Teaching English

Discussion in 'Samovar Teahouse' started by Joshua, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Joshua

    Joshua Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Hi, I'd like to teach english in moscow but i just wasn't sure how to go about it, can anybody give any tips?
  2. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    You might give these guys a try. I imagine they are an agency, and if so they may charge a fee for their services, but they would be likely to have good contacts and would offer the useful facility of a contact if there were something afterward you did not understand.

    http://www.englishfirst.com/trt/teaching-jobs-in-russia.html

    I might also be able to put you in touch with someone who has done it before; I know a couple.
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  3. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    You've got to have TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) certificate for starters. You can get them at various language schools after doing about 1 month's intensive study. You don't need to have any specific qualification or standard of education to be accepted on a TEFL course, just the readies: it cost about £1,000 about 20 years ago. You've got to be able to read and write of course, but there's no need to have any hang-ups about your accent or whatever. I've been teaching for 20 years and have worked with English native speakers of all nationalities: Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, South Africans, US citizens from all over and of various ethnicities - and Englishmen, Irishmen, Scots and Welshmen, of course. When I first started teaching in Russia, nobody thought I was English because I do not have a "posh" English accent.

    The TEFL certificates are issued by various examining bodies. The Cambridge certificate (CTEFL) is issued by Cambridge University, England, is the one that I have, and my wife as well. I should find an English language school near where you live and ask if you can enroll on a TEFL course there. Some schools offer these courses, some don't.

    Usually, the school where you got your certificate will fix you up with a start in a language school abroad: they'll do all the bureaucratic business as regards getting work permits and visas. They'll also fix you up with board. I didn't have to go all through that because I just went freelance when I got my TEFL certificate: I could speak Russian and had already lived and worked in Mother Russia before, so I just booked a flight and off I went. Friends in Moscow quickly found me a one-roomed flat there and I just scouted around for a start somewhere. Within a week I was teaching. Since then, however, there have been all kinds of changes in visa regulations, so I wouldn't advise anyone to do what I did unless they were confident as regards their Russian and had reliable contacts in Russia.

    Anyway, I wish you luck in taking up teaching English. Once you've got your TEFL certificate, you should find yourself in Moscow in next to no time.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
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  4. Joshua

    Joshua Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Thanks alot for the information, all the best.
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Thanks alot for the information, all the best.
  6. Russian Truth

    Russian Truth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Heard of people doing that in Tokyo, but I have been told that Moscow does not pay well enough. Plus, the cost of living is VERY high in Moscow. Remember, there is a lot of paperwork involved in during anything in Russia. So, best of luck! And feel us in on your journey.
  7. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    That's another one of those Western myths about Russia. Reading Forbes and similar journals, one would think that one needs to be immensely rich to live in Moscow.

    Remember, Forbes and the rest are addressing fat cats who wish to live in condominiums here and drive around in swank cars, go to posh restaurants and decadent expensive clubs and, no doubt, hire expensive whores.

    I live in a three-room flat and shop in a local supermarket; I don't frequent flash nightclubs full of expensive booze and even more expensive women; I use public transport. A metro ticket costs 30 rubles a journey - anywhere, no matter how long. In summer, I travel to my country cottage by commuter train: it costs me 250 rubles for the 55-mile round trip. I have 3-children - two of school age and one at kindergarten - and I earn 60,000 rubles a month. That is my family's sole income. We do not live in penury. In fact, I think the quality of my life here is higher than that which I "enjoyed" in the UK, where, after having been paid on Fridays, I was usually broke on Tuesdays, after doing that which is illustrated in my avatar. However, I don't live the life of a fat cat here, nor do I want to.

    Any place is as expensive as you want it to be. So if you want to pay $50 for a bowl of borshcht at the Hotel Metropole, that's your choice.

    After all, it's a free country, isn't it?

    The supermarket where we shop the most is called "Pyatyorochka" (Пятерочка). Here are some examples of recent prices on offer there:

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    I'm feeling peckish now after pasting them!

    As regards teaching in Moscow not paying well enough, you shop around or go freelance. However, language schools that train EFL teachers always tell them that they won't amass a fortune teaching. Having been told that myself, I should add that I've never been skint on Tuesdays as I regularly was in the UK and where I had to wait penniless until Friday pay day. I have never been penniless here, although I know one or two teachers who have been - through boozing and whoring!

