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EF Moscow
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Smerdyak



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To bring this conversation back to its original purpose--I've also accepted a position in EF Moscow for January while I understand the 65,000 rb. disappears really fast, it's enough to live decently but not well.

I considered BKC but I don't particularly trust school accommodations or reduced stipends. The big disadvantage of the school providing the accommodations is that you basically become an indentured servant of the school. In my work elsewhere I've definitely seen schools threaten to evict when a teacher does something they don't like, such as trying to hold them to the terms of the contract.

What I've heard recently about EF Moscow is that it's the classic Mcschool bullshit, but that they can get you a visa and residency permit and the guaranteed hours and pay usually come approximately when they're supposed to. My thinking is that I can work a 9 month contract and I will either succeed in hustling my way to better business, or I will fail and still have gotten a mandatory refresher Russian course and a bit more CV padding. I lived in Ukraine for a few years and I'm very familiar with the way Russians usually do business, so I'm at least prepared for that...
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I don't know what expats in Moscow spend their money on.

Are you all shopping at Azbuka Vkusa?

I'm living pretty well here. My accom' is paid for by my school. It's nothing special, but I've lived in worse apartments *cough*Tokyo*cough* So it's fine for me.

I manage to save a fair amount and if I were to cut out my alcoholism I would easily be able to save a good 25,000 per month. I eat well, enough to result in me getting a little fat. My salary is piss poor, but clearly it's enough.

I wonder what life style everyone else has if they are 'barely' surviving.

My flatmate works like a dog and must be earning near twice as much as me. But he will blow 10,000 on a single night out, so I can see how easy it is for expats to burn through money here.

I guess it's no different to when I lived in Shanghai. I had cut my expenses down to 50yuan per day (250rub) which is more than enough to live on in China, whereas my flatmate was shopping in all the expat supermarkets and was living on 150yuan per day (800rub).

It really depends on what you want from life. If you want your expensive import BBQ sauce then you have to pay for it. If you're happy to make your own BBQ sauce out of local ingredients then you can live pretty damn cheap. Hmm...I want some BBQ chicken now...
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kidTEFL



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have worked for EF before.

It's true, they do make everything legal for you, pay on time and give you hours (they have noooo problem finding you hours)

I would recommend anyone considering signing up with them to find your OWN accommodation. It can be easily done. Just use the internet and your common sense. Your rent plays a big part of how you will live for the rest of the month.

Personally, I lived pretty comfortably. I was never short of cash, I never cooked (thanks to the many many business lunches near where I worked) went out every other weekend and I managed to save a bit as well. I would like to point out, I didn't need to buy clothes, electronics or anything but food and drink while I was there. It would make no sense to waste money on the highly-priced-poor-quality clothing there. BUY BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

The only problem was, the workload. I often had a full-time schedule with dodgy hours and not the same level. This means if you don't live near the school you can find yourself pretty much living at the school because it'll waste to much time going home. Also, teaching from 10 different books isn't too fun.

EF - use their own in-house materials which for an experienced teacher could drive you insane. As you become more experienced and want to spread your wings, you might find the only way would be to leave. It's a shame EF use their own books. It really can become depressing at times.

Would I recommend working for them? Well, when I was there, there were a few guys who had worked there for 5, 7 and 10 years. Clearly something must be alright to stay for that long. OR they could be brain dead? Each school is of course different. If you get a good school with an understanding DOS who knows how to block lessons, good co-teachers and can have some banter with your students without anyone getting offended, then I think it would be a good place to start your TEFL career.

Just one another note about the schools. Recently, I believe, they are changing all schools in Moscow to either a KIDS and TEENS school or an ADULT-only-smart school. I wish I had the choice to only work with adults when I was there! However, I think the smart schools don't use books and follow set lesson plans which are provided for you. I guess this could lead to strict creative freedom and becoming more of a robot.

I'd love to know what the smart schools are like. Anyone working for them?
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ewww....schools which ONLY deal with kids / teens or adults.
I personally like having variety.

I'm also waiting for the day to come when companies pay more to teachers who are willing to teach kids. I work for a company on the weekend and out of the 15 teachers I have met, only myself and one other are willing to teach kids. The admin are terrified of me leaving or getting sick as they would simply have to close all kids classes without me.

I should be getting paid DOUBLE!!!!!!!! Evil or Very Mad Especially considering the little *children born out of wedlock* I have to teach.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time to capitialise...?
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a job offer with EF as well, in saint petersburg. It looks OK in terms of pay, flight reimbursement, etc.

The only thing I'm worried about is the teaching hours, they said 30-40 contact hours per week. Being aware that it's a lot, they said it's mostly powerpoint slides and the lessons don't take very much preparation.

I'm also worried about being prepared. I have 1 year experience teaching in Japan, as a language assistant (team teaching). That was a few years ago and I'm a bit rusty…I guess I don't want to get thrown into a job I'm not prepared for, since they said they normally look for people with 2 years teaching experience.

It seems OK, I kind of want a job where I can learn quite a bit and have steady hours at one school, and they seem fairly reputable.

Any comments appreciated.
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coolguy123 wrote:

The only thing I'm worried about is the teaching hours, they said 30-40 contact hours per week. Being aware that it's a lot, they said it's mostly powerpoint slides and the lessons don't take very much preparation.


