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Language Link or other entry level opportunities
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Joined: 17 Mar 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kittenshoes wrote:
i actually do already have my TESOL certificate, however the intern experience still appeals to me for the experience alone. the other job offers that i received offered little more salary-wise, but with no reimbursement for airfare/visa and no accommodations.

Do you mean the other Language Link offers that you received didn't offer accommodations and airfare/visa? Or are you referring to offers from other schools/companies? I was under the impression that LL's 'intern' positions AND more 'teacher' positions came with accommodations and airfare reimbursement.

i would have chosen st petersburg if it were up to me, surely. unfortunately, that's an extremely popular program and i've been placed in moscow. i'm trying very hard to warm up to this idea...but it's still kind of scary! like i said, though, i guess i'm not going to russia to be comfortable.

Just curious, did you apply for/express interest in any locations other than Moscow or Petersburg? As I mentioned, I'm most interested in any place other than those cities, so I'm curious. I'm also wondering if they gave you an option to wait for a Petersburg position to open.
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Joined: 17 Mar 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linochka wrote:
I essentially agree with Sasha for the most part, except for how useful the in-house intern training is. It's a month long, and shows you how to teach with the books LL uses. From what my friends who did it tell me, it sounds very similar in structure to the CELTA, and set them up well to start teaching straight away. Of course, a LL certificate means nothing if you ever want to seek further TEFL jobs. However, as you're only going for a year, that wouldn't be an issue for you anyway.

Without disclosing my location, I think the accommodation is very good. I can't vouch for every city, though. Not having a washing machine, for example, seems a thing of the distant past.

Regarding money - While the 'regular' teachers often express our sympathy for the interns on their 20K salary, I have to say that they seem to manage. They know they're not here to make money and eat in restaurants, they're here because they love being in Russia. I don't think I've ever heard them complain about it. Their lifestyles are far from extravagant - while the regular teachers aren't exactly eating black caviar for breakfast, they can at least manage a trip to the ballet or fancy restaurant every so often. Just know that you probably won't return with any savings.

Re: your visa cost, airfare and travel expenses within the city returned, etc, you may have to be insistent when the managers conveniently 'forget', but you'll probably get it. Just know what you're entitled to.

Hours working - the max is 34 academic hours where I am, I think this is standard throughout LL. That's a LOT and you won't feel like doing much if you have anything over 30, believe me. But you'll get your two days off. Hopefully consecutive days, they usually are.

I replied because I feel it's important to present a different voice beyond the obvious disdain here for McSchools. Certainly, many members of this board dislike them due to the lack of focus on academic quality rather than being money-making machines. I agree. It is apparent that there is a distinct lack of understanding of what teaching actually means beyond 'go in that room and do that thing you do.' Your main communication will be regarding punctuality and covering for other teachers when they are sick. That is the main concern.

On a different note, I am by no means saying that it's the best company, but I think it's one of the better McSchools, hence why I've stayed. I get the impression that while others have better salaries, you'd simply be trading one set of problems for another - finding accomm, lack of materials, dodgy visas, being paid by the hour rather than salaried, etc. LL has none of these issues. You just work a heck of a lot. It is also one of the few McSchools that does at least try to have some 'quality control'; there is usually a DOS who regularly observes and you can ask them questions. Ours is helpful.

As you can see, it's not an ideal situation if you're passionate about education. However, for your purpose of coming for a year for the experience of living in Russia, I think it will be enjoyable enough.

Thanks for adding this perspective.

I do definitely have a strong interest in being a good teacher, which I didn't really emphasize or even mention in my original post.
It sounds like my best bet is to get a certification before going to Russia, and that's what I've decided to do.
Other than training, I imagine Language Link's services don't actually <i> prohibit </i> being a good teacher? But perhaps make it a little more difficult?

