Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Can you help a Newbie with her worries?
Goto page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Russia & C.I.S.
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm amazed to have heard so little about Klebnikov's assassination. 'Godfather of the Kremlin' was largely an attack on Berezovsky right? Ho hum.

I read something very interesting on the exile website, saying how he was Jewish but anti-Semitic or something !? Anyway it didn't paint him in a flattering light, but then again he was a journalist, so.. Oh and btw there's also a really good article on there about Michael Moore and the American Left. Hilarious actually.

I read another book about the Oligarchs, just called 'the Oligarchs' or something (sorry forgot exact title) and it traces the life of seven of these guys, Chubais, Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, .. (the names of the others don't immediately spring to mind). Was very good though. Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bobs12



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:01 am    Post subject: Why Moscow? Reply with quote

Okay, I'm having a lazy day at work. I have the cushiest teaching job I know, so it's easy for me to say what I'm about to say...

Stop working for schools. They rip you off, they rip the students off- it's not good business, it's criminal. They have a high turnover of staff because the teachers aren't being paid enough to justify spending extra time preparing for lessons (your wages drop to around two bucks fifty an hour if you actually do adequate preparation, about one dollar an hour if you have a split shift with travelling time) and the students are paying way too much for group lessons, the teachers usually find out and feel responsible for giving students their money's worth, get sick and go home... and there is a very good question in this forum; how do the schools get away with it?

Answer: because they can, as someone else said. There is a huge pool of potential suckers waiting to come in on the next boat and take any job they can, under any conditions, beleiving they're getting a good wage. I've been there. Also, I knew the wife (a young American lady on a diplomatic passport) of a wealthy Russian husband (friends of the family) and she worked in the Benedict School 'just for fun'. These people are killing this side of the teaching industry for those who are actually trying to make a decent living. She was so tight-fisted that she wanted private Russian lessons from my friend for $4 an hour.

However, if you're a good teacher, you can get a long way by making ultimatums. Endear yourself to your students and they will threaten to vote with their feet if you leave the school. Benedict school pays teachers according to qualifications and experience, but the students pay the same no matter what. The school even tries to JUSTIFY its miserable wages (they put some fools who come and pay the school for a worthless TEFL course into classes for 'experience' and 'pay' them $2 an hour- you can bet the students don't know that)

Why isn't there a teachers union of some description? Probably because most people don't stay long enough to give a damn.[/quote]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chookov



Joined: 18 Jul 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:45 am    Post subject: Can you help a newbie with her worries Reply with quote

I've been working for BKC for a number of years and have just returned from 6 weeks of summer camp, about 100 km from Moscow. Part of my 'normal' job with BKC is as Teacher Rep. so I'm very aware of both teacher and admin problems.

If you're worried about exploitation, then TEFL teaching for a school isn't where you should be! You'll never get rich doing it and if anyone knows of a TEFL teacher's paradise where wages are high, conditions excellent and administration considerate and always fair, please let me know!

BKC's top charging rate for group students is around $7.5 to $8 per ac hour. Classes are only considered payable if there are 5 or more students. At a guess, their overheads are around 200%. For contract teachers this includes visa and registration support (including bribes), providing accommodation ($400 per month plus for a 2 room very basic flat - plus bribes), support staff and building rents (lots - plus bribes) etc. etc. So there are some basics to consider.

They are also a business - in Russia returns tend to be high because the risks are high - the police, government, tax authorities, mafia all exert 'pressures' - so us teachers are at the end of a long pecking order - hence the payment of market rates to contract teachers. Off contract teachers get $13 - $15 per hour from BKC and private students will pay $20 to $100 per hour - the latter is rare. If you want better than BKC and its rivals, British Council is the place to go - currently under investigation by the tax authorities!

After painting such a dismal picture, why teach for BKC?

It's a good start if you want to experience Moscow and Muscovites. You'll be teaching students who usually want to learn - ask any regular state school teacher how wonderful that is - in a society which still values education. You'll be living amongst them, teaching students who live much better than you do. You'll have accommodation provided until you decide to strike out on your own. There'll be documentation support until you come to grips with the Byzantine nature of Russian bureaucracy-even BKC sometimes gives you the run-around - that's why there's a teacher rep - to help both 'sides' sort things out. There will also be teaching support from the DOSes ADOSes and Senior Teachers, as well as seminars every month. Through your colleagues you'll learn to manage your income by sticking to the less pricey clubs, bars, restaurants etc and still have lots of fun. If you make the effort, you can learn the language and make Russian friends - that's what keeps me here, it certainly isn't the money! However, I can save about half of what I earn - usually to go travelling both inside and outside of Russia.

