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Thread: Living and teaching English in Russia.

  1. #1
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    Living and teaching English in Russia.

    Greeting's all.

    I left my job as a mechanical engineer in the UK last year with the intention of studying the Russian language full time and gaining qualifications that would allow me to teach English abroad.I have my heart set on Siberia as a destination but there is so much conflicting information on the internet about the best way to do this.

    Some have said that the best way to do this is to travel there and make enquiries at local schools etc and others have said that using a company to place me with a family is the best way to go.I have no interest in making a lot of money.My motivation is furthering my Russian language skills and teaching English.

    If anyone has any suggestions or could point me in the right direction i would greatly appreciate it.

    Michael.

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Black Cat, a former member of the forum, a Lt. Columbo, also from the UK, has a Web Site, not certain how up to date it is, where he posted a lot of information about his experiences as a teacher in Russia.

    This post is called Teaching and Working in Russia

    So if you made it over to Russia or are planning to, you'll probably be wondering about work. Now, if you have been invited by a company and have a work visa, this won't be an issue for you as your whole purpose of visit will be, you guessed it, working. For the vast majority of others who have a visa which is anything but of the work variety, you'll need to find work, although by Russian law, no visa accept a work visa will allow you to do this. So unless you are ready to save up enough to never need to work, you will have to break the law, and there is no way around it, sorry.

    Will you need to be qualified?
    In a word, no. I would only advise paying money to qualify yourself to teach English to foreigners if you really want to pursue it as a career choice. You have to understand, in Moscow and Russia, nobody checks anything. Some companies do ask for a TOFL cert or alike, in which case you can either forge one using print screen and paint, decline the job or use your personality skills to charm them. Plenty of companies will just take you because you are a native speaker because, oh yes, they lie too and they will straight up give you some BS to tell new clients. The fact there are so many unqualified English teachers rocking around Moscow infuriates the little community of expat teachers who actually are legit. Watching their pride swell as they blast all un-qualified teachers from atop their ivory tower provides me with endless amusment and joy.

    What jobs can you do?
    The most common choice would be English teaching (or whatever your native language is) as there are always plenty of people looking to sharpen their linguistic prowess. You can either teach privately and find your own clients or work for a language school. You do need to be careful choosing the language school as some don't always pay you the money they owe you so in this case, recommended language schools are your best bet.


    Teaching rich kids
    To make the most money teaching English, you should focus on rich kids. They can be the most unpleasant to work with, but their parents pay stupid money for lessons and most of the time you'll be playing games or being envious of said child's immense toy collection.
    Another perk may be that the parents take you on a paid holiday with them to ensure the kid gets its English fix abroad.
    Two reliable places to work with rich kids are: the baby club and Mary Poppins (the latter is an agency that will simply recommend jobs for you).


    Teaching for official language schools
    Ok, the official language schools are the proverbial pillars of stability for English (or other language) teaching. They pay less money than other private smaller schools but offer more stability and sometimes can offer visa support and get you an official work permit (a good choice if you like teaching in Moscow).


    Teaching for smaller private schools
    These schools, for the most part, send you around to business centers to teach 90-minute business English lessons and pedal bullshit like you wouldn’t believe. Most of the expat teachers (I used to do this) are borderline retarded and companies stupidly pay through the nose for these lessons. These smaller schools pay a lot more, but sometimes may not have enough work to keep you satisfied or busy, also a lot of them are just run by an American/Brit and his Russian wife who are playing at business. Sometimes they do a good job and pay, other times they might not.
    I personally stopped doing this because you waste a lot of time traveling to different business centers and the moron who ran the "school" would continuously interfere and try to tell me what to teach groups, because they apparently knew best, despite not even seeing the group I would be working with.


    Teaching private clients
    This is what I do at the moment. You decide your own rates and do things on your terms. Stability can be an issue as people can piss you around, cancel last minute and pull other surprises on you. Your success here will largely depend on your clients and how committed they are. You can find clients by placing ads on expat.ru or redtape.ru or even take out a small ad in the Moscow Times.


    Translating and editing work
    Ok, this can be hit or miss, but generally, to find this type of work, again, hit the forums on expat and redtape, they have yet to fail me. For translation the standard page volume is considered 1800 symbols including spaces and I personally charge 500-550 roubles. If you were to try this for a translation agency, they would offer a lot less, something like 300 (and this is in Moscow). As for editing, if it doesn’t make you go insane from boredom, you can find a lot of work with zero qualifications but don't expect to be paid a lot for it.
    Sometimes big companies may invite you for an interview and offer you an official position. The money for translation will never be amazing, but sometimes they have perks like free medical insurance. The way some companies treat freelancers can be annoying an unprofessional, but I’ll go into that in another post dealing with working with Russians.


    Paying tax
    This is one thing you won’t be doing. Normally a Russian company will officially say that the work you do is done by one of their official employees, this way, you stay of the radar and some sort of tax is paid, but not by you. I seriously doubt anything will ever happen, there is no physical record of the work you have done.


    Wages and bank account
    You will be paid in cash if you are an unofficial worker. That’s it. If you decide to get yourself a Russian bank account, be careful what money goes into it. Foreign bank accounts are monitored by valyutnii kontrol (валютный контроль). So, if you have a student visa and they start seeing cash appear there, you're going to get in trouble so be smart. If you are translating and a client needs to send the money to a Russian bank account, find a trusted Russian you know who will receive the money and give it to you.

    Don’t sweat finding work, it is very easy and can actually make you some really good money. Russian companies, even large ones, will be more than happy to employ you illegally.
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    That's fantastic rockzmom!

    I greatly appreciate the time you took digging that out for me.

    All the best.

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    The most common choice would be English teaching (or whatever your native language is)
    Not any language. Only English can give such results.

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    You can use repetitors.info if you want to find private lessons in Russia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Not any language. Only English can give such results.
    True, there's more demand for English, and it's harder to find a job for non-English native speakers. But since there are relatively few of them, language schools often charge more for learning languages other than English, and these people are paid well, if they manage to find an employer.

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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I will have a look at that Marcus as i really want to improve my Russian.
    My Russian teacher here in England was quite open in saying that the only way i was going to improve rapidly was to be surrounded by the language as speaking is definetely my weakest skill at the moment.

    All the best.

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    I live in Siberia and I want to say you can make a good money here. While average wage of the teachers is $400-500 per month, you can get much more, but if you work for yourself of course. Goverment don't give a shit for education no matter how good you are. Once a teacher came to us from Australia. He takes $9 per hour from a person and works in group with 10 persons. So, 9*10 = $90 per hour! He can work only one hour per day and 20 days in a month and still gets more than most people 90*20 = $1800/month. Works only for English teachers of course, you can be Nobel prize winner in physics but you cannot make money as much as an English teacher, they are in a great demand especially in the small towns with less 100K inhabitants.
    English as a Second Language by Jeff McQuillan and Lucy Tse.

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    Thanks for the reply delog.It's nice to hear from someone who lives in Siberia.

    I would much rather work in a small community than a big city to be honest.Learning Russian and teaching English is my motivation for wanting to go to Russia.I'd quite happily teach for free as long as i had a roof over my head and my language skills were improving.

    At the moment i just have to decide upon the best way to get started.

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Sorry, I completely forgot about taxes and rents. So don't be very excited about what I said early. It needs more calculations. These are very rough expenses you'll face with:

    $200 - food
    $400 - roof over your head
    $30 - public utilities
    $30 - public transport
    $500 - "office" room for lectures
    Total: $1160 per month.

    And I know nothing about taxes of your work. Normally we get paid without knowing how much money they take away. It's about ~50% I guess.
    English as a Second Language by Jeff McQuillan and Lucy Tse.

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    Thanks for the info Delog.
    I've got about two months to decide what i'm going to do and i definitely need to look into the financial side a lot more.

    In the last few weeks i've been more focused on whether i sign up to a company for a placement or contact places directly.I must consider all thing's as you point out.

    Back to digging on the internet.

    All the best.

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    Hi,
    I graduated in modern languages over the summer and I'm going to start my TESOL course quite soon. Do you know if it is possible to begin the application process for teaching in Russia once I have started the course? I am British and I have read about the full process needing to take 2-3 months.

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    Увлечённый спикер genuinefarmgirl's Avatar
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    When I was looking at taking a course to get my TESOL certification, I looked seriously into Language Corps. Here is their website. Their training schools at located in the county that you desire to teach in and the one for Russia is in St. Petersburg. Check out the info they have. They say, "Since there are many openings in St. Petersburg for newly qualified teachers, most participants have secured teaching positions before the end of the four-week program." I personally, felt that I needed to have a better grasp of the Russian language first, so that is what I am working on right now!
    Here is also some more info - good articles to read:
    Teaching English in Russia - An Easy Way to Settle for a Long-Term | waytorussia.net page
    Teach English in Russia: Living in Russia

    If you do get to teaching English in Russia, I'd be interested knowing how it goes!
    Good luck!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuinefarmgirl View Post
    When I was looking at taking a course to get my TESOL certification, I looked seriously into Language Corps. Here is their website. Their training schools at located in the county that you desire to teach in and the one for Russia is in St. Petersburg. Check out the info they have. They say, "Since there are many openings in St. Petersburg for newly qualified teachers, most participants have secured teaching positions before the end of the four-week program." I personally, felt that I needed to have a better grasp of the Russian language first, so that is what I am working on right now!
    Here is also some more info - good articles to read:
    Teaching English in Russia - An Easy Way to Settle for a Long-Term | waytorussia.net page
    Teach English in Russia: Living in Russia

    If you do get to teaching English in Russia, I'd be interested knowing how it goes!
    Good luck!
    Hey, weren't you actually going to Ukraine with your church? Did you do it, or did you postpone it?
    Nice to hear that you took up Russian!

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