    PS Public transport here costs me nothing as I have a senior citizens' pass! I've had it for the past 4 years.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  8. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    The teachers I knew of (one of whom is Canadian and is currently in the UK, the rest Americans) taught at Mytishchi, which Google tells me is "to the northeast of Russia's capital Moscow, on the Yauza River and the Moscow–Yaroslavl railroad." Moscow Exile would have a better idea where it is in relation to everything else. It was my impression it was not too expensive because the girls were just out of school and had little experience, and would not likely have had high-paying jobs anywhere; one of the Americans took a teaching post in Russia because she could not find work in her home town in the Southern States.
  9. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    One of the really good points about Moscow is the permanent open air farmers' markets. You can get fresh produce there, and it's typically much cheaper than in the shops.

    The one downside is that the sanitory control there is poor, there are plenty of shady sellers, and you have to haggle. But on the other hand, it definitely beats the somewhat more pristine but typically conserved/chemically-loaded stuff you find occupying most of the supermarket shelves. Besides, you get to try out free samples, and buy in bulk to conserve money.

    I highly recommend these markets for anyone who wants to live in Moscow on a budget. Though it's a pity that Sobyanin is closing most of them down - this is one aspect of Westernization/modernization that I decry.
  10. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Yes, I first worked very close to Mytishchi when I emigrated here. Mytishchi is just outside the outer ring road, which until quite recently, before the city expanded to the south-west, serves mostly as the city limit. The town appears like a blister on the northeast periphery of the MKAD, the Moscow outer ring road, as does Khimki to the northwest of Moscow. Once you cross MKAD, all around suddenly becomes green: forests, fields and rivers.

    The Yauza is a tributary of the Moskva. I lived in what was known as Kalingrad - not to be confused with the former Königsburg of East Prussia. This place, situated on the Klyazma river, is just to the east of Mytishchi, but used not to be marked on maps and was a restricted area, it being the former "space city" of the Soviet Union. It was full of rocket plants and it was where they built the Soviet space shuttle. My wife's father was some big noise there. (I never met him: he died a few years before I met my wife.)It was also the site of the Soviet space control centre, the Soviet mission control, Cape Canaveral as it were. You can do tours of the former mission control, but you have to apply though the ministry of defence in order to do so. They changed the name of Kalingrad to Korolyov in the mid-'90s, naming the place after the leading Soviet rocket scientist, Sergei Korolyov. In Wiki, Korolyov is called a "city" after US parlance, but it is only a town in my English, and a very small one at that. It was really run down when I lived and worked there shortly after the end of the USSR and there was high unemployment, rampant alcoholism, criminality, drug abuse etc. In short, it was the time of the Yeltsin "Golden years" and the rape of Russia. It's all a much better place now, but I moved into central Moscow in '96, long before the fortunes of Korolyev had turned around.

    Immediately after the end of the Soviet Union, there was a huge demand for native speaker English language teachers in Russia. That's why I headed off there, of course: I could not find employment in the UK then. Furthermore, the demand for such teachers was so high that the simple fact alone that one was a native speaker of English guaranteed one a job as an English teacher: no TEFL certificates or any other qualifications were required to get a start. That's all changed now, of course, but it resulted in many unqualified English teachers appearing Russia at the time, as well as newly qualified ones having no teaching experience whatsoever.

    In my opinion, many EFL teachers (especially young women) only enter the field in order to do a world tour of exotic places. Russia was (and more than likely still is) not a favourite destination for such folk. However, to get a teaching post in Western European countries, one definitely needed both qualifications and several years' teaching experience. So the end of the SU was a godsend for newly qualified, "green" EFL teachers and there was, consequently, a very high turn-over of them in Russia in the early '90s. They arrived on short term contracts and counted the days until they could get out to sunnier climes.

    I experienced many such people who arrived hating Russia and who left hating it even more: the place was just somewhere where they could get some time in and then get out as quickly as possible.

    I, of course, fell madly in love with Russia at first sight.

    I am still very deeply attached to her.

