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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:41 am    Post subject: *********** Reply with quote

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Last edited by Kent F. Kruhoeffer on Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Buck Turgidson



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hard part is getting an offer to begin with. I just ran a search on Dave's and there were 3 offers from Russia in the last 6 months and two of them were BKC. It is even harder finding a position outside of Moscow.

Buck
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: yep! Reply with quote

Hi Buck:

You're right. Job offers for Russia are few and far between. Part of the reason is purely economic: Many Russians just can't afford the higher tuition fees involved with learning English from a native speaker. Hence, they study English at their schools and universities with Russian teachers, or at home with a CD, a textbook and a Harry Potter video. Laughing

In my opinion, Buck, this situation will improve and more EFL jobs will become available as Russia's "new" middle class expands, but this will take decades, not years. Trust me on this one: The demand for quality English instruction in Russia today is HUGE, but figuring out how to pay for it is another matter entirely.

In the meantime, people who are really serious about working in Russia need to hunt on *all* of the EFL websites that post job adverts, including but not limited to: Dave's, tefl.com, and even the expat.ru website, which I recently posted here. As I find other potential sources, I will post them.

Another job-hunting tactic which I have employed myself with GREAT success is to contact schools BEFORE you ever see their advert. Let them know you're interested and serious about teaching in Russia. Save them the money for an ad; impress them with your CV, good looks and sense of humor; get your foot in the door NOW, so to speak. They may not have an immediate opening for you, but they will certainly remember your sincere effort, and contact you when something does open up.

Btw ... that's one of the reasons I keep posting all of these links. Wink

So, keep your chin up; You'll find something. And remember, peak hiring season is just around the corner, since most schools in Russia hire teachers over the summer ... to begin teaching for the Fall semester.

Regards,
kent
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Buck Turgidson



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear you Smile

I was just wondering how many readers have recieved offers. Hopefully there are some.

I am still watching for jobs, but I have resigned myself to just going over there and finding something in person.

I know there is a growing number of New Russians who have the money to pay for English classes. And certainly the demand is enormous. I just wonder why there aren't more schools advertising. Poland has a lot more job offerings than Russia. Are Poles that much more affluent? More interested in learning English?

500 bucks, a free apartment and return airfare? Sign me up. If you had that deal in a town of say 500,000, you could even save some.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:42 am    Post subject: You CAN save $$$ in Rusia Reply with quote

Howdy Buck Cool

Yep, it's true. Despite persistent rumours to the contrary, you *can* save money in Russia as an EFL teacher, provided you follow my tips in the original post and don't accept less than $500 per month net.

I earn a bit more than the $500 quoted above, and usually manage to save between $100 and $200 per month.

Basically, you can live and eat pretty well on $400 per month in Russia if you cook 2 out of 3 meals at home and avoid the expensive expat bars and restaurants. Thus ... anything you earn above and beyond that $400 can either be saved, or squandered on physical pleasures. A hard choice for me sometimes. Twisted Evil

As for the comparison between the number of jobs offered for Poland vs. Russia, I can only guess that the general standard of living for Poles is indeed higher than that of average Russians. At the same time, there *is* some good news: Russia is catching up. I just read yesterday that the GDP for Russia increased 20% over the past 3 years. Rather amazing in a world of shrinking economies.

Warm wishes,
kENt


Last edited by Kent F. Kruhoeffer on Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:52 am    Post subject: Saving Reply with quote

From the perspective of Saudi Arabia, saving from 100 to 200 US dollars a month seems very little. This should be a lesson to me and the others in the ME thatnot everyone can save a thousand or two a monthe. But I bet you have a more interesting life in Russia than we do in KSA !
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 6:04 am    Post subject: ha ha ! Reply with quote

Hello Albulbul Cool

I have just 2 words for you: skimpy bikinis and cheap alcohol. Ok; that was 4 words. Twisted Evil

Regards,
kEnT
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staratelno



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

$500/month net and a free apartment! Plus a return ticket subsidy! It sounds marvelous. I'm teaching at a state university in Siberia where I never know from month to month how much I'll receive. We are paid by the teaching hour, but most months I receive a mysterious "additional" amount. Even so, I receive far more than my Russian colleagues, except I don't get paid for holidays and vacations. If you're planning to teach in a state school, you should know that holidays and breaks are extensive, and unpaid. The local hourly rate at private schools is about 150 roubles, less at state schools. Occasionally one can find private students who will pay 300 roubles/scholastic hour (45 minutes), but I don't know anyone who has a full schedule of such students. Often the travel required substantially reduces the actual hourly rate.

