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I agreed to teach in Russia, but it's looking sketchy
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 216
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I'm just going to throw this out to gum up the wheels of the conversation--

In Russia I took Russian language for, I think about two years, and several (three, four?) Russian language teachers.

I would say the most ineffective teacher of the bunch was the drone who stuck to nuts and bolts. Grammar, grammar, cases, structure, more grammar (not that it's a bad thing). -She was such a twig- after a year and a half of Russian classes, she was the final straw that broke my back. I quit. Never went back. Never took another Russian language class.

She didn't offer anything but academic expertise with a blank stare. Drier than the the Sahara Desert.

I remember one incident in particular, I asked her about the meaning of 'nyeto' which I heard everywhere all the time [it's Raashaa ;-/]. She sternly replied that 'nyeto' was not a word and that no one should ever use it and moving along to more important grammatical matters in the lesson plan.....

So F.U. lady. I need to know what people are talking about out here, not what some pedagogical university drilled into your head about correct instructional methodology and grammatical correctness.

Just sayin'....

There must be some kind of magical middle ground between the Teacher Show and the Sahara Desert? I'm sure it's a hard middle ground to find, but I suppose the people that do manage to find it are the most successful instructors.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that hard to find, really. At least I think. What you've described are two polar opposites: the 'methodist' who knows a scary amount, but can't impart it: the class clown, who knows next to nothing, and cannot impart anything also, but for differing reasons.

In between you have a, oh for example, a Cambridge-trained TEFL teacher Very Happy
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There must be some kind of magical middle ground between the Teacher Show and the Sahara Desert? I'm sure it's a hard middle ground to find, but I suppose the people that do manage to find it are the most successful instructors.



Neither of the teachers you describe are actively engaging the learners in the process, expatella girl. Sasha is correct that this skill is the main focus of CELTA and equivalent courses.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point, Spiral. About my being correct : )
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
About my being correct :


As always, Sasha. As Always.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8928
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So true, Spiral, so true. And the whole world will come to accept this fact too. Historically inevitable.
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: I agreed to teach in Russia, but it's looking sketchy Reply with quote

pasterios wrote:
To save her money, my contact in Russia wants me to lie to the Russian Consulate to get a business visa and state that I am doing business in cities and living in a hotel I will spend no time in. If I do this, the Russian government will not know where I am. I've had a skype interview with this woman, read her travel blog, visited her language school website, and found the father of the family I will be staying with.
Does this sound like it could be sketchy to anyone else?


No, I am coming on a business VISA and many people I know work on a business VISA. I hear the other kind are pretty hard to get. The good news though is the job I have pays a lot more than most English Schools that may offer legal visas. Even then, just google how many people do 1 day out every 90 days b/c they are working there with an illegal business VISA.
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pasterios wrote:
pasterios wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
Yes, it does. What are the plans longer term? Does your contact intend to 'convert' the business visa into proper work docs? Or does she expect you to continue this deception indefinitely?

Unless, there's is a concrete plan to convert internally, then avoid. Even then, this is very dubious, though many schools do it. But remember you'll be the one breaking the law, not the school. You'll be the one carrying all the risks. And for what? To save HER money? Forget it.


So far, the long term plan is to leave Russia at the end of my three month stay. I may want to stay longer, but doing so would depend on the legal plausibility of it. I just asked her about converting my visa to a legitimate one, so we should have an answer in a day or so.

What could breaking the law entail? Imprisonment and fines and a red lashing I suppose...this is too bad, my hopes for this opportunity were high, but I'm glad people with information are taking the time to share their concerns.


My question: I have been wondering about the type of visa I have and the potential trouble I could get in to if the Russian government found out I was working illegally. Since I will be making money, I will need to open a bank account, right? Or will I be paid in some fashion that doesn't require a Russian bank? Are there plans to convert my business visa to a work type?

Her answer: We don't plan to convert your visa into a work visa. We normally pay our foreign teachers in cash and you sign our internal documents when you receive the payment. I don't think you'll need to open a bank account for this purpose specifically. You will not get in trouble re visa, but as mentioned before, please don't mention to authorities like the embassy or border control that you'll be working here. Should anything happen here on site when you teach a class, we will take the responsibility for it - but it won't, since we already had an American girl here on the same conditions and our foreign Spanish teacher has been working with us for about 2 years now.
------
No matter how I swing it, I'm putting myself at both financial and legal risk, but I'm already invested in this and I don't expect anyone to raise the authority's attention, so I'll go. Someone suggested that I just tool around Moscow (was it you Sash?) and see what happens. Maybe I'll finally get my TESOL cert and take myself that direction or fall into an odd job...does Russia have a use for educated, organized, skilled, well-kept native English speakers who don't want to spend all their time teaching? I have tutoring experience, paper editing experience, business experience...maybe I'll just take pictures then fly to Korea :p


I'm glad she was so honest with you, many schools do this and don't bother telling you until you get there. Russia/Ukraine and several other CIS countries makes it way too hard and complicated to get work VISAS.. If this type of thing bothers you, you may not be cut out for these type of countries. The government puts up so much red tape its almost impossible to do things completely legally thus, the citizens think of alternatives to getting things done. If this type of thing turns you off, better go to a legally conservative strict place like Korea...
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1076
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to mention here that the reason why it is difficult to find schools who offer a Working Visa is that that school hasn't yet gone through the process of attaining the rights to offer such a visa. I know from experience that, while the process can take some time (and a bit of money), it isn't bureaucratically impossible to do so.
So, if a school isn't offering a Work Visa, it probably means:
* The school is very new; or
* If the school is not new, the administration is not organized enough, well-funded enough, or is too cheap to attain this status.
I would avoid schools which offer you a job without a proper Work Visa.


