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Q&A With OnTESOL Graduate Teaching English in Italy

  • 5 min read
  • Italy

Giovanna Cardi has been teaching English in Italy since 2011, and completed the 120-hour TESOL certificate course with OnTESOL in 2014. We asked Giovanna to share a little about her experience as an ESL teacher in Italy in order to help new teachers prepare for the job.

In this Q&A, Giovanna answered everything that new teachers wonder about the job hunting process and she told us how studying for her TESOL certification helped her become a better teacher.

What drove you to teach English in Italy?

My family is Italian and moved to Canada many years ago. I traveled to Torino wanting to discover my roots. Teaching English was a practical way to start working as soon as I landed in Italy, and has now become my full-time job.

Can you describe the process of applying for TESOL jobs?

I researched English schools online and sent my CV via email. The best time to apply for jobs is between mid September and mid October. At the time, I did not have any teaching experience or TESOL certification, so it took me a few weeks to get my first job.

What would you do differently if you had to apply for jobs again?

I would apply for TESOL jobs in person, as I believe many of my emails got lost in cyberspace. Also, when I applied in person I could talk with the school director and get a better sense of what my day would be like at the school.

How did the TESOL course help you improve as a teacher?

The TESOL course definitely helped me organize my lessons in a way that made more sense. I would say my lessons are much more efficient and well-rounded.

I used to follow the textbook, but now the activities are much more interactive and students seem to enjoy more because I use various resources like newspaper articles and songs.

What Type of TESOL Jobs Can People Expect to Find in Italy?

Job opportunities for English teachers in Italy are abundant. Once you work out any potential visa or residence permit issues, you will have no trouble finding work as a teacher, even with little to no experience. Italy has a very diverse TESOL industry and there are many options available, depending on your qualifications and work experience.


The easiest and quickest way to find work is to put an announcement online offering private English lessons. The most popular sites are bakeca.it, kijiji.it, and subito.it. This option is best for those without any experience, as it generally provides immediate results. The going rate is 15€/hour in most areas. Although it is easy to find students this way, it is not guaranteed that you will keep them if you are not a competent teacher.

Pros: you do not need any previous experience, it is not necessary to create a resume, you work on your own schedule, and you don’t have to pay taxes, which begin at 20% in Italy.

Cons: it can be a bit unstable. A student can cancel on you at any time or may stop showing up without warning. It helps to create “package deals” with discounts that the student pays upfront, so you are certain that the course will continue for a certain amount of time and the issue of money is already taken care of.


If you have a bit of experience, you can look for work at a private language school. These schools accept new resumes all year round but generally do not post job ads. For this reason, it is difficult to get a job in Italy unless you get here and apply in person.

If you search for English schools in your area online, you will easily find a list and their emails. Send your CV and a short description of who you are. Better yet, call them or go in person. Some schools are more interested in a potential candidate having teaching experience more so than a TESOL certificate. However, if you have some experience, a TESOL certificate is a huge boost to your resume and some of the better schools do require one.

It is also useful to have a CV in Italian and ideally to speak a bit of Italian. The template for resumes is the same for all of Europe and can be found online. For some interviews, you may have to prepare a sample lesson plan. Each school is different and the freedom they give their teachers varies.

Some schools have a very set method of teaching that all of their teachers must follow and require a mandatory training program. Other schools put a lot of faith in their teachers and allow them to use whatever method they see fit, so long as the students are happy with the course in the end.

The courses offered vary from individual, semi-individual, group, business courses, and exam preparation. Each course is generally offered as a set number of hours (i.e. 30) divided into 1 – 1½ hour lessons a few times a week at a set time. Courses are often offered on an on-demand basis, so it is possible to find work in these schools at all times during the year. You will be given a new contract for each course added.


There is also the possibility of teaching at a private high school or middle school. You can find a list of private schools online for contact information. These jobs require more experience and the hours are more stable. Public schools in Italy are notoriously complicated and finding work is nearly impossible.

Candidates must first qualify for a mandatory training course that is very impacted and some years it is closed altogether to new teachers. There is a very long waiting list of national teachers and a lot of competition, so it is not recommended to go that route. If you are only staying for the summer, there are many English camps for children that always need teachers.

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