    :)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  11. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Absolutely right! And it is because of such markets that I always maintain that Russians, all in all and despite their fondness for fats, dairy products and pastries, eat more healthily than do others in "advanced" Western countries, as Russians buy fresh fruit and vegetables on such markets.
  12. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Most Russian women who have catered for me as landladies have cooked from the ingredients. It makes a big difference to cost and freshness.

    @ME 60,000 Roubles a month? That's 120 GBP. Have you missed a zero? I spend about that on food alone when I take a flat and self cater. I mostly buy in the covered markets. I have never seen meat in Pyaterochka, only sausages. Pork, the product of a cartel, costs exactly the same as in the UK. So do potatoes. I have tracked both professionally. Cabbage is virtually free :). The babushki no longer sell cheap produce from Dachas. They are fronts for professional retailers. If your Dacha has a fruit tree, how many stewed apricots can you eat?

    Most clothes are not cheap. Prices are not so far from the UK, more for serious women's fashion. On the other hand, a woman's fur coat at 20,000 Roubles is a lifetime investment and not much more than twice a middle market overcoat.

    Property and utilities are ridiculously cheap as is local public transport. Long distance trains and long distance flights are expensive and the prices in Domodedovo airport restaurants endorse the Federal Anti Monopoly Service's contention that the operators are price fixing. 8,500 Roubles for one person in a very busy self service restaurant! The airport presumably charges the operators huge rents.

    I discuss Saratov not Moscow.
  13. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I repeat: my income is 60,000 (sixty thousand) rubles a month - and I pay my tax.

    By the way, 60,000 rubles is £1,760.00 ($1,884.00).

    As I said above, some people can and therefore often will pay $50 for a bowl of borshcht. (I mention this because I recall once spying such ludicrously priced borshcht on a menu in the window of Maxim's Restaurant on Tverskaya over 10 years ago.)

    We never eat out: our kitchen is our restaurant.

    They do sell meat in the Pyatyorochka where we shop: pork chops, neck of pork and steaks. And there's chicken there of course. We usually buy beef and pork at a market or off a retailer who has a stall in the Monetka supermarket near our house.

    Clothes I buy here, though whenever we are in England, Marks & Spencers gets blitzed by my wife and me. However, I have only visited the UK 5 times over the past 20 years, and for very short visits at that. Our children's shoes are usually made by the former Soviet children's footwear company "Paris Commune". I think they're good quality. I used to buy imported shoes a long time ago - usually German ones - but Russian ones are good enough now.

    We have a fine garden at our dacha, which each year gives us an abundant crop of apples, plums, gherkins, garlic, and various berries. Each summer at our dacha my wife makes lots of juice and jam - well, Russian "jam" really: "varen'e" (варенье) - and salted gherkins as well. However, we don't grow this stuff out of necessity: eating home grown produce just gives us immense satisfaction. Our Moscow flat is now chock-a-block with jams, juices and preserves, and there's still some of the same stuff left over from last year.

    Oh yes! And I forgot to add that my cost of living is low because we have no car. I have never had a car because I do not drive: never learnt to do so. My wife had a car before I met her, but she had to sell it after her falling sucker to Sergei Mavrodi's pyramid scheme.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  14. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    My arithmetical error and I was dividing by 50 for a rough rule of thumb. It's been a very long week.

    In Saratov, I pay my economist 500 USD a month and my Director 1000 USD a month. A newly engaged consultant gets 800 USD a month. All of them are above average for the town according to the HR consultant I use. I aim to pay 20% above average and two bonuses of a month's salary a year. It induces commitment. The job is then worth keeping. The economist has a sick mother and has as much flexitime as she needs. She has bought a car on this. (Although she was a bank VP in Kazhakstan before being kicked out for being Russian so she has some savings). I'd be paying more than double in Moscow as my Director and Consultant both have fluent English. Office expenses, such as rent on the other hand equal or exceed my part of the UK where the last deep mine has finally shut. It's an opencast right now and will be a housing estate. Saratov has a restaurant called Stakhanov where I have debated just how big a team supported him. I used to know people who thought this was important.
  15. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The closing of the last deep mines where I worked in Lancashire was the fundamental reason that gave rise to my being here.

