Updated: Apr 23, 2022
What is it like teaching English in Prague? Read this interview with an American teacher, Alexandra, who taught for two years in Prague. She shares how she got started, her experiences while there, and more.
The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?
There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share a story about teaching English in Prague with you.
If you plan to be a traveling teacher, a TESOL certification is a great way to start. I got mine through International Open Academy for just $19! Highly recommend this as a first step in your traveling teacher journey.
This week I am excited to bring you a story about Alexandra’s experience teaching English in Prague! Alexandra and I connected via Instagram years ago and she has lived in amazing places – Czech Republic and Spain! What a dream. Plus she lived in my home city, Washington, DC, for years before becoming a teacher. I’m excited she can share her experience teaching English in Prague with us today.
What inspired you to start teaching?
I was working at a corporate job in Washington, DC, and was starting to feel burnt out after living in the city for nearly a decade. I wanted to have more freedom with my work hours and wanted to do something that I felt really helped people and made an impact. Many people in other countries are yearning to learn English as a second language so they can hopefully gain access to more job opportunities outside of their countries.
How long have you taught and where?
I have been teaching for almost 2 years now, but am taking a break currently during the pandemic to just focus on my blog.
How did you find the opportunity to start teaching English in Prague?
A few ex-pats who lived in my apartment building in Prague approached me with a job opportunity. One of their roommates was moving back to the U.S. and needed to find someone to take her place, and they knew I had just completed my TEFL training and was looking for work. I interviewed the following week and was given the job shortly after that.
Were any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?
No, during my time in the Czech Republic I covered all living expenses since I was there independently and not through a government program. However, the money that I made from teaching part-time was enough for me to cover rent and food and some travel (and I paid a higher rent than most).
Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
Yes! Since I only worked part-time, I had my weekends and many evenings free to travel locally or to take long weekend trips outside of the Czech Republic. I also had holidays off which was also a time I would use to travel around Europe or Africa.
What were interactions with students like?
My experience was very personal as I only taught students one-on-one in the Czech Republic. They were all at varying levels of speaking English, so I had to plan my lessons out accordingly, but each lesson was an hour (sometimes they would pay for an additional hour), and I would either go to their homes or meet them in coffee shops.
What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?
I loved knowing that I was helping people fulfill a personal goal. Some people have to learn English (and really don’t want to, but I get it because learning a new language is hard!), but others *really* want to learn and you can see it in their face and their expressions. These kinds of students really make it worthwhile. I also loved learning lessons from my students about their cultures and their lives. Some loved to give me language lessons from time to time so I could get a taste of my own medicine!
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
Be prepared for anything! You may go into the experience thinking it will go one way, and it won’t go that way at all. Be open to new ideas and new methods, and be prepared to potentially feel culture shock or homesickness. These feelings go away with time, but find activities that will help lessen these feelings. For example, during the day I would go sit in a restaurant or coffee shop that reminded me of home, or I would make plans to go meet someone for drinks at a local bar to stay busy and meet new people. The first few weeks or months may be a challenge, but push through them! It is really rewarding to live abroad and one of the best life experiences you can have.
You can find more specific advice and information on teaching in Prague by checking out Alexandra’s website East Coast Contessa or reaching out to her on Instagram. Find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page!