My Story: Teaching English Abroad

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My story


Hi! My name is Marcin. I am the owner and creator of This is my story: no risk, no glory.


English has been my lifelong passion and an avenue of expression since I was seven. That’s when my mum arranged English classes with a private tutor twice a week for me. It was a smart move that definitely made me very confident in my ability to use English in my daily life over the years. It led to my passing of CPE when I was at university studying English linguistics. I graduated with a masters of arts in this subject and I didn’t know what to do next. I was supposed to be a translator but I knew it wasn’t for me. As you can imagine, like millions of other graduates, I had to find a job after university to support myself and start an adult life all on my own.


Teaching English was not on my radar. A uni friend was temporarily working at a language academy teaching Spanish. She recommended me to her boss and I got the job on the spot. A week later I started teaching my first students not knowing how to do it. Over the course of a month, I built my schedule which mostly comprised of individual students and corporate classes. When I was starting the job I seriously thought that I would teach for no more than a year. In the meantime, I wanted to find something better-paid and more stable. How naive of me!


Teaching grew on me very slowly. It was not what I wanted to do in the first place and I had never aspired in any way to become a teacher, let alone an English tutor. I didn’t know how to explain more complex grammar topics and I was afraid that I would literally lose my face. I had to learn quickly how to teach. And so I did through trial and error. Over the course of twelve months, I taught a wide range of students who wanted to pass FCE, CAE, IELTS, prepare for a job interview, start learning from scratch, and improve their business English skills. I learned the ropes by teaching different people with different needs and abilities. Always with a smile on my face and an air of confidence around me. It definitely helped. Fake it until you make it as they say.


Teaching can be a very rewarding profession but at the same time, it can be a huge pain. You surround yourself with all sorts of people all the time which is an advantage. I remember to this day some of my first students. I had a bank manager, a musician, a lawyer, a single mom, just to name a few. Never before had I been given a chance to glimpse into those professions and lifestyles. One of the perks of this job is to have access to many people. The rotation can sometimes be astounding. If you are an introvert like me meeting 20 or so different people every week will surely provide you with enough stimuli from the outside world. If you love people and you can’t live without them it can be a great warm-up to a very sociable weekend. Especially, if you are still in your twenties and going out on weekends is your thing! However, if you are in need of your ‘me time' and it takes you longer to unwind you have to guard against creating an unbalanced work schedule. It can be very draining and even dangerous in the long run!


Four long years passed and I was ready to move on. I did my CELTA certificate and quit my job. Having done my research I headed to south-east Asia, Vietnam to be exact, to look for job opportunities and explore my sense of adventure. I fell in love with the country and the food. The food there is from the other world. You have to try it! I applied to some language academies. Although no one replied I wasn’t sad and desperate. I gave up on looking for a job and focused instead on traveling. In the hindsight, I see it was a good decision. I needed a break to recharge my batteries and simply enjoy my life. I spent several months in the region vising Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, and exploring Vietnam. I loved it. I had a blast. I want to return there once the pandemic is over.


I returned home and was about to start looking for a teaching position in my hometown of Warsaw, Poland. An unexpected twist of fate called Facebook connected me with a friend from primary school. Cutting long story short, Aga was also an English tutor and was working in Madrid, Spain at the time. She showed my resume to her boss and one week later I was sitting on a plane to the capital of Spain anxiously awaiting my job interview. This opportunity was served to me on a silver platter. To top it off, Aga put me up for more than two weeks and told me how to navigate the nightmare of Spanish bureaucracy step by step. Nothing comes close to it! Believe me! So once again, Aga! Thank You from the bottom of my heart.


My Spanish adventure began! The new country, new city, new language, and many other new things shaped my experience in the country of siesta, tapas, bulls, and flamenco. After a few months, I became an ‘autonomo’ which is equivalent to a freelancer, and started making more money. For the very first time in my life, I had a good work-life balance. I taught between 100 and 110 hours per month and was compensated around 1600 Euros a month. The only drawback was the commute to and from work. One year I spent around 3 hours on the metro every single working day. In the early summer, it can be very tiring. It is hot, people sweat and the smells are sometimes less than pleasant. Also, for the very first time in my life, I got pickpocketed and lost my phone. Petty crime is prevalent in Spain! However, all these experiences were balanced out with thousands of great moments with new friends and students. Once again in my life, I had a chance to meet so many wonderful and different people from all walks of life. I taught a lot of corporate classes and Cambridge exams prep classes. Almost all of my students were always eager to help me whenever I had a problem. They explained the Spanish culture and traditions to me, taught me some day-to-day expressions in Spanish (and some really nasty swear words!), and even helped with the bureaucracy. I will never forget one student of mine who started crying uncontrollably when I told her I had to stop teaching her.


After eighteen months in Spain, I went to Australia and New Zealand for a year. It was an amazing, crazy, surprising, challenging, and rewarding adventure of a lifetime. I am so proud of myself. I plucked up the courage to change my life completely yet again in the short period of almost three years. First, it was south-east Asia, then Spain and now Australia. I didn’t teach anything to anyone in Australia so I am not going to write about the year I spent there but It was definitely worth it. As far as teaching goes it is a great point in my resume. I am always asked about it in a job interview. So if you are a non-native teacher of English I would highly recommend going to an English-speaking country for a few months. You will improve your English skills and I bet you will have fun as you will not have a language barrier.


So one year in Australia came to an end very quickly. With a heavy heart and an empty wallet, I left for my home country. I wanted to see my family. Unfortunately four days before my arrival my grandfather had been put into an induced coma and died just a few days after my return home :( Life continued. After several months at home, I returned to Spain again...and then March 2020 came. On the same day, I was made redundant from two out of four of my teaching jobs. I lost 70 % of my schedule. In the next 2 weeks, it was further reduced, and eventually, I was left with 5 hours per week. I was not even able to pay my rent. The Summer of 2020 came, my contract ended and I had to make a choice: stay or go back home. I chose the latter. It was a good decision considering the rates dropped and teaching hours were scarce. One of the downsides of being a non-native English tutor is that in crises like the pandemic/economic crisis teaching positions and teaching hours are first given to the native teachers. That’s just the way it is!


I made a full circle. I started teaching in Poland and I ended up teaching there. I didn’t want ten years of my teaching experience to vanish into thin air. Therefore I decided to start Over the years I had been thinking about starting my own website but life always got in the way (Lame excuse. I know!). So the pandemic helped me make that final step. I have been grateful ever since I made up my mind. Our world is changing so fast as I am writing these words in November of 2021. I simply don’t know how it is going to look like in a few years. I don’t know to what extent teaching is going to change. Are we going to teach online all the time? I hope not. I miss meeting people in a physical classroom or an office space. This website is a present for myself and for you, my students of English. I hope you have found everything you were looking for here. If not, please write to me here and tell me how I can improve this website. Your feedback is more than appreciated!


Last but not least, I want to tell you that teaching is a wonderful and exciting adventure. It’s not for everyone though. It has taught me patience and resilience. No other profession I believe teaches you how to explain things to other people. If you know how to do it well you will be a master of a teacher! What’s more, I truly learned to communicate with other people with different needs and outlooks on life. This is the most important thing I have gained. Teaching is communication. Teaching is preparation. Teaching is flexible. Teaching is an inspiration. Teaching is what you make of it. So don’t be afraid to make the most of it...and if you are a student reading this: If your teacher sucks, change him or her as soon as possible. You don’t have to waste your precious time and hard-earned money on someone who is not giving you their best!



Your English Teacher,




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