So. it won't be all easy, nor does it need to be a nightmare - rather it can be a real life experience which enables you to experience another facet of human society and increase your teaching and life skills. For me Russia's so fascinating and it's been about 80% positive - and that's pretty good compared to my pevious high school in Australia experience.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Communist Smurf



Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 330
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:38 am    Post subject: Re: Can you help a newbie with her worries Reply with quote

Чувак,

I don't disagree with anything you said. Moscow is a great place to live. But it doesn't change the fact that schools rip people off. The kind of attitute of "I know I'm getting ripped-off, but this is such a great experience" is precisely why schools get away with it.

I probably pay more money in US taxes than you (and your DOS) make. How do you feel about working at BKC now?

Don't take that the wrong way. You seem like a cool чувак and very knowledgeable about Russia, but the only way things can be changed is if teachers to go freelance and stop working for these schools.

CS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mitchellmadisonp



Joined: 12 Oct 2004
Posts: 12
Location: Tennessee, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:57 pm    Post subject: Suggestions Reply with quote

Communist Smurf,

You are definately opinionated on the subject and unable to be persuaded into changing your mind. I am wanting to come teach English in Russia (hopefully Moscow) after the New Year 2005. I have been accepted to BKC for CELTA certification, and was planning on starting there for the security it offers with visas, accommodation, access to people with experience living in Russia, etc. What alternate plan do you suggest for someone wanting to come teach English, without using the large established schools and their resources.

Thanks,
Mac--willing to listen to suggestions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Communist Smurf



Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 330
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitchellmadisonp,

I only know what I know. I'm not an authority or know-it-all on this subject. What I know is that if you're working for a school, you're (almost certainly) getting ripped off. So is nearly any Russian who works for a large organization. Meaning, *Corporate Russia* is getting rich at the middle/lower class's expense.

I *guess* what *I* would do is I would find some way to legitimize my stay here. Work part-time for a school is one idea. Becoming a part-time student is another, cheap, idea. Then make money giving private lessons.

CS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not just that they rip you off. BKC actually states in its advertisement that it will get you a 12 month ME business visa. That means that you will be working illegally. In law, you are not allowed to draw a salary on that visa (don't get me wrong, not attacking that school in particular, most of the schools seem to use this method).

As CS mentions, being a student makes it legal for you to work.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bobs12



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone who has worked in a school in Russia is definitely going to be opinionated, because all the above that is written about the way schools work is true. Just because CS speaks strongly and 'opinionatedly' doesn't make his argument any less valid. Do you see many people on this forum who actually rely on teaching to make a living praising the big schools? Bet you don't. These schools get away with what they're doing because of the afore mentioned 'I'm being treated like a slave but man, what a buzz' factor that keeps wealthy kids coming in their droves every to try their hand at teaching and chatting up Russian girls in bars.

The gap in big schools between money taken and wages paid is sickening, and I don't know many people who stay with teaching in schools for more than two years. Those who do are either drawing on some other source of finances and just teaching for fun (I know one of those), total masochists, or just too dysfunctional to find a better way to earn a living. I'd like to know just how many people living here on a permanent basis and teaching in a school can honestly say that they are happy with their way of life and don't want for anything. Maybe that's an idea for a poll...

As for visas and working illegaly- there's not much you can do if you want the luxury of an ME, and I haven't heard of any problems that couldn't be ironed out with a few crisp 100-rouble notes.

You can come and try going straight into teaching privately, but you'll struggle for a good while before you even begin to break even, and if it's your first time here you'll almost certainly run into problems. I've seen it happen with someone here recently, she was an American schoolteacher, and she was reduced to begging and freeloading. Although I suspect that freeloading was one of her pastimes. Private lessons are potentially fast money but the risk factor is high because one or two students a week missing lessons, or one quitting altogether, leaves a big gap in your finances. Cooperating with other teachers and sharing student contacts is one way to create a safety net for yourself.

Back to the visa- get your own. If the school invites you (invitation is probably not legal anyway) they can scare you with nasty threats about cancelling your visa, etc. If you want an ME visa, it's expensive but should give some peace of mind and the freedom to stick school's contract in the orifice that most of its promises come out of. Not signing a contract in the first place is a better idea.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Russia & C.I.S. All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC