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Teach English in Italy PDF Print E-mail

If you want to teach English in Italy:

Take a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification course.

Especially if you have no experience teaching ESL/EFL.  The most well-known and widespread are Trinity CertTESOL and  Cambridge CELTA.  Either of these  teacher training programs will  give you a solid starting point: confidence with non-English speaking students and effective teaching techniques learned through hands-on practice.  Trinity and Cambridge are the two most common English exams Italian students take, so it is good to be familiar with their didactic materials. Taking your teacher certification class in Italy is a good option; while you are learning how to teach English in the classroom, you will be learning how to speak Italian outside of it. Which brings us to the next point...

Take Italian lessons. Just find a good school and do it. Ideally, you would be here -  living, eating, breathing (and yes, studying) Italian.

Research your job opportunities:

Private schools are a good way to start if it is your first year and you need experience. The groups are smaller and the schools usually have a well-stocked library of materials available for you to use in the classroom, so you don’t have to run around collecting books and supplies. It also gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with the Italian culture, and the different learning styles of each student. You don't have to worry about controling a class of 25 vivacious 4th graders who are jumping on desks and shouting in provincial dialect. We think of private schools as a buffer in those first years.

Remember this: choose carefully. Visit (not just the internet site) each private school you apply to. Get to know the directors. If the school is good, the owner and staff should speak English (or at least the owner) Talk to other teachers who work there, if possible in private. Ask questions you need to know the answers to: "what is the hourly wage?", "do teachers have contracts?", "how often are they paid?", "are the payments prompt?" etc.

Here is a big BEWARE: some private schools may try to farm you out to the public schools. If you let this happen, they could be making quite a bit of money on your labor. Let them know you are aware of publicly-funded projects (for example, Programma Operativo Nazionale -  Nationally Operative Program)  that enable schools to offer contracts with high compensation. These new EU-funded programs have put private schools in a difficult situation: they can't compete with the hourly rate offered to EFL teachers (up to €60), and they can't compete with the price of the course for students (€0).  For some private schools, it has become more difficult to keep students in the classroom and teachers on staff.  Therefore, if they obtain a state contract, they may send new teachers in to the "jungle" with little experience and a promise of €12/hour. Always ask what kind of project it is and if it is a state-funded objective. They may not tell you straight out, so be prepared to do some research. However, if they say yes, you know you should bargain for at least half of the STATE-offered hourly amount. If they give you a contract to sign, read every word and get a translation if you haven't got a good comprehension of Italian. Be sure to make a copy for yourself!!

Public schools: good option if you have experience and know some Italian*. While effective English teaching doesn’t necessarily require Italian language in the classroom, it certainly helps. You should have a good handle on the basics before going this route. Public schools pay much more than private ones (about €25/hr minimum and much more with P.O.N.), but they always pay out AFTER the required/contracted number of teaching hours has been completed. Public funds move slowly in Italy, so be prepared to wait at least a few months after concluding the project to cash your earnings. Teachers can apply for these jobs directly at elementary and secondary schools; go to their office and ask to see the public announcements and bulletins. Dion't forget to ask around with contacts. In Italy, WHO YOU KNOW is the golden ticket to good jobs. There have been many new developments in public school jobs for native English speakers with some ESL teaching experience. IWe will be updating often on this topic, so watch the Newsflashes for important information.

*(Worth mentioning: if you're not an EU citizen, you will also need a Codice Fiscale and various other red-tape cutters. But more on this in another post)

Juggling private/public jobs is the best solution in the long run, but it can be tricky, so we'll dedicate another post exclusively to this.

Of course, if you are the "can't-work-for-anyone-else" type, you could always hang out a shingle and start spreading the word that you are offering English lessons for a reasonable price.  However, it may be a bit hard to recruit those first students, especially if you don’t have connections. And didn't we just say WHO you know in Italy wins you the deal? Keep in mind you'll have to collect your own materials for each level and age group too, so it is a bit of an up-front cost. Remember to have your papers in order, because if you get caught by the Italian IRS on wheels (Finanziare) for not paying taxes, you get booted from "The Boot".



-3 # Kate 2010-05-17 22:43
Taking the CELTA this fall in Rome (Accademia Britannica?). Hoping the school will help with placement, too, or at least job leads
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