Clearly said by an administrator who has no concept of the effort which goes into teaching. Whenever a Russian admin tells me "It'll be easy, you wont need to prepare at all" warning alarms go off.
One admin told me that teaching kids is easy, you just need to play with them. My forehead gained a few more frown lines after hearing her say that.

Will you be the one making the powerpoint slides? It seems an odd method of teaching. How much are they willing to pay you for 40 hour weeks? That's a heavy work load unless they're willing to pay you well (which I suspect they're not)
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's 65,000 rubles per month, without housing, and 3,500 rubles a month airfare allowance, visa stuff paid for, etc.

The teaching methods sound OK, and they say they like to use a student-centered approach.

What they said is the students have already gone through lessons online and then we are doing a lesson with them as sort of an overview and such.

We can use any teaching methods we like and the slides are sort of a guideline. (hence, preparation is needed if that's the case)

They also said the schools request teachers with 2+ years of experience, so I'm a little worried about being put in there and not being exactly what they expect (however I suppose given the opportunity it could be good as I'd get experience in teaching and figuring the teaching out, etc.)

I just got the CELTA, and have a year of team teaching, as I said, a few year ago. I'm definitely a bit rusty, and it came through in the CELTA (I've been doing much different work since I was an ALT previously).
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coolguy123 wrote:
It's 65,000 rubles per month, without housing, and 3,500 rubles a month airfare allowance, visa stuff paid for, etc.



Well I'm on about the same salary as you (less money, but apartment and bills are paid for). But I am only contracted for 27 academic hours and it usually works out around 20 per week (with cancellations).

So you'd essentially be working double my hours for the same pay.

The 40 hours thing bothers me the most about their offer. This will leave you with next to no time to pick up your own privates.

Of course, it's entirely up to you. I just think that they're asking a lot of hours for the pay.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what they said was that it's 36 contact hours per week maximum. Some lessons 50 minutes others 2-3 hours. However the actual schedule depends on the individual teacher's schedule.

They also said that some of the lessons are pre-planned or test prep so there is not as much preparation required for those lessons.

Any other tips? Sasha seems to indicate that she does not believe this school has a good reputation (Education First/ English First).

However, I've heard bad things about other schools in the past and those schools have actually been pretty good. Another big chain people complain about (Hess) however they do guarantee hours, are a large company, and have lots of resources. They will also hire anybody, which is good in the sense that it can help you get your foot in the door and get some good experience (I don't have any recent teaching experience).
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gaglen



Joined: 27 Apr 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Russia

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught for EF in Siberia for 2 years, up until May this year.

36 hours there meant academic hours and their academic hour is 40 minutes. Very Young Learner classes (3-6 year-olds) lasted 60 real minutes, that's 1.5 EF hours, YL classes lasted from 80 minutes to 100 minutes (2-2.5 EF hours), and adult classes lasted 2 real hours, 3 EF hours.

All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, which you are expected to use as much as possible since they're expensive things and they need to warrant having them. That means PowerPoint. The company-made presentations leave a lot to be desired - most of them were completely useless to be honest - so you will end up having to make your own. It takes a lot of time, but once you have your presentation on, say the present perfect, made you can re-use it as necessary. I made a lot of generic exercises, half-sentences and the likes, so I could use the same presentation for practicing several different grammar points.

As for preparing, yes, they do have ready-made material with pretty detailed teacher notes and suggestions for extra practice so, in theory, you won't need to prepare much. However, let's just say that it's not only the company-made PowerPoint presentations that are a steaming pile of brown stuff, but all the material that you will be given to work with generally stinks. They work with textbooks designed for a 3-week study holiday in an English-speaking country, which serve that purpose well enough, but they don't explore grammar in any depth and give very little opportunity for vocabulary recycling, making them unhelpful for a longer study period. This is where your preparation comes in.
I probably used the textbooks for about 30% of a 2-hour lesson, supplementing heavily from other, mainly Oxford and Cambridge University Press, textbooks and other extra activity books. It takes time to find these extra materials, so what they're telling you about little preparation is not entirely accurate.

I can only tell you specifically about the school I worked for but EF does strive to offer the same learning experience to every student who studies within the company, so I'm guessing that the schools in St. Petersburg work in pretty much the same way as they do in Siberia. I spent roughly 2-2.5 hours a day preparing for lessons, this was with 8 years' experience under my belt and a fair knowledge of what extra materials were available.

The job was OK, pay was always on time, visa, taxes etc were all above board and done in line with the law, but I was exhausted after working for them for two years.
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Coolguy123



Joined: 10 Apr 2013
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That doesn't sound that promising, but I guess a job is a job. Why do I often hear people say that they get exhausted from teaching after a few years? Is that usually how it works?

Anyway, I'm going to shop around a bit before I accept a position. It doesn't sound that bad, but I'm fairly new (and if you have 8 years experience, I don't think it will be that easy for me with so many hours and limited materials).
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An unrelated tip: Sasha is a fella's name more often than a lassie's : )

But yes, I have a low regard for Englsh Farce. As low as for Missing Link...
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
An unrelated tip: Sasha is a fella's name more often than a lassie's : )

But yes, I have a low regard for Englsh Farce. As low as for Missing Link...


That first threw me when I came to Moscow. I knew Sasha as a boy's name, so when my flatmate told me that his girlfriend 'Sasha' was coming over I was a bit confused.

I must say that I am a bit sick of all the Sashas in my life. My boss, flatmate and 4 friends are all dating people named Sasha (of both genders).
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry 'bout that.

But at least I'm not one of them : )
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