I really don't think I can afford to return here next fall. My salary isn't covering my basic living expenses, never mind visa, health insurance and airfare.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 6:14 am    Post subject: Welcome aboard the Russia Train ! Reply with quote

Privyet Diana Cool

Thanks for joining us! We really do need more posters like you on this forum who have first-hand experience teaching in Russia, especially from the point-of-view of the public and/or state school systems, which I know less about.

Thanks also for highlighting 2 of the points I made in my original post. Namely, #1) that public and state schools usually pay a lot less than private language schools, and #2) If you accept an hourly wage, "you may be sorry."

Diana: If you *do* decide to come back to Russia, maybe you should consider working full-time for one of the more reputable private language institutes? With your background and experience, I think you would have many options that would allow you to live comfortably and ENJOY your holidays.

Again, your input on this forum is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for dropping by to share your comments and advice. Hope to see you here on a regular basis. Laughing

Warm regards,
keNT
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1019
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 3:28 pm    Post subject: Working in Moscow/Russia Reply with quote

I read your tips for new teachers and found them very useful.I have been making enquiries about going over there for several years,but several things have stopped me,and to be honest,I have been warned to think again by several people whose opinions I trust,both Russian and foreign.
Firstly,I should explain that I am almost 50 years old and have worked in travel and tourism for most of my life-for nearly 25 years,I have lived in Cyprus.I took the Trinity TESOL in London in 1999,but do not have a university degree.Since 1994,I have visited Russia many times,mainly trying to develop business with incoming tourism from there to Cyprus,so I have got to know the place and can also get by in the language.For a number of reasons which I won't go into here as they are not connected with E.F.L. or teaching,all I will say is that it is impossible any longer to work with Russia in this field,or for a foreigner to do any small business .Not wishing to break my connections with the place,I have investigated possible options for other ways of working in Russia,and realise that aprt from a very few specialised vacancies at high level in fields such as law,accountancy or the oil industry,there are no jobs for foreigners there,especially in my line of work,and the only option is teaching.
Despite the opulence and almopst vulgar prosperity in the centre of Moscow where some people seem to spend as if there will be no tomorrow,and prices match those in western capital cities,the true reality of Russia is more of a third world country for most of the population,and life is problematic,stressful and even worse for many people!No way could I or would I, come over there for 500 u.s. per month,especially when I know a lot of people in Moscow,even Russians who earn much more than that.One Englishman I know earns well over 2.500 per month by giving private lessons,and says he has more work than he can handle,although admittedly he has been there years and is highly qualified and experienced in teaching.But 500 bucks is a subsistence salary in Moscow,and as he warned me,if I accept a job on those terms,I will not only be made to work such inconvenient hours that I will have no time-or energy, to earn any axtra by giving"privates", but also be miserable and broke by the end of each month,and probably end up either leaving the job and maybe Russia as well,like many other dis-illusioned people do who are tempted by these jobs and come over believing the blurb that 500 bucks is a "middleclass" salary in Moscow!Hence the high turnover and frequent advertising for staff!The other warning was about accomodation-he suggested I check what standard and where in relation to where I will be working,and I know very well from my own experience that most of the southern areas of the city are awful and enough to make anyone depressed even to visit,let alone live and work in!Furthermore,neither of two of the schools I approached would agree to give me a private flat and said that if I didn't want to share,they would give me around 150 per month and let me find my own,without realising that even a hovel in somewhere like Maryino goes for more than that nowadays!
Sorry if I seem negative but I think it's best to be honest about things from the outset,rather than come over with illusions which will quickly be shattered!
Any comments and advice would be sincerely welcomed!

Martin.
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Buck Turgidson



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent a year in Cherkassy, Ukraine (about 300,000 people) in 1996-1997. People told me conditions were difficult and they were right. I returned there only a few months ago and I noticed moderate improvement. There was not a single black out, and my friend has put a two story addition on his house, and this on a professor's pay. Still, things are far from perfect. There are more shops and shelves are full but people can't buy a lot of it. A Ukrainian friend once likened the central department store to a museum.

"Despite the opulence and almopst vulgar prosperity in the centre of Moscow where some people seem to spend as if there will be no tomorrow,and prices match those in western capital cities,"

Which is precisely why I want to go someplace other than Moscow. It was surreal, knowing what I know about life in Russia, to find shops displaying $10,000 wrist watches. Shocked

"No way could I or would I, come over there for 500 u.s. per month,especially when I know a lot of people in Moscow,even Russians who earn much more than that"

In smaller cities 500 would be pretty good. Of course no one could afford to pay that much in such a town. But you are absolutely right. 500 a month is a rip off in Moscow.

