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On teaching in Russia

 
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Siddhartha



Joined: 15 Nov 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:27 pm    Post subject: On teaching in Russia Reply with quote

Hello, my name is Jacob. I am an American interested in teaching English abroad, particularly in Russia and Eastern Europe, but primarily the former. However, I have the common problem of lacking a degree of any sort. That said, I do have some experience working in a classroom environment and I have worked as a freelance writer for the past two years or so, which has required a fairly high command over the English language.

So I was wondering, as per the TEFL environment of 2013 into 2014, what are the chances of gaining employment in Russia (or elsewhere in Eastern Europe) for an American without a degree? I am willing to earn a CELTA or some other form of certification in order to familiarize myself with the actual process of teaching, and I also have some books on the topic I plan on studying in order to hopefully assist me further. I am also willing to work in smaller cities/towns (I have an interest in Russian historical cities/towns such as Veliky Novgorod and those of the Golden Ring) if choosing such a location would be of any benefit in terms of competition.

Beyond just inquiring about my chances for gaining employment, I was wondering if anyone had some general advice for me regarding this ambition. A major concern is how much money I should save up to embark on this endeavor. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Jacob
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Foma87



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 62
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd imagine it'd be difficult landing a full-time job w/out a degree in Russia, though some kind of teaching certification would undoubtably up your chances. I've had no problem finding good work w/out certs, but I do have a degree, which I've even been asked to present to employers a couple times. Nevertheless, demand for natives is very high in Russia, so it's very possible, if you put yourself out there, somebody'll hire you. Get your cert, though. Dunno what ppl would say about the value of a degree vs a cert (as far as teaching is concerned). Ideally you'd have both.

As for money, I'd have about $3,500 saved up before embarking.
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Siddhartha



Joined: 15 Nov 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foma87 wrote:
I'd imagine it'd be difficult landing a full-time job w/out a degree in Russia, though some kind of teaching certification would undoubtably up your chances. I've had no problem finding good work w/out certs, but I do have a degree, which I've even been asked to present to employers a couple times. Nevertheless, demand for natives is very high in Russia, so it's very possible, if you put yourself out there, somebody'll hire you. Get your cert, though. Dunno what ppl would say about the value of a degree vs a cert (as far as teaching is concerned). Ideally you'd have both.

As for money, I'd have about $3,500 saved up before embarking.


Thanks for the reply. I heard Russia was one of the countries that still accepts teachers without degrees and legally at that, and I also heard there is a large demand for native speakers. So I was hoping to confirm from people on the ground that one could indeed find employment without a degree, as well as to ascertain what the difficulty of such an endeavor might be. Hopefully a CELTA will be enough to get me some initial employment.

Another question I had is, after working for some schools for a while, what is the feasibility and legality of going completely freelance/private tutoring in Russia? Would a lack of a degree be a major hindrance in this regard?

Thanks again in advance for any further information anyone may be able to supply.
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teacher X



Joined: 13 Feb 2013
Posts: 187
Location: Super Sovietsky Apartment Box 918

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My school only employs teachers with 2+ years teaching experience. A degree is not a necessity, but you should have some idea how to teach. In the interview they asked me to explain how I would go about teaching present perfect and third conditional.


Basically, if you're white and can string a sentence together, some schools will take you. Although you really don't want to work for such idiots.
As Foma has already said, get yourself a CELTA. Sure, you can just turn up and work for an extremely unprofessional school which doesn't require any qualifications, but you won't be doing anybody (certainly not yourself) any favours.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9552
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know, this all boils down to which type of visa your school gets for you. If it is a 'teacher visa', then you need some sort of teaching qualification, e.g. a Celta. If you have a general work visa, then you will need a degree of some sort. Doesn't matter what. Officially you'll be classified as a foreign expert or specialist, or some other fiction - but you need a degree to maintain that fiction.

Any place that says that you do not need a degree or teaching cert is probably planning only on your getting a 'business visa', which does not entitle you to work for a local school at all. Legally, that is. People do it all too often, but your school is basically breaking the law. And so are you. There is a thread currently active on this very topic on this board.

As for start up costs, this will largely depend on whether your school provides accommodation. If not, then expect to fork out about 3,000 USD for that alone, if you go through a realtor. That breaks down as a grand a piece for the first month's rent, deposit, and agency fee. Of course, you could find a room, through a friend of somebody, and it obviously works out much cheaper. But you'll be dependent on other people's contacts.

I'd also make sure you have a return ticket, and enough funds to make sure you can get out of the country if things do not work out as planned. Always have an escape plan, and the funds to effect it.

Remember also that you'll have to wait for over a month for your first salary to be paid. Some places pay every two weeks, but not all of them do. So prepare for the longest.

On a non-financial level, I'd strongly advise getting some training before coming here. Sure, you can get by without it - people do. But do you really want to face down hostile groups of learners who complain that their 'teacher' doesn't have a clue about how to manage a classroom or teach? A personal command of written English is simply not enough, sorry. So do get your Celta.

Good luck with all your endeavours!
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Foma87



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 62
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you decide to come over on a business visa, even w/out a degree and certs you'll find plenty of work freelancing (that will be the least of your problems). Instead, your first problem will be finding accommodation, which w/out knowledge of the language and no reliable contacts could be very difficult, worrisome, time-consuming and pricey.

Secondly, you'll need to figure out how to manage the visa regime. As far as I know, Americans can now get a 3-year business visa and stay in the country for periods of 6 months, after which they must leave the country, but only for a day.This must be confirmed, though. This can also be rather worrisome and pricey.

Thirdly (or maybe this ought to be your first priority?), w/out certs or teaching experience, how do you intend to teach at an effective enough level to keep your students? As many poster here will confirm, Russians, many of whom are very well-educated and -traveled, can be very demanding.

Some posters would argue that putting yourself in this type of situation is not only very ill-advised, but catastrophically risky. I'd say, it depends on the person. If your a resourceful fellow and plan well in advance, it's very possible you could find yourself in a relatively comfortable situation w/in 6 months to a year. If not, your stay could be cut very short.
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Siddhartha



Joined: 15 Nov 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey thanks for the replies guys. I think I may have worded my initial question incorrectly though. I am not planning on going and trying to teach without a CELTA, but desire to actually earn one, though based on the answers here it seems I should be able to find legal work in any case.

If one were to earn a CELTA in Russia, would that increase ones chances of finding employment, i.e. do the CELTA administrators assist with finding an initial job? What about getting started with a "McSchool" before starting up any notions of freelancing? Would the combination of a CELTA and the assistance of the so-called McSchools provide a solid foundation to becoming an effective teacher? I am not interested merely in traveling but would actually like to be a good teacher.

Is the situation in Ukraine much different than Russia? Would an American with a CELTA but no degree be able to find legal work in Ukraine as well? Would it be better to earn the CELTA in Kiev or Moscow? Would the pay be better in Russia or Ukraine?

Sorry if that's a lot of questions, if anyone can answer any of them I'd be much obliged. Thanks again.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9552
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think any Celta course provider assists with job placement. Certainly not the Moscow one, which is IH-BKC. Trainees there do sometimes get jobs with BKC itself, though, if they look like half normal people and the schools are in need of recruits.

As for the Ukraine, there's a board just for it, so questions would most likely be answered better there.

But just to return to the question of legality, not having a teaching cert or a degree is not going to lead to anything except illegal work, ias this will mean working on a business visa.
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Siddhartha



Joined: 15 Nov 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
I don't think any Celta course provider assists with job placement. Certainly not the Moscow one, which is IH-BKC. Trainees there do sometimes get jobs with BKC itself, though, if they look like half normal people and the schools are in need of recruits.

As for the Ukraine, there's a board just for it, so questions would most likely be answered better there.

But just to return to the question of legality, not having a teaching cert or a degree is not going to lead to anything except illegal work, ias this will mean working on a business visa.


Ok thanks, I will keep that in mind. So if one has a CELTA, one can find legal work?

While it seems most teachers wish to work in Moscow or St. Petersburg, is there work to be found in smaller cities and towns? Would the pay relative to the cost of living in smaller cities and towns be lower than in major cities, or is decent money still to be made? Just for example, while by no means a small city, I've been interested in Yaroslavl. Places like Sergiyev Posad, Vladimir, Petrozavodsk, and Vyborg also interest me. I am just not sure if smaller cities would translate to less competition or less potential for employment.

Also, while this is merely hypothetical and not of personal concern, is teaching English a means by which someone could settle in Russia long-term or become naturalized if one were so inclined?
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expatella_girl



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 224
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Siddhartha wrote:

Also, while this is merely hypothetical and not of personal concern, is teaching English a means by which someone could settle in Russia long-term or become naturalized if one were so inclined?


Permanent residency for foreigners in Russia is almost impossible unless married to a Russian.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9552
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which I am sure can be arranged for a price also. But let's not be under any illusions as to its legality : )
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Siddhartha



Joined: 15 Nov 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see, I was just wondering if any teachers loved Russia so much that they made it their permanent home. It appears this fellow featured on an RT did, but then he's married to a Russian:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7yyToU0nO8

On a semi-related note that I don't see a need in creating an entirely new thread for, is Azerbaijan a possibility with a CELTA and no degree? Anyone here have any experience in Azerbaijan?

Thanks again for the help
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amisexy



Joined: 24 May 2012
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a few teachers who have permanent residency. They are all married to Russians, and had already taught here for some time.

Also, I have sent a PM to Sashadroogie. Smile
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Siddhartha wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
I don't think any Celta course provider assists with job placement. Certainly not the Moscow one, which is IH-BKC. Trainees there do sometimes get jobs with BKC itself, though, if they look like half normal people and the schools are in need of recruits.

As for the Ukraine, there's a board just for it, so questions would most likely be answered better there.

But just to return to the question of legality, not having a teaching cert or a degree is not going to lead to anything except illegal work, ias this will mean working on a business visa.


Ok thanks, I will keep that in mind. So if one has a CELTA, one can find legal work?

While it seems most teachers wish to work in Moscow or St. Petersburg, is there work to be found in smaller cities and towns? Would the pay relative to the cost of living in smaller cities and towns be lower than in major cities, or is decent money still to be made? Just for example, while by no means a small city, I've been interested in Yaroslavl. Places like Sergiyev Posad, Vladimir, Petrozavodsk, and Vyborg also interest me. I am just not sure if smaller cities would translate to less competition or less potential for employment.

Also, while this is merely hypothetical and not of personal concern, is teaching English a means by which someone could settle in Russia long-term or become naturalized if one were so inclined?


I am not sure about Russia because of their VISA requirements, but in Ukraine with a TEFL certificate and no degree you can find work. I worked for a company that said they wanted a college degree but didn't ask me for any sort of copy of it. I know some places prefer a CELTA for example over a college degree. Seems like I've seen the words "or" a lot. CELTA or College Degree.. and even better with some sort of teaching experience
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