Teach English in Russia

Teach English in Russia

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.

Mark, 30 March 2013


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.

Jhill, 6 July 2014


Teacher training courses in Russia
Teaching jobs in Russia
English language schools in Russia
Ask a question about Russia in the forum

4 comments and teachers' experiences of Russia

  1. Laxmi Prasad Chaulagain

    Namaste, I am Laxmi Prasad Chaulagain (28) from Nepal. Currently I am learning Russian language in Moscow Power Engineering Institute (MPEI).
    I have completed my Bachelors degree in education English as major subject and I am waiting for my Master degree result.
    My simple request, may I have chance to teach English for basic learner and children?

  2. Luca

    I’ve lived and worked here for over 7 years and I can’t agree with most of what the other guys say.
    First of all if you come here on a business visa it is certainly possible to find work teaching. I wouldn’t recommend it simply because of the 3 months limit before having to get another, but it is 100% possible to get work. The same goes for US citizens on a tourist visa which is a 3 year visa!
    As for Russian women, they are incredibly beautiful and I would say if you are a decent looking European guy you’ve got every chance of finding a (or a few) very beautiful girls to start a relationship with. Just treat them properly and respect them. That being said I’ve never dated a student as I believe it to be inappropriate. But if you’re coming to Russia to find a partner it’s a great place to go. Also there’s not much of the feminist garbage that has become normality in the UK and some other western countries.
    As for actually teaching I would definitely say it is better to start at a school and then go private. You can find many private students and earn a lot more money with them than teaching at a school. You can also acquire your own working visa from an agency. The only slight downside is that there is travelling to be done to and from students. However, as I’ve been here for a while I’ve managed to stay for the majority of time in the centre of the city for good money.
    Russian winter in Moscow is cold but not horrifying.
    Overall it’s an amazing place to live and work with great people, great restaurants, night clubs bars and cafes, excellent architecture and a brilliant place to settle for a few years! Enjoy it, I know I have and am.

    • aldo

      You encourage him to respect and treat women properly in Russia yet you call the feminist movements in the UK and western countries “garbage”. Make some sense and grow up a little.

  3. Ivan

    I wrote an extensive guide on this but I’ll give you guys the TLDR version here.

    I’ve been teaching English + German for a few years now in Moscow.

    The good:

    -decent income that allows you to live somewhat well
    -you live in one of the best cities in the world with all its perks

    The bad:

    -no real future, ceiling on your income, dull work
    -students WILL frustrate you with cancellations, laziness etc.
    -you live above bum status but are constantly reminded that you aren’t going anywhere with your measly income as a freelancer

    That is working as a freelancer. If you work for a school, you’ll have a stable income but less thereof and probably more work.

    Would I recommend it?

    Hell no. Actually trying to fight my way out of it at the moment.

    For anyone who’s interested in the extended version where I also give away valuable tips for those daring enough to give this thing a try: http://moscownightguide.com/teaching-english-in-russia-guide/

Add your comment or experience of Russia

Your email address will not be published.