the teacher will probably be happy to not have to have had done a lesson prep for that hour. The teacher will likely be grateful to whoever introduced the two of you.

Other than that, I don’t want to spend time offering more specific advice, but I’ll make you this offer – write me 6 months to a year before you 100% want to move to Slovakia and I’ll give you a little more personal attention. When you do write tell me 1. What town you want to teach in (or at least if you want big city or wide open spaces), 2. If you are open to a religious school, 3. Whether you want an apartment provided by the school or to get your own, 4. Do you want a grade school, high school, university, or language school, and 5. If you have a resume made at that time, send that to me too.

I hope you have a great time at that wedding. Thanks again for writing.

Allan

Do any of the readers out there have any advice for foreigners looking for a job teaching in Slovakia?  If teachers, students, or administrators would like to advertise a favorite school in the comments section, please feel free to.  Include a link to that school’s website as well.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com.  He is from Chicago and spends most of his time travelling Europe and writing.  You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com.  If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email.  You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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