Last edited by jpvanderwerf2001 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpvanderwerf2001 wrote:
I would like to mention here that the reason why it is difficult to find schools who offer a Working Visa is that that school hasn't yet gone through the process of attaining the rights to offer such a visa. I know from experience that, while the process can take some time (and a bit of money), it isn't bureaucratically impossible to do so.
So, if a school isn't offering a Work Visa, it probably means:
* The school is very new; or
* If the school is not new, the administration is not organized enough, well-funded enough, or too cheap to attain this status.
I would avoid schools which offer you a job without a proper Work Visa.


You also said that you wouldn't work in Moscow for less than almost 4,000 a month despite that being hard to come by.. My point is to say its not fair to turn someone off due to the prospect of working on a business VISA. Of the dozens of people I know here, only a select few of them have work VISAS. Working illegal in the post soviet union has different implications than it does in America and I know plenty of people who are citizens here who do it. Its the price you pay for corrupt government. Not saying that you should work illegally, but the idea of working on a business visa doesn't mean that this is a bad or sketchy company. There are plenty of McSchools and other big schools in Moscow that do the same. Plenty of people work this way although some do not. As someone who just got a TEFL, has little experience, or no TEFL at all, you may find it hard to find work from the US at a company that will supply you with a legal working VISA. I just want to be honest with you about expectations.
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1076
Location: New York

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, I'm just giving opinions, as are you.
I do happen think it's a bad idea to teach illegally in Ukraine/Russia. This doesn't mean that it never happens.
I'm not a fan of Moscow, so it'd take a lot of money for me to consider moving there. I never once stated that such jobs are everywhere.
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teacher X



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpvanderwerf2001 wrote:
I would like to mention here that the reason why it is difficult to find schools who offer a Working Visa is that that school hasn't yet gone through the process of attaining the rights to offer such a visa. I know from experience that, while the process can take some time (and a bit of money), it isn't bureaucratically impossible to do so.
So, if a school isn't offering a Work Visa, it probably means:
* The school is very new; or
* If the school is not new, the administration is not organized enough, well-funded enough, or is too cheap to attain this status.
I would avoid schools which offer you a job without a proper Work Visa.


I certainly agree with the last point. I work for a couple of schools which don't offer work visas. They are about as organised as a 5 year old with severe ADHD. I ended up working a 10 hour day on Saturday because the school forgot that several teachers weren't back from their holiday.
Of course, I was happy to get the extra cash, so it wasn't too bad.
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpvanderwerf2001 wrote:
You're right, I'm just giving opinions, as are you.
I do happen think it's a bad idea to teach illegally in Ukraine/Russia. This doesn't mean that it never happens.
I'm not a fan of Moscow, so it'd take a lot of money for me to consider moving there. I never once stated that such jobs are everywhere.


I understand, however, I am not discussing my personal opinions. I am talking about the fact that many many many schools hire teachers under the table. I just want it to be known that it happens OFTEN, more often than not in Ukraine (where I have lived almost over a year). I know of almost all the English schools in Kiev and only 5 that I can think of offer VISAS (british owned, all of them) there are many many many more that don't.. Another fact, The biggest largest most stable schools in Ukraine -- American English Center, Speak up DO NOT offer VISAS. AEC at any given point can have up to 80 or so teachers.. several IT companies etc quite organized and pay well and on time (as I have many friends who work at them) even some copy write organizations that pay very very well, do not offer VISAS. Those are some of the best jobs you can get here...

Maybe if someone thought only sketchy schools offer business VISAS they may decide not to come because with their small experience/new TEFL no school would hire them that offer legal VISAS and because they have never been here they would be worried. However, its important that they know that at least half if not more of the expats here in Ukraine are paid under the table and its just fine. Most of my students even tell me half their salary is under the table b/c the tax rate is too high. Once again, not saying that anybody should work here, but I am saying that do not think just because a school pays under the table it isn't organized, stable, or sketchy since the practice is quite common here.

Someone with little experience coming from America will be hard pressed to find a job that offers a legal VISA. It would be silly not to make them aware of the hiring situation and then have them not come b/c they don't realize how things work around here. To get their foot in the door, its often necessary to work at a school that doesn't offer these. Now after they understand those facts, only then they should make an informed decision
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9312
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I know of almost all the English schools in Kiev and only 5 that I can think of offer VISAS (british owned, all of them) there are many many many more that don't.. Another fact, The biggest largest most stable schools in Ukraine -- American English Center, Speak up DO NOT offer VISAS. AEC at any given point can have up to 80 or so teachers.. several IT companies etc quite organized and pay well and on time (as I have many friends who work at them) even some copy write organizations that pay very very well, do not offer VISAS. Those are some of the best jobs you can get here...


This is still somewhat misleading, because a percentage of these teachers who don't have a visa through the school will likely still have a legal visa to live/work through marriage, family, ancestry, or other means.

The percentage who are actually without legal working status of any kind is likely fairly small, I would assume.
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 216
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So LARISSA, how are you managing to deal with the registration issue?

The visa and registration problems go together.
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