Impressions of a teacher living in Moscow

Discussion about TEFL jobs in Europe

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Impressions of a teacher living in Moscow

Unread postby Bilush » 15 Dec 2006, 15:11

The city
Al our teachers enjoy Moscow. There’s no hiding the fact that the transport system is overloaded but there is something here for everyone ranging from casinos and night clubs to some of the best concert music and theatre in the world. Boredom is not an option here. The local economy may be best described as dollar-rouble. By this I mean we have native Muscovites earning no more than 1500 roubles a month (about 60 dollars) as well as natives and foreigners earning 1500$ a day! The life and leisure of most EFL teachers sits comfortably in the middle of these to extremes.

This is the standard ex-pat joint for most teachers. It’s not always my cup of tea but the food is great and for the British and Australians, there is SKY SPORTS. It’s the one place you can go if you want to hear wall-to-wall English. It gets very crowded on Friday and Saturday evenings but at most other times you can find a seat or sit at the bar and watch Premiership football.

How far does the salary go?
We all live reasonably. None of us wants to eat in the most expensive restaurants every night – or throw away hard earned money through an addiction to gambling. But a top night out, no holes barred once a week is well within everybody’s pocket. The school pays for accommodation and offers a monthly travel ticket, which is key as the housing market here is hideously expensive. By contrast snacks, business lunches and good quality fast food (I don’t mean McDonald’s) are all ridiculously cheap.

Getting out and about.
The region is well worth exploring, as is the country as a whole – but it’s BIG. Locally, there are churches and monasteries, writers’ houses, parks, waterways and places of outstanding natural beauty. Further afield there are the artistic and architectural splendours of St Petersburg. The place is a bit too far away for a weekend trip unless you can still manage to cut the mustard in class on Monday morning having had poor quality sleep in the wagon coupe on the train the night before. In the summer holidays, there is also Ukraine: Kiev (9 hours away), Lwow and Odessa. British nationals need no visa for the country. I’ve done all this year.

Personal conduct on the streets and on the Metro.
The Police here have a not-undeserved reputation for truculence. However, I have never had any problem with them. On the few occasions I’ve been approached, I’ve always been in a position to conduct myself with sobriety and courtesy and have had courtesy extended to me in return. An obvious lack of either, especially the former, might get you into trouble. Always carry your passport. The Metro is, in terms of architecture and décor, an absolute delight. But it’s dog-eat-dog at rush hour times. Luckily, as teachers, our timetables mean that we largely don’t need to use the system when it’s operating at its busiest.
Please consult the Moscow Lonely Plant guide for more detailed information.

The school
I am the senior teacher at the Windsor school of English, Moscow. We are a family based school and family values govern the behaviour and management and administration. This makes for a very ‘Russian’ experience as far as the the British, North Americans, Australians and New Zealanders who work, or have worked, with us are concerned. On first impression, this might sound like a recipe for disorganization but mutual support at times of difficulty is always immediate and unconditional, and more beneficial to me professionally and personally than just about any other working environment I have enjoyed. We all argue a lot, but more as siblings than as egotistical colleagues.

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Re: Impressions of a teacher living in Moscow

Unread postby melissajpierce » 14 Sep 2009, 20:29

I'm really happy to read this post. I have been considering teaching English is Russia for a few years now, and I think this year I am ready to make the commitment. I have so many questions that I could ask you about Russia and TEFL! If you don't mind :)

-how does the online TESOL certificate work? Do I stay here and then when I finish the course find a Job teaching?

-How does housing work for teachers living in Moscow? I know that it probably depends on who you are working for.

-How difficult is it to get obtain a work visa? How long do they last? Can you renew it?

I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty of things.

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Joined: 25 Aug 2009, 09:31
Status: Teacher

Re: Impressions of a teacher living in Moscow

Unread postby larryparadine » 16 Sep 2009, 18:52

I'll leave it to the OP (Bilush) to answer melissa's questions, but I advise melissa to broaden the scope of her search by joining and posting to a forum that deals specifically with teaching in Russia. I live in Russia but not in Moscow and have never worked for Windsor, so don't feel qualified to comment, but I know that the forums I've mentioned (pm me for their details) contain threads about teaching in Moscow generally and for Windsor in particular that are rather less enthusiastic than Bilush's whole hearted endorsement.

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