"One Englishman I know earns well over 2.500 per month by giving private lessons"

A Ukrainian friend claimed that she knew an American who made $50 an hour teaching privates in Kharkov. Apparently it is possible. It would just take time to build a client list. I thought of posting ads at bus stops and kiosks for privates. Has anybody out there tried this?

I guess we who are interested in this part of the world have to accept the fact that decent jobs are hard to find. But as Kent told me earlier, keep a positive attitude and be patient. There is something out there for each of us. Smile
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 5:47 am    Post subject: reply to Martin Reply with quote

Greetings Martin Cool

Thanks for your input. You're absolutely right: $500 per month in Moscow is NOT a fortune these days. That's why I made a point of underlining the words "at least" $500 per month net, in my original post.

However, $500 per month net in Moscow isn't quite a subsistence salary, as your friend might have suggested, but I agree with you that in the bigger cities, "more is always better." FYI: The median per-capita salary in Moscow is $387 per month, according to an extensive nationwide survey conducted last year by The National Geographic.

Martin: In your particular situation, finding a decent salary at ANY school in Russia will be more difficult ... due to your stated lack of a university diploma. Having the TESOL certificate is good, but it does NOT replace or equal a diploma from an accredited university, at least not for most schools in Russia, where "paper" credentials are scrutinized and considered paramount ... ESPECIALLY for the higher paid positions at the better schools.

At the same time, I'd like to state clearly that anyone who comes to Russia as an English teacher with the intention of making "big bucks" should think twice. For the vast majority, it just ain't gonna happen.

To be blunt: EFL teachers will NEVER be competing salary-wise with executives from large multi-nationals who earn upwards of $2,500 per month. At least not in our lifetime.

It's also very true that life in Russia can be hard. As you rightly pointed out, Russia is still a developing country. The infrastructure is not up to par with what we're used to in the "West", and many foreigners just can't hack it in Russia, especially on an EFL salary. There's no point in denying that, so I won't. Cool

For me personally, it's not a bad life here. I have all of the 5 elements listed in my original post, and a bit more than the salary I quoted in #1. On top of that, with hard work in the classroom and loyalty to the school I work for ... I've managed to negotiate several additional perks over the past 2 years which make life more enjoyable, including a private classroom, 24/7 internet access paid by the school, and a very nicely furnished 10th floor apartment with a great view overlooking the Volga River and its sandy beach.

The additional perks mentioned above probably won't be offered to you up front: You have to earn them. That's normal in any business anywhere, I think. As John F. Kennedy once said, "Ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school." Laughing

By following that sage advice, I'm able to live very well here, and save enough $$$ each month so that I can afford to travel around the country on my 2 weeks holiday. It's not a life of luxury, but I do enjoy myself, and I'm never broke at the end of the month. Wink

To be perfectly honest, that's all I ever wanted out of this gig. To see Red Square, the Kremlin and Comrade Lenin ... with my own eyes, to float up the Volga River in a Mark Twain-style ferry boat, to guzzle REAL Russian vodka with the locals on a hot summer's night.

If and when I do run out of money, I'll head back to Korea or Japan, where saving 7 to 10K per year is possible, although infinitely less exciting.

So, the bottom line, if there is one: If you want to "experience" Russia, EFL is one good way to do it, but you most certainly won't be buying those $10,000 wrist watches that Buck mentioned in the post above this one.

Yours truly,
kENt
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1019
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 1:55 pm    Post subject: Your comments on my letter of 19/3 Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for your advice folks-honesty is always appreciated,and I agree 100% with what you have written! I will comment further in more detail later ,but meanwhile,there is a school in Moscow called "Integration 21st century" advertising 25 u.s. per hour for teachers,although I don't know any more about how many hours they offer per week or what level of qualifications they require yet and am waiting for more information from them-meanwhile,does anyone else know anything about this school as I hear it's quite prestige?

Cheers for now and thanks again!

Martin.
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Snegurochka



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, they pay $22 and $28 for every contact hour at BC. Smaller outfits often pay much better. It is a matter of research.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 12:15 pm    Post subject: **approach with caution** Reply with quote

Hello Martin Cool and Privyet Snegurochka Exclamation

I found the job offer from "Integration xxi Century", but even after an advanced web-search using google.com, I was unable to find anything at all about this school. Personally, I've never heard of them before.

Which means ... they may be a recruiting agency, not a "real" school. If so, just approach with caution.

ESPECIALLY for these hourly wage jobs, you really do need to read the fine print of the contract offer. The hourly rate they are quoting sounds GREAT on paper, but how many hours per week do they guarantee? This is particularly important over the summer months, when most Russians are at the beach or Dacha, and NOT in the classroom studying.

Good luck Exclamation

Regards,
kenT
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