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Prague, Czech Republic English Teaching Q& A with Emma Grace Fairchild
Written by: Emma Grace Fairchild
Last Updated: February 19, 2021
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
San Diego, California
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I wanted to live in Europe again because I had such a nice time living in Sweden and had several good friends I wanted to be near.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
I was afraid of what kind of school I would find to work for. I initially only wanted to teach adults. I was also concerned about being able to maneuver through a city when I didn't know the language.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
Everyone was very supportive, especially my parents.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I first had the idea when I saw a flier at my university campus, but realized there were many more options that were less expensive. I ended up choosing ITA because of the job support and alumni community.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course
How did you like the course?
I liked the course, but found it hard to apply concepts to how they would manifest in a classroom. I would do the online program again, but now believe I would have rather done an in-person training. The teacher was always available for questions and some of the tasks were interesting.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
The support from other students when we share resources is the most helpful!
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in the Czech Republic in the city of Prague because of the contacts I had there already. I have a good friend who happens to be Czech that I had lived with while studying abroad, and an American friend who had been teaching there for two years at that point. Knowing that there were people there that I already knew and trusted was a major deciding factor.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I’ve been here one year and am planning on staying another two, or longer.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
I’m working for an English after-school program within a Czech public school that also provides conversation lessons with all of the grades.
During which months does your school typically hire?
I was hired for this job the May before it started, in person. They hired additional teachers in mid-August. I heard about it when I became friends with one of the directors.
Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?
I was already living in Prague and working at a different school when I applied for and accepted this position for the following school year.
How did you interview for this position?
I interviewed in person with both directors, first with a two hour working interview with a group of children, and secondly in more of a typical interview format with the other director asking me questions about my experience.
What kind of visa did you enter on?
Please explain the visa process that you went through.
I hired a company that helps foreigners get their work visa. I was given a file of paperwork to fill out and get signed by different people, for example, my landlord, and paid a flat fee to the company and the Czech Embassy once I applied. I had to travel outside the Czech Republic to apply for the visa and was accepted six weeks later to begin working.
What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
What is the best way to apply?
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work about 30 hours a week between my different clients, and am paid between 250 - 400 Czech koruna ($10-$16 USD) per hour. I am currently not saving because I am taking care of prior debt, but pay off about $150 a month that I could otherwise be saving. Most of my hours are teaching school children between 7 and 14 years old, but I also teach the owner of the business twice a week and have several private clients that are intermediate/advanced adults. Some of my classes are paid for if it is during a public holiday or a cancellation, but otherwise I do not get vacation time.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I've found two of the places I've lived through friends and one through a flatshare Facebook page. I have always had flatmates that are Czech, but now live with another American. It is relatively inexpensive, around $300-400 a month on average, for a flat in a central area.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
There is always something happening in the city, which I love, and it's so easy to get around. The trams run all day and all night, and the metro runs until midnight. I spend my social time at cafes and tea houses, in pubs and cocktail bars, at game/quiz nights and bars, at underground parties and regular concerts. Anything you are interested in, you can find here... I've also swam, practiced yoga, joined running clubs, and gone on city tours. During long weekends or time off of work, it is easy and cheap to travel, either to another country or to the countryside, which I often do with my Czech friends with family homes outside of the city. There is a strong expat community here but also so many locals who speak English that it is very easy to find a social network. Some of my students have become dear friends, as well.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
Cell phone bill (with unlocked iPhone): 500 czk a month ($20 USD)
Rent/utilities: 8000 a month ($320 USD)
Public transportation card: 3,650 a year ($145 USD)
Food/social activities (cafes/bars): 1,500-2500 a month ($60 - $100 USD)
Social and medical taxes: 2,000 a month ($80USD)
Health insurance (emergency only): 6,400 a year ($250 USD)
How would you describe your standard of living?
I live comfortably, and could make decisions to spend less by moving out of the city center or having a smaller apartment. I buy bio/ organic food when possible and drink wine or cocktails instead of beer, which brings up my costs compared to those who buy cheaper food and drink super cheap beer. I also travel around Europe every few weeks to visit friends and have enough to manage all of this carefully.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
I think 18,000-20,000 ($720 - $800 USD) would be the minimum to live comfortably, maybe less if you’re living in an inexpensive flat!
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Do it! Don't be afraid to try. It can be scary and hard sometimes, but it's totally worth it. Also, it takes a lot of resourcefulness- no one will do it for you and you have to be very determined.
A graduate of International TEFL Academy, Emma Grace is a writer living and working as a preschool teacher in Prague. She moved to the Czech Republic three years ago immediately after graduating with a BA in Human Development from CSU San Marcos, and decided to stay. She is now moving to California to use her international experience to start a career in social services… maybe!
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