Teach English in Russia – the following comments are from English teachers who have taught, or currently teach English in Russia.
Hi, I’m an American who has been teaching in Russia for more than 10 years, specifically in Chelyabinsk. Nobody can really give good info about an entire country, but I can at least try to get rid of a few myths.
You do not arrive in Russia on a tourist or a business visa and expect to get a job teaching English. The stories you read about this are either very old, or just not true. Just like anywhere else, you need to be sponsored by a language school and you get a working visa. I work for a large school called The English Club in Chelyabinsk, which is a privately owed school with 5 offices in Chelyabinsk. Most jobs advertised in Russia are from large chains, otherwise known as “Teacher Mills”, which seem to have a habit of surviving only by having a constant stream of teachers to chew up and spit out. Many smaller schools are actually better options because they are privately owned and you become part of a family. If your goal is to be treated like a king or queen, why don’t you stay where you are? I’m sure wherever that is would hate to do without their monarch. If you are a guy and your thoughts turn towards finding romance with a Russian girl, you should also stay home. If you work at the same place as me and appear to be always on the prowl, I’ll make sure that you go home. A school is a place where parents entrust the safety and welfare of their kids and where adult customers don’t go to be harassed. While it may be true that the women here are better looking than where you are coming from, they are humans also and worthy of respectful treatment. They aren’t notches in your belt.
“Russia is so cold!” Well, Russia is a huge country with all kinds of climates. Where I am the temperatures are about the same as northern New England in the U.S., but there are warmer places and certainly colder places. Talking about a country this huge in generalities concerning weather is twice as foolish as speaking about the U.S. in the same terms. If your idea of research is to Google a location, believe everything you read, (after all, if it’s on the internet it must be true!) then you should also stay home.
I’ve actually not hired teachers before when they write back to me quoting verbatim some garbage they read on the internet. I guess that it shows me that they are not sufficiently creative or curious enough. Probably get all of their news from twitter or Comedy Central also.
As I mentioned, I’m a English teacher in Chelyabinsk, Russia. If someone Googles “Chelyabinsk”, one of the first things that comes up is, “Chelyabinsk, the most contaminated place on the planet” and based upon this one story, the person is now an expert. Truth be told there was a nuclear accident in the 1950’s in the Chelyabinsk region, which is an area about the size of Illinois. The accident had no effect on the city of Chelyabinsk or the surrounding area. Not much different than “Love Canal” in New York, which is also horribly contaminated, but you wouldn’t factor this in if you were offered a job in NYC. I’ve been here more than 10 years and haven’t seen either mutants or zombies.
Truth is, Russia, at least in my experience, is a great place to live and work for a foreigner. You will fall in love with the people and the lifestyle the longer you are here. just like anywhere though, you need to remember that the first and foremost reason that a school sponsored your visa was to have you do a good job teaching their students, Chances are that there will be many to most native teachers there who are both better teachers than you and also have more experience and training, so don’t think that you will be a teaching “god”, you won’t. Your main purpose there is to satisfy some customers who think somehow that having a native speaker will help them learn more. Now that I’ve hopefully knocked you off your pedestal, it is quite possible to have a most unforgettable time here as a teacher and also as a foreigner living in Russia. The pictures drawn by rookie teachers who taught here for short periods of time of corrupt cops stopping you all of the time looking to squeeze some money out of you don’t hold true most places. I have never been stopped by the police for any reason in my 11 years in Russia.
To sum it up; Russia can be a great place to work but come here knowing why you were hired in the first place and come with your eyes open. If you have a ton of requirements and demands then just stay home; the monarchy no longer exists here.
Very good advice, and this is coming from someone with 8 years of experience in Russia under his belt. What he said about the women issue is very true. If you’re coming to Russia for women, you are wrong and you need to stay home. Suffice to say that virtually anything you read on this subject is nonsense.
I can’t agree with the thing about falling in love with the people; with me it started out that way and then went 180 degrees in the other direction.
So why do I stay? Because you can make a lot of money here for very little work. That is a good reason. There are also options for travel around the area.