    The Stakhanov story was directed at those who didn't know what deep mining entails and who are, of course, the vast majority of people. Such folk don't realize the teamwork involved in winning coal, and that for every coalface-worker on a long-wall face or, as in Stakhanov's case, collier in his own "stall" engaged in "pillar and stall" work, a back-up team is necessary to take away the coal won and to bring in roof supports as the face advances.

    The Soviet Stakhanov propaganda, however, gave the uninitiated the impression that the Hero Worker hewed immense quantities of coal with his pneumatic percussion drill (or "jigger pick" in my neck of the woods, sometimes called a "windy pick") all on his tod and without any support whatsoever. But there were other unnamed "heroes" who were "outbye" of him shovelling the coal into "tubs" (little railway wagons or "mine cars"), pushing it out along the "gates" (roadways in the seams) towards the main haulage road of the pit, and bringing back empties stacked up with timber and steel roof supports as well as "air bags" (pneumatic hoses) and steel air pipes in order to extend the pit compressed air supply to Stakhanov's pick. And I don't think Stakhanov would have done any "timbering up", namely resetting his temporary roof supports at the face and setting up supports outbye as his stall advanced: that would have been done by his support team while he banged away at the coal.

    Stakhanov clearly went at it hammer and tongue for double shifts without a break, I should think, but he couldn't have hit his record breaking tonnage all on his own.

    Incidentally, the collier in my avatar is using an electric coal drill: he is drilling shot holes into which explosives will be placed and detonated in order to loosen the coal, which will then be removed by pick and shovel.

    As regards my salary of 60,000 rubles a month, I should imagine that's the average now for Moscow. I noticed the other day here job ads on the metro for motormen: the starting salary was the same as I now earn.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  16. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Your salary would be pretty good in Lancashire actually. Here in South Wales, most non graduates outside Local government earn less than £20k a year. Lots of jobs are at minimum wage.

    For the record, as well as the shot holes above, the coal would be undercut at the bottom, depending on the coal. I've only been underground as a working visitor. My cousin was an electrician. I was an electrical engineer and he took me down (Six Bells near Abertillery - metallurgical coal, soft and gassy) to give an opinion on flame proof motors. I a currently talking to a fireproof cable company in Wrexham about exporting their cables to Russia.
  17. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Yes, I am certain it would. Last time I was back "home" in 2008, when my family and I stayed at my sister's in sunny Salford, I recall reading somewhere that the average salary in the UK was £400 a week. Well it certainly was not that sum in the North West of England when I last lived and worked there and very likely still isn't now. That's why, much to the disbelief of the natives, I always reckon that I'm better off here - and I own my own flat in central Moscow, which must be worth a pretty penny now, as well as a dacha and its plot of land, and I have three children and a wife to support, something that I didn't have in the UK.

    When Russians ask me why I came here, I tell them that the simple answer is to work, that there wasn't - or at least there wasn't 25 years ago after the 1984-85 miners' strike - any work for me in the UK.

    Most Russians find that hard to believe, until I tell them that I was sent down during the above mentioned dispute and never marched back "head held high" with the rest in March '85: I was still inside then. I came out unemployed and remained so until I found work abroad.
  18. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Moscow Exile; have you read A.J. Cronin's "The Stars Look Down"? Just curious; it was one of the best and most inspirational books I ever read, and the theme was the incredibly tough lot of the British coal miner, as well as the slothful ease of those who exploited him, and the drive of the politically honest for nationalization of the mines opposed by the politically ambitious. I think you would enjoy it immensely if you have not already read it.
  19. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    No, strangely enough, I have never read "The Stars Look Down" or any other of Cronin's works. I am aware of the content of that novel, though, as there was a film version made of it in 1940 that I have seen. Interestingly, for the sake of authenticity, the makers of the film bought "pit rags" off miners in the North West of England, which clothes actors wore in a studio mock-up pit village and in scenes around the studio pit-head. I didn't like the film, chiefly because almost all the actors talk in a strange, bogus "northern" English accent and dialect that was the standard used by the British acting fraternity in those days. Likewise, there was a Hollywood version of the book "How Green Was My Valley" by Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn, which deals with life in a Welsh pit village at the turn of the 20th century, and the "Welsh" accents in that film would, I am sure, make any Welshman cringe. Also, in that Hollywood film, the pit head is situated, for some crazy reason or other, at the top of a mountain, whereas the pits in Wales were in the valleys, which stands to reason: why sink a shaft from a mountaintop to a coal seam that can be accessed less expensively from a shaft sunk in an adjacent valley?

