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Is it possible for a black esl teacher to work in Russia?

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Joined: 20 Jun 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:54 am    Post subject: Is it possible for a black esl teacher to work in Russia? Reply with quote

Hello all,

First & foremost I want to apologize
for posting so much on this forum. However,
I truly appreciate all of the responses(both) public
and private to my questions.

I am a black American of Caribbean descent.
I've taught English in South Korea for two years &
took a break this year to deal with some family matters
in the States. When I first arrived in Korea I experienced
some racism. As Koreans (especially those
that I came in daily contact with) began to know me
they returned the respect that I gave them.

Racism appears to be rampant in Russia Sad
I have personal reasons for wanting to teach English
in Russia ( preferably St. Pete's or Moscow.)
So here are my questions;

1. Has anyone in this group ever worked with or seen
a person of colour teaching in Russia?
2. If you're a person of colour working as
an ESL teacher in Russia, please tell me what
your experience has been like? (Feel free to pm me.)
3. Do your Russian acquaintances /friends have a negative opinion of
people of colour in general?

Thank you all in advance for your responses! Have a great

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Joined: 06 Jul 2012
Posts: 56
Location: Moscow, Russia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello RC,

I really don't think there is any reason to apologize for asking such a serious and relevant question in terms of your possible employment here in Russia. I have been teaching in Moscow for over 5 years and here are my experiences and observations concerning blacks here.

1. I have worked with two black teachers in Moscow. 1 was a young girl from South Africa. She had worked here for several years and I know had many groups at our school and there was no student outcry or mistreatment towards her at the school. She was a great teacher. But she told everyone she was leaving Moscow because she was tired of the 'stares', verbal abuse, and stress.

The other black teacher was from Nigeria and has been teaching in Moscow over 6 years. Again, he had many groups of students and had no problems at the school. He is married to a Russian woman and has children here. He never said anything about any negative experiences here and enjoys living here.

2. While I am not black. I am a hispanic man from the USA and have brown skin and dark hair. As you may or may not know, most or nearly all Russians will consider most brown skinned people from the caucauses or from the ex soviet republics. Interestingly enough, in Russian language their word for 'black' is used to describe brown people from the caucauses. And there is lots of animosity shown towards those people, both publicly and privately. And I have seen several instances, mostly on Russian military holidays where gangs of drunk Russians menace about picking fights with anyone looking foreign or especially brown looking people. But I have not seen any physical attacks against blacks during these times. i have seen cases where Russians simply stare and point at the black person or at times even try to get a photo with the black person.

Luckily, I myself have not experienced any negative treatment. But I am still cautious and vigilant when I go out and I always keep my wits about me. I can honestly say I have received harsher and more racist treatment in the USA! I would say that racism and ethnic dischord is just as strong or stronger in the USA....still!

3. About my Russian students and any discussions about blacks. I am very sad to say that nearly all of them have only negative things to say and usually use words like 'monkey', the n-word, or other derogatory terms. But I am sure to tell the students that I do not appreciate the use of these words and tell them to please stop.

But, I think that most students are generally open and friendly here and will accept you with no problems. Of course, that is depending on your skills as a teacher as well. These have been my observations and I truly haven't seen enough negativity towards blacks here to warn you from coming here. I have recently seen a handful of blacks in my district of living who pass out some flyers near the metro or who are selling cologne in the park and I haven't seen any physical or loud verbal attacks directed at them.....only long stares.

Best of luck to you!
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