Teaching English in Russia can be both a challenging yet rewarding experience. It is an opportunity to live in a mysterious and fascinating country and interact with its people. There are many things to do and places to explore. From its sprawling and bustling capital city of Moscow to its quaint, Siberian villages and towns, living in Russia is truly a unique and valuable adventure.
You should be able to search for jobs and apply online to find work in Russia. You will be given a phone interview, and if successful, will be hired from overseas and sent the necessary documents to acquire your work visa. Once you are in Russia, you will be able to interview on location and will have more options for finding teaching jobs.
Private Language Academies/Schools:
The most popular option for novice teachers are the large private language academies, such as BKC International House, and Language Link. Instructors are expected to teach around 30 hours per week to a wide range of students, from children to adults. These schools typically offer a monthly salary of between US$1,000 to $1,200, shared accommodation, and airfare reimbursement.
Average contract lengths are 9-12 months with the possibility of extension. These schools may require you to have an internationally recognized TEFL Certificate. The most widely known certification programs are the Cambridge CELTA and the Trinity Certificate in TESOL.
Teaching English to Business Professional:
Becoming a corporate EFL Teacher is an option for people who do not want to teach children. With a program such as IPT, you will teach most of your classes in-