TEFL teacher Erica Bolger got TEFL qualified with i-to-i and has since opened her own school in Italy. Here, she provides you with all the information you could possibly need to know about how to get a TEFL job in Italy…
So you have just graduated with a TEFL course from i-to-i and are interested in joining the working world in Italy. Here are some things you will need to be aware of before embarking on your new adventures.
1) Which qualifications are valid for working in Italy?
2) Visas and permissions that are needed to work legally in Italy?
3) Contracts of work: what I need to know? 4) Payment: what can I expect to earn?
5) Italian Language: Do I need it? 6) Help if I need it, and where do I find it?
Qualifications for working in Italy are as follows: private English schools in Italy can sometimes require teachers to have a degree and TEFL certification from one of the following recognised organisations: Trinity, Oxford or Cambridge. However, whilst this is advertised, in reality English schools will interview applicants with other TEFL qualifications like the i-to-i 140 hour course due to the high demand and turnover of English teachers in Italy, so apply for all jobs that interest you as you never know.
Visas and Other Documents
If you are not a European citizen, you will require a visa to work in Italy; and all European citizens are required to obtain a Premesso di Sorggiorno if intending to take up work here. To obtain this, you will need to visit your local Questura Office (POLICE STATION) and state your intention for stay. In the case of work, you will need to have a formal offer of work, and you’ll also need to state how you intend to support yourself in Italy until your documentation is processed. Like the majority of jobs, you’ll be paid in arrears (i.e. paid for the work after you have done it), so you’ll need to have enough funds to support yourself for at least two months in Italy.
You won’t need to know Italian to teach English (with all TEFL classes, the best way for your students to learn is for you to speak only in English). However, when getting around on a day-to-day basis, you’re definitely at an advantage if you do speak Italian, and there are three reasons for this:
All applications for documentation such as Premesso sorggiorno etc are done in Italian. Even though some English schools will help you with this, regrettably not all will – some of them will give precedence to applicants who already have their documents in order before they apply.
Due to an absurd law in Italy, English Centre administrators have to be Italian so therefore often do not speak fluent English – quite ridiculous due to the fact that they have access to English mother tongue teachers on a daily basis! However, I have encountered this situation on numerous occasions, and the language barrier for novice teachers can be very daunting
All contracts are written in Italian and it is prudent to read all contracts prior to signing, so a certain knowledge of Italian is required (although you can always ask for a kind Italian English speaker to translate it for you!). It’s also worth to bear in mind that just by having a basic knowledge of Italian, it can be slightly easier when renting a flat and buying food – although Italian is by no means a requirement, and you can always learn it when in-country
Contracts of Work
There are many different types of contracts available in Italy so be sure you get informed before you apply as to what you are being offered, what it includes and exclude – you can find this information on the Agenzia di Entrate website, which is translatable into English. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about what you are being offered. If you don’t understand the offer, take a day to think about it and do your research, before accepting. Don’t ever feel pressured into signing anything.
This is a hard question to answer as contracts differ so widely here in Italy, as do rates of pay. The general average wage for a new teacher 1000EUR, but you’ll likely need to pay rent in addition (although in some instances, schools offer accommodation). You’ll also need to take into account utility bills and food, so you’ll need to budget carefully.
If you are in doubt about any aspect of working in Italy then you are free to email me directly. I have been living and working in Italy for more than 11 years and am an i-to-i graduate, so understand perfectly the challenges you are facing as new teachers here. I am available to offer advice and assistance to any teacher considering a career in Italy – feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you, and good luck with your TEFL career in Italy!