    I have read Zola's "Germinal", though, if only in English. Same sort of thing, this time concerning the exploitation of miners in the Pas de Calais, although Zola's "hero" in Germinal is an outsider, a drifter with a dubious background, who leads his new-found workmates in a strike, whereas Cronin's hero is an educated pit lad who fights for his community against the owner's dangerous, profit-driven plan to win coal from a dangerously located seam.

    There was, without any doubt at all, some dreadfully cruel and callous exploitation of the new proletariat class in the world's first capitalist country that is the land of my birth, which exploitation was duly noted by Messrs. Engels and Marx. There were some good coal companies, though, but at the 1914 peak of the pre-nationalized British coal industry, there were approximately 1,000 coalmines in the UK managed by over 800 privately owned coal companies. Clearly, many of these companies were small-scale and to ensure profitability they cut overheads to a bare minimum. Men were employed by these companies to hew coal - that was all. It was all piece-work. Colliers had to buy their own tools and pay for their picks to be sharpened; they even had to pay for the oil in their flame safety lamps (often wrongly called "Davy" lamps): they were simply paid for the tonnage won in their "stall". It was for this reason that British deep coal mines were amongst the last in the Western industrialized world to mechanize coal winning: why pay for expensive machinery when there is a hungry workforce desperate for work at the pit yard gates? Coincidentally, there were still some hand-won faces in the the nationalized coal mines of the 1980s. I know: I worked on one! The seam was only one yard high but was of high quality, low sulphur-content coal. Modern machinery is used on the 200 yard long faces of high-output, thick seams, not 3-foot ones. The last work on a hand-won seam that I did was done by the method that my grandfather did in the 1920s: drill, fire, fill; namely drill the shot holes, "hole" (i.e. undercut) the coal, fire the explosive charges, fill the "tubs" (mine cars, "drams" in Wales, "hutches" in Scotland).

    The bosses eventually wised up, got a social conscience or whatever, and the exploitation eased off, but my father and grandfather and millions of others of their generations experienced it in all its callous maximum-profitability-is-all nature in the British coal industry during the first 40 years of the 20th century. I say "millions" because right up to the 1930s the British coal industry was the largest male employer: over one million were employed at British pits in 1914, when the British Empire was at its mightiest and during the final years of the iron, coal and steam age. All that was to change rapidly following the end of the Great War 1914-1918 though, with the advancement of new technology. Now the once great British deep coal mining industry is almost dead and gone.

    My grandfather came back from the trenches of northern France in 1918, where he served as a Coldstream Guardsman after having joined up under-age in 1916. He joined up to serve King and Country, as they say, but also to escape the pit, where had worked since the age of 12 with his father, brothers and uncles. When he was still at school, his 16-year-old elder brother had been killed down the pit whilst working alongside my great-grandfather. In 1918 my grandfather went back to his old calling in the "Land Fit for Heroes" and underwent poverty and strikes and all the industrial trials and tribulations of the 1920s and 30s. He thought that the nationalization of the British deep mining industry on January 1st 1947 was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And then he was killed down the pit at the coal face through a "fall of ground" in 1961. He was 62 years of age at the time of his death.

    For the reasons described above, and for many others, of course, UK miners' "lodges" or union branches were often dominated by socialist, even communist principles. Some lodges had on their banners pictures of Keir Hardy, former Scottish miner and first leader of the British parliamentary Labour Party, as well as pictures of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which alarmed the local "gentry", of course, as indeed it was meant to. This gave rise to such pit villages populated by "progressives" or, depending on one's political point of view, by "red revolutionaries", being given the mocking title "Little Moscow".

    My own lodge was thus named because our penultimate union secretary of many years was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, as was his wife, and several other members of the union committee. Many of them left the party disillusioned in 1956, but they still remained "far left" and some of them were still around in the '70s when I started work down the pit.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013

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