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Thread: A couple questions on teaching English in Moscow

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    A couple questions on teaching English in Moscow

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I'm new here. I plan on travelling to Moscow to teach English in a few months. I'm mainly looking to teach individuals and not working for a company. I was wondering if I need a certification such as TESOL or CELTA? I am a native English speaker living in America. Also, would I be able to find students before going over (so I have more financial and job security) or is it better to look when I get there?

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    In my opinion you shouldn't go at all
    Here is why
    1. How is your Russian? As you might guess Russians unlike, for example, Western Europeans don't know spoken English well enough to be able to even guide you with basic directions. If you are not fluent in Russian then it will be hard for you not even find a job but to basically travel from point A to point B on your own.
    2. How do you plan to find those individuals you want to teach? What's your business plan on this? If I would be a Russian that would want to learn English I would search for a special school, reputable school and I would go there. As you may guess people that would want to learn English don't know English, so I'm not sure how you would communicate even if you would have calls from potential clients.
    3. I doubt very much that you could find a job in any school, because I suspect they would require you to be an actual teacher with actual Russian diploma.
    4. Teacher is not a top-paid job in Russia in general and it could be really hard to live on teacher's earnings for a person that would want to start a new life in another country. And Moscow is a very expensive city.

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    There are sites to advertise as a teacher that many people go on to find teachers. As well as by word of mouth. I'm currently learning Russian and hope to learn much more before I go. Many people say that a certification is not needed as long as I am a native English speaker. I'm not interested much in teaching for a school or company, mostly just private/small lessons.

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    ну хорошо, давайте посмотрим какой у вас уровень русского, напишите что-нибудь, например о себе.
    А почему именно Москва? Москва это дорогое место, довольно рисковано ехать туда не имея даже жилья, а без регистрации можно запросто оказаться в полиции. Рынок съемного жилья не очень развит в России, по этому недорого можно найти только у частников, которые скорее всего будут насторожено относиться к иностранцу.

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    я говорю по русский не очень хорошо. I don't know much at the moment. And why would I be arrested? I would definitely make sure I have the correct visa as well as a place to stay. You seem to have a negative attitude towards Moscow lol What you say is very different than what most do

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    я говорю по русский не очень хорошо.
    That answers my first question
    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    I don't know much at the moment. And why would I be arrested? I would definitely make sure I have the correct visa as well as a place to stay.
    Well since you are to make money in Moscow and not to spend it(I mean you are not on vacation) you wouldn't be able to live in a hotel for a long time, you earnings would not cover it, I think. So you would need to rent, renting in Russia is somewhat a problem, especially if you need an affordable place to live.
    Russia also requires you not only to have a visa but also to have a registration at the place of living (a special paper or mark in a Russian passport) that would tell that you actually live at a local address. Hotels provide such paper but if you are to rent a place from a person that person might be reluctant to provide you such document
    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    You seem to have a negative attitude towards Moscow lol What you say is very different than what most do
    Don't get me wrong. Moscow is a beautiful city it is just very expensive and private tutor earnings are not great. Think of it as you would need be able to live in New York city on a salary of a social worker.

    PS: I don't know what most are saying but if any of those most actually started a life in another country then listen to them if they don't have such experience then the value of their opinions should not be very high for you.

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    Dang, a hotel would be way to expensive! I was planning on renting. Where I currently am, $500 a month for 1 room in a shared location (house or apartment) is pretty average. The prices I saw for places in Moscow seem to be the same. Plus, the $30 I see that people charge for teaching is much better than what I make currently. Which is unemployed lol. Hopefully I'll be able to find someone willing to provide those living papers though. How hard is it for someone to do so and what would be their incentive to provide/not provide it?

    EDIT: I realize I'm not going to be making a lot of money, it's mostly for the cultural experience, the fact that I love travelling, and to learn Russian. Also, it is more money than I make here anyways, even if it's not much.

