Originally from Uganda

School Teacher in Slovakia

Hamzah's Story

When I came across a job opening for an English teacher at a school in Slovakia, I was very eager to apply. It was not only that I was a teacher in Uganda, but I have a passion: I simply love to teach.

The job interview for the position was not difficult as I could verbally explain my expertise and enthusiasm. The absence of diplomas from Uganda was substituted with a letter of recommendation from the organisation Caritas - my greatest source of support in Slovakia.  In 2015, I began my job as an English language teacher at a school for students aged 12 to 19. Such a new environment brought some cultural shocks and challenges. At first, the students were like ‘What is he going to teach?!’ But now they know me well and I have a good relationship with them.

I learned how to connect with a new set of people, within a new culture and a new education system. I am looking forward to teaching history subjects again, but I am happy to be employed as an English teacher. I would like to make a contribution to the education system here in Slovakia. My advice to other migrants in Slovakia is to believe in themselves and to be patient.

“School teaching methods in Slovakia are more interactive and tailored than in Uganda. Despite the differences, having Hamzah as a member of our team of teachers is definitely in favour of the cultural diversity of our school.” – Mr. Nemcek, Director of the school

Greater support in terms of employer-employee relations and training is needed to facilitate better labour integration of migrants in Slovakia. Employers must be informed and willing to give migrants a chance to prove themselves. Very little is known about migrants in the Slovak labour market - their legal rights, their potential to contribute and the required processes. While for migrants, an orientation course with information on the standards of particular profession would be of great value. I was a teacher and I am a teacher. But you cannot simply go to school and start teaching in Slovakia, because it has a different education system. It would be useful if there would be a programme to help me to address these differences in the classroom.

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