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Unemployed with a CELTA
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descartes123



Joined: 06 Aug 2016
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:53 pm    Post subject: Unemployed with a CELTA Reply with quote

Hello all.

I have always wanted to move to St Petersburg in Russia, and so in June this year I did the CELTA. (I am 30 years old, a native speaker from the UK)

But, to my disappointment, after graduating, I haven't been able to land a single job in St Petersburg , and also for that matter, Belarus, Ukraine...

I have applied for almost every notable language school in St Petersburg, but to no avail. I wasn't invited for an interview; nothing.

I have always been under the impression that native English teachers were in demand over there, and that CELTA is the key to begin an EFL career.

I am also surprised at the requirements that these language schools demand there: in some cases, 3-6 years teaching experience minimum, in return for the basic wage.

As a result, I have been working for free, part time, in my home country in order to gain experience.

Over a 1000 pounds for the CELTA and absolutely no returns. I can't explain how disappointing this is.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11373
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't speak for the TEFL market in Russia, although this forum seems to have been quite quiet. As a newbie, you have to be flexible, just as many of us had to when we started out. Put Russia on the backburner for now and look to other countries for your first, paying teaching job and experience. By the way, you didn't mention if you have at least a BA, but be aware that will limit where you can legally teach.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1144
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: What to do? Reply with quote

Taking either CELTA or TESOL courses without also having at least a BA degree will not be enough to allow you to get a legal teaching job in quite a number of countries,not only those which are known for paying well such as Japan but even in places where salaries are low and there are few jobs, such as Greece,Turkey,Hungary etc.
If you had a particular country in mind you would have done well to check their exact requirements before taking the course,which as you correctly wrote,is not cheap!
Russia also cracked down a few years ago and often the few vacancies which are advertised there nowadays do specify a degree,although there are still some larger firms which do not insist on this.But I would also agree with the advice in the previous posting that Russia is not an ideal place to go at the moment anyway due to the economic situation there and the not very congenial political climate there:if you read carefully the details of salaries offered there for example,they tend to be around 40-50.000 roubles per month which is well under a thousand euros!Although some offer accomodation, this is usually shared and unlikely to be of high standard and may well involve stressful commuting time to your workplace etc.Prices for essential goods are also high in comparison to salaries which most people earn there and it is doubtful if you will be able to save any money to take with you when you leave,especially with the low exchange rate for the rouble etc.
The notion that taking ESL teaching course on it's own earns a lucrative passport into an exotic life in wide choice of countries all over the world is unfortunately rarely the case,especially for beginners and as with many other jobs,having experience is as important as the qualifications when applying to for the better jobs in the field.
Without wishing to put a damper on your spirits,having been down the same road as you myself,there are opportunities and by scouring various countries advertising jobs on sites such as tefl.com and elsewhere....by being flexible on where you work and determined to make a go of it to get started, you can find something as a first step and then build on it.But do your homework thoroughly before accepting anything,even more so in countries such as Russia nowadays where things were never easy even in better times,even more so for 'newbies'.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do like I did - start out in Siberia.
I started in Irkutsk.
St. Petersburg must have lots of teachers.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1144
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:19 pm    Post subject: Where to start out? Reply with quote

I wouldn't choose Russia for a first teaching job anyway,(even if things were better there economically as they were until a couple of years ago),certainly not a remote place in Siberia where there are few foreigners and probably no other ex-pat teachers?Irkutsk is not only remote but hellishly cold in winter and has massive social problems,among them one of the highest HIV rates in Russia!
Such places are o.k. for a brief visit in summer and I do agree that Lake Baikal is worth the effort of seeing but otherwise such places are only for the experienced and adventurous,not novices!
If you look at the tefl.com site for example one firm is advertising for a teacher in Vladimir,as well as several vacancies in Moscow.It is one of the so-called 'Golden Ring' historical towns, and situated about 90 mins drive east of the capital.Although frequently visited by tourists who come to see the old town and churches etc, the rest of the town is mostly Soviet era and quite run down and decrepid.Working in such a place would only suit a Russophile with a good knowledge of the language who wanted to perhaps do some historical research?For anyone else it would probably be boring and depressing for more than a week or two?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11505
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just returned from a project in St. Petersburg working with local teachers. I can tell you that there is serious competition from highly qualified locals (CELTA +++) for English teaching jobs, and many schools feel some obligation to hire locals over foreigners - not to mention how much easier it is for them to do so!

The native speakers I know work more often in translations and editing, but this requires solid Russian skills and qualifications other than CELTA.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it is not. It is by the main railroad, the Trans-Siberian.
You could say Bratsk was remote but I knew people there.

Cold would be up in Yakutsk, with about -50 at night in the winter at the most.
Irkutsk would be -30 at most, and with global warming it isn't like it used to be years ago, since the hydro-electric power raises temperatures.

The winter was not that bad. You dress like a local then you are ok.
You aren't cold inside.
Good boots are a must since it is easy to slip.
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louisdt



Joined: 15 Sep 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It feels a bit ridiculous to put this out there when so many people have spoken to the contrary, but I do think you can find work in SPb if you keep looking. (That is if you have a Bachelor's degree... I couldn't tell from your post if you did or didn't).
Keep looking. Apply to every listing on TEFL.com and this site. I was offered two jobs in SPb this summer and I have much less than 3 years' experience.
And it may seem trivial, but a lousy CV can drive employers away. How confident are you in yours?
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1144
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the input,spiral and Louis Dt. Reply with quote

Seems to confirm some points I raised earlier: there are fewer jobs in Russia and more people are looking for them,including locals...not to say that it would be impossible to find anything, but it's not exactly easy to go there under your own steam and try!Employing foreigners is a big headache for Russian employers and includes hassles with the tax office,amongst others,something which everyone wants to avoid!
Having a good C.V. s obviously essential as it's the way someone decides whether you are worth their effort to take things further or not?
I am curious whether you have been to Russia before at all or are just adventurous and want to find out for yourself what it is like?
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descartes123



Joined: 06 Aug 2016
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:09 pm    Post subject: Thank you all for your input Reply with quote

I appreciate all the comments. Thank you Maruss; you raised some good points.

I don't have a BA! Sad However, so far as some schools in Stpb are concerned, judging by the information on their websites, it is not always a prerequisite. (Certainly not as strict as some of the schools in Asia, which require it for work visas.)

I think Sprial78 is right about the competition there; apart from the lack of having a higher education, and years of experience, I could think of nothing else that could account for this. I have exhausted all efforts at trying to teach in St Petersburg.

Now, unfortunately, I resigned myself to the fact that it is not going to happen. I will have to broaden my options, look at other countries, and gain experience.

I have been to the city before, and I have always wanted to move there. It was one of the reasons that I signed up for the CELTA. (I have also been studying Russian for a year - now at intermediate level) Beforehand, when researching the EFL market, it seemed to me to be a place where teachers are in demand, even if you didn't have a BA. Everything, however, I experienced so far couldn't be further from what I had envisaged. It also strikes me as somewhat ridiculous that several companies there have the the audacity to demand so much. For example: 3-6 years experience, CELTA, with degree etc. In return for a meager salary and living conditions. It is not exactly Saudi!

I cannot help but feel bitter. The whole thing has put a sour taste in my mouth. And I don't think I will apply to any schools there again.

Luckily, I received some feedback from a few other companies in Europe. No offers yet, but its a start.

...

One last question, what kind of work should CELTA graduates expect to find? Where does one start?

At the moment, I am doing charity work, for free, just to gain more experience.

I have some misgivings about the CELTA application process. They are very quick to take your money, and accept you onto a course, regardless of higher education, or experience.

Quoted from the CELTA website: "With CELTA, you show employers that you: are ready to begin working in a variety of ESL teaching contexts around the world."


Thanks everyone!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11505
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The keys to the CELTA sentence: 'to begin' (very much basic entry-level) and 'a variety of' (meaning not all will be open to you!!).

That said, a UK citizen with no BA but a CELTA is a reasonably viable candidate in most of the EU (well, at the moment at least, until Brexit fallout hits the fan). You've missed the peak hiring period (it's September) but there is often a small hiring bump in January.

You could consider any EU country, but the more northerly and easterly ones are the most viable; somewhat less competition.

You would be competing against job candidates who do have a BA and keep in mind that most European STUDENTS of entry-level teachers will have a BA and likely more. You need to offset your lack by ensuring that you are clearly very professional and put the job first.

I suggest that you check the forums for Germany, Poland, the Czech Rep/Slovakia. You could possibly find something in any of these places for January - but do expect start-up costs! Jobs in the EU aren't usually found from abroad (unlike Russia) - you need to pick a city, go there, and interview in person to get a second glance.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11373
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you all for your input Reply with quote

descartes123 wrote:
I don't have a BA!

I have been to the city before, and I have always wanted to move there. It was one of the reasons that I signed up for the CELTA. (I have also been studying Russian for a year - now at intermediate level) Beforehand, when researching the EFL market, it seemed to me to be a place where teachers are in demand, even if you didn't have a BA. Everything, however, I experienced so far couldn't be further from what I had envisaged.

I cannot help but feel bitter. The whole thing has put a sour taste in my mouth. And I don't think I will apply to any schools there again.

Luckily, I received some feedback from a few other companies in Europe. No offers yet, but its a start.
...

One last question, what kind of work should CELTA graduates expect to find? Where does one start?

You may eventually have to pursue a BA, especially if you plan to make TEFL your career.

Generally, the overall TEFL market can and has changed like the wind. Socio-political issues, stiffer immigration laws, picky employers, competition from qualified nationals, a sour economy, etc., are all factors that impact the field. Frankly, prospective teachers need to be very mindful and realistic about the TEFL market, especially if they have minimal qualifications, specific passports, pressing financial obligations, limited funds, and so on.

That doesn't leave you in the dust, however. Other parts of Europe may be easier for you in terms of finding paying work. There's also Mexico as well as parts of South America, where a degree hasn't been a hindrance to securing legal work.

and descartes123 wrote:
I have some misgivings about the CELTA application process. They are very quick to take your money, and accept you onto a course, regardless of higher education, or experience.

Quoted from the CELTA website: "With CELTA, you show employers that you: are ready to begin working in a variety of ESL teaching contexts around the world."

The CELTA program accepts 18-year olds; obviously, a degree isn't required. However, keep in mind, private course providers are for-profit companies that 1) are in competition for prospective trainees' business; and 2) expect trainees to have done their own research on where they can feasibly teach after they're awarded the CELTA.

Also, don't rely on websites that tout TEFL adventures and fun-in-the-sun for info on where to teach. Instead, head to forums like the Cafe for first-hand info from experienced teachers.

Good luck and definitely keep posting your questions.
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Spasibo



Joined: 02 Dec 2015
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So a CELTA isn't that useful for employment in Russia? I guess they aren't that concerned about it compared with a degree. Very interesting.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11505
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need both, is the message.
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1144
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:07 am    Post subject: Some great input there from Spiral and others! Reply with quote

So I will add a few other points of my own,rather than re-iterate.
I fully agree that jobs in Russia in our field offer meagre salaries and conditions etc.They always did- and as you will notice,the larger firms are always advertising for teachers though, which can mean one of two things:either their business is expanding phenomenally- or they have a high turnover of staff??I will leave it to you to decide which applies!
In the old days-10 years in my case,if you were in the know and could afford it you went to Russia under your own steam on a multiple entry 1 year business visa,paid your own accom. etc. and worked freelance for one or various firms at an hourly rate of $20-30 and made decent money!For various reasons,especially the changes in visa rules and length of stay allowed,it's much harder to do that nowadays so I won't write more about it now.Tobe legally employed you need a work-permit and this can only be obtained by the firm which employs you,usually those whose conditions are poor!
Therefore I would seriously consider other countries- although they speak Russian in the Baltic States,especially Latvia where there is quite a sizeable Russian minority and it is also E.U, jobs there also tend to pay badly....'Jonniboy' on this site is an expert on that country and you can read his postings about it if you are interested.Estonia and Lithuania are similar but maybe worse from an EFL job point of view.
CELTA courses are a business as others have rightly said, but having done it,(TESOL actually) my opinion is that it is worth the effort and the money,but read the small print first,especially about various countries requirements if you are aiming for a specific place,which you obviously were!In the case of Russia though,many other factors make it a not so desirable place to go at present...it was never easy and now it's even worse!
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