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    I have to agree with a lot of what hddscan said, however, I'm less pessimistic. I do think what you are trying is possible, but it requires a tremendous amount of hard work and luck. The biggest problem is to find someone who would actually hire you. You don't have a certificate, no teaching experience (right?) and you only speak basic Russian, which means that your potential student should already have a rather good command of English in order for the two of you to communicate. If this is really want you want to do, you are prepared for a rather low salary (at least in the beginning) and a lot of paperwork (Russia is a bureaucrat's paradise), go for it, but if I were you, I would at least get a certificate, so that you have at least something to show.

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    I should've added that I do plan on getting a certification before going. I'm just deciding between a TESOL or CELTA. CELTA is by far the better one, no doubt, and price isn't really a problem. The only thing is that the CELTA course ends in mid October and I have been told that August/September is the hiring season. If I have a CELTA, would that help me find students in November?

    Yes, hard work and luck will be needed! I learn quite quickly though, I've only been learning Russian for a month and haven't been spending as much time on it as I should (only 30min to 1 hr a day, not even all days :/ ) but I plan to spend more time on it. Russian will be the 4th language that I learn so I have some experience with learning languages and knowing how long it should take. I think with 3 months of studying, I can speak well enough to get around. I have also found a couple people to skype with that are willing to help me with Russian too so that should really be great! I realize that my ability to speak Russian will directly impact my ability to find students so I am really wanting to improve a ton before I go.

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    Good luck, Daggers....

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    Hello! I too have thought about going to Moscow through teaching English but I have adjusted my plans. I will often write "as I understand it" because I have no experience, only research into the subject.

    Expats have written asking "what good are you going to do for the students?" and they ask because being devoted to teaching is not the same as my teaching a little only to get into the country for my own desire to travel. Russia is not like some East Asian countries, for example, where native English speakers can come, teach a few weeks and then disappear to travel, concentrating on their own desire to travel with the students they are to serve taking second place, if that. I am not saying this is about you personally but this is the situation in many countries. But again, I think in Russia, as they say in the U.S., they 'don't play that!' I think the Russian government takes the reason you are coming to their country seriously.

    I think that is what people are trying to ask: is teaching English just an idea or are you really committed to the job? Also, as I understand it, many Russians know English but need help with Business English and grammar. This fact has made me adjust my thinking also about going to Russia to teach English: in Russia, my students would not be poor school kids like in some countries but professionals or students with education behind them. I have no background in business, I hate grammar! What good can I do them?

    I know you want to go it alone but just for future reference: there are companies that will take your money to 'volunteer' to teach English but check those companies out very carefully. They often provide the experience of short term teaching with the main lure of traveling/visiting the country. Some companies are not really legitimate or honest in their word: examples outside of Russia are companies taking money from people to volunteer to teach 'orphans' when these kids are not really orphans at all. I have been looking into one company, they seem to be proving good, where in exchange for English tutoring, a family will sponsor you and provide a place to stay. I like this company only because they seem very serious about anyone coming to teach actually being devoted to teach. There are fees but they also cover housing once you get there, money you need to spend eventually

    I have also been looking at a school in Moscow, BKC International House; it has been difficult to get independent reviews from former students. But this school seems like it takes preparing the teacher seriously. It does cost money. But they do give you the papers to apply for a business visa, for three months, which does not sound like much but I have read that getting the three year visa is more likely once you have that first visa. They provide housing, that's part of the tuition too. So there is some support, help with the documents you can't get on your own and less worry about where you will live once you get there. They teach both TESOL and CELTA. They have a last class this year October - December; after that, I think classes start again late spring 2016. They also are constantly supervising your progress as a student too: you'll find out if you like teaching and the hard work involved in it: for example, you need to make lesson plans, unless you are somewhere just for conversation with someone to improve their English. But you mentioned Skype: people can go on that or other ways online to just have conversation without a teacher, I would think

    As for the letter of 'invitation' you need: you need it to get the visa. And you should be able to show the letter whenever you are asked, such as customs at the airport. The letter is required even for tourists or if you are staying with a private individual: they have to obtain it for you. I have seen suggestions about ways around this rule but that is not the way I want to go: I want to stay in the country, not get deported or questioned. I think the reason people mention being arrested is that working "under the table" is not allowed: for example, if you are on a tourist visa and are found to be teaching/working, you are breaking the law.

    I understand about picking Moscow, by the way, but that is mostly because I am used to navigating cities. It's also practical because I wouldn't have a car. And the numbers of people wanting English lessons would be greater, as well as schools for training.

    I live in the U.S. and my country's State Department for overseas travel is a good source of information. For example, it is pointed out that some who have made arrangements to teach English are scammed or the situation they find themselves in are not good: not getting paid the rate agreed on for example. So, really, I think following Russia's laws is a protection. Check your country's and Russia's State Department websites, they have cautions: even if you have no interest in working with a company, it benefits you to know these things. And some of their advice may apply: if you arrange to go to a school to learn, there are rules about how long they should keep your passport (they need it because you must register your presence once you arrive in Russia).

    I guess the main thing is that I am one who wants to go to Russia to experience life and meet people and maybe in the past I could have just showed my passport and be on my way. But now there are requirements. Some of the people who have commented, I don't think they mean to be harsh, just realistic: the time seems to be past when you can just show up in Russia and freestyle it. Once you are there, I have heard things get easier: for instance you get the original visa with some hassle but after that it is easier to use that visa to get a three year visa. You probably can find people willing to pay for private lessons but you need to not only get to Russia but be able to stay. Practical advice seems so negative when someone like you has a passion for something but I think people just want you to be safe, not be let down once you get to Russia and enjoy your time there.

    Now, I think I will end this too long comment! Mary
    Last edited by maryo; May 22nd, 2015 at 03:40 PM. Reason: too long as usual

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    How hard is it for someone to do so and what would be their incentive to provide/not provide it?
    The problem is that registration of a foreigner is somewhat long and bureaucratic procedure and almost none of people who would want to rent their flats would want to go through that procedure. And most of them haven't had any previous experience with it. Also such people usually rent for cache, which means they do it unofficially and most likely don't pay taxes from it and they would be reluctant to meet authorities. In other words why go through all these troubles if there are Russians who would want to rent too.
    BTW if you don' have a registration in 7 days after crossing the border - you would be breaking a law.

    In my opinion you should have a place to stay and already prepared before you go. Somebody should be ready to go through all these troubles before you cross the border, listen to Mary, she has good points.

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    Thanks for all those tips! But, maryo, do not go with BKC! I have not gone with them but I have looked up many different companies to possibly go with and BKC are known for not paying, treating their teachers horribly, and a pain to deal with. I would recommend Language Link especially if you have a certification already. I've had experience dealing with them and they wanted to hire me but I backed out at the last minute because I wanted to go independently.

    hddscan, thanks, I'll make sure I find a place willing to provide the registration of living. I looked it up a bit and it seems like it's just called visa registration. Also, do I have to stay at the place I register? In some articles I read, it's implied that if the place I'm renting is not wanting to register me, I can just have a friend register me at their place with the implication that I would be at the place I rented. It wasn't clear though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    hddscan, thanks, I'll make sure I find a place willing to provide the registration of living. I looked it up a bit and it seems like it's just called visa registration.
    This is what you need - Порядок постановки иностранных граждан на учет по месту пребывания и снятие их с учета
    Quote Originally Posted by Daggers View Post
    Also, do I have to stay at the place I register? In some articles I read, it's implied that if the place I'm renting is not wanting to register me, I can just have a friend register me at their place with the implication that I would be at the place I rented. It wasn't clear though.
    Well, by law you should stay at the place of registration, that's the whole purpose of registration
    In reality you could stay in one place and be registered in other but that's kinda illegal, however it is very hard for authorities to prove that, so they usually do not bother.

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    Ah ok! I'll try to find a place that will let me register where I'll be staying. I read elsewhere that if you go through a travel agency, they have people that offer their address while you stay somewhere else so I guess that means it is hard for authorities to prove you aren't living there. But still, I would like to stay where I register.

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