It just sounds like LL or other large chain schools are a decent entry point into the entire thing. If I do really, really enjoy it and if I want to stay in Russia longer, I'm sure I'll be in a good position to find a less terrible job at the end of my contract. If not, I'll be ready to return home with a somewhat significant Russia experience under my belt.

Anyway, so much mixed feedback! It's hard to know what I should do!

But again, thanks for adding your experience to the thread.
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Joined: 17 Mar 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brunouno wrote:

There are aplenty of companies here that offer a salary package with accommodation. I can think of International house, Windsor and International Educational Center off the top of my head now alone.

I definitely haven't looked into any other companies yet. I'm sort of just beginning my research on this whole idea and I've looked into Language Link first just because it was the first one that I really have heard of. I think I'll spend some more time learning about some of these other schools/companies that offer accommodations.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your response. This forum has already been very helpful.
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teacher X

Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 147
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys.
I have just hit Moscow (this is my 3rd day here) and I've been educated a little about LL and how it works.

There seems to be only one or two 'real' LL schools. The rest are schools which take the LL name and are essentially independent from the main LL.
I don't even know if you can call them franchises since I don't think they need to adhere to any system of teaching.
Basically, they just take the name and little else.

It also appears that many of these LL schools will change company name during the summer and become a different school entirely. I've been told that this is just a way to avoid certain taxes.

So if you work for one LL school, you may have a completely different experience to someone working at an LL school a few miles away since they will likely be owned by completely different people and may well be run in a very different style.

Most of the teachers at my school have been there 3+ years, which is pretty good for this type of school (I've worked in enough McSchools to know the average turnover of staff)
But one colleague has told me that he knows people who work for a different LL school who find it all pretty tedious.

So really, it's luck of the draw I guess.
I have yet to start teaching (I'm going in today for some orientation) so I'll find out soon what kind of school it is. But so far, everyone seems very laid back and friendly. I got a pretty good vibe.

(What I have written here is by no means 100% accurate. It's just the information I have gathered from a few short conversations with staff. So feel free to tell me if I'm wrong)
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Joined: 04 Jan 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're not wrong. Each branch is owned separately, essentially. They pay for the the Language Link name, as it's well-known to students, but the school's director has free reign, pretty much. There is some effort by Moscow to visit each location to 'check' them, but this happens about once a year. They are answerable to the Moscow head branch, though.
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Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Similar deceitful tactics are used by other Maccers. Which is why your happiness and job satisfaction very much depend on which branch you are sentenced, ahem!, sorry... sent to. Very often the local school owner or office manager is a petty tyrant, and not very nice at all... All the recruitment spoof and mission statements become meaningless.
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Joined: 14 Nov 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Kazakhstan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject: A Tefler's lot Reply with quote

Very interesting read. I have to say, is it any wonder teflers are so poorly paid when we have crap schools like this and teachers prepared to take it. I am an authority on crap schools having worked for quite a few in my time.

To all those seeking experience - get a proper CELTA - work for a proper school and leave the LLs and EFs to carry on shafting new teachers.

I currently work in Kazakhstan - have done for 4 years - and recently LL have moved into the town I work in. I'm aware they are a franchise but is a Mr Jensky the director? Anybody know of him?

Good luck all you poor interns.
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Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:17 pm    Post subject: I work for LL Reply with quote

I'm working for a LL branch, going on my second year. The intern years sucks very badly, as the pay is terrible. I was an intern with good observations, and I was observed by someone from "central school" at least once every three months. I got a pay raise after every once of these observations.

Our interns this year are observed at LEAST once a month, sometimes twice. In our center, teachers have set up their own peer review schedule, so that we can watch each other and get ideas / constructively criticize.

Most schools that i've heard of work less than the 30 hours a week that we're contractually obligated to, however in our school, we work a lot. I'm at 33 hours, and yes, it does suck sometimes. I've got a friend in another school who works only 4 days a week, however.

Salary WILL be heavily supplemented by "private" students, who you teach for up to 1500 rubles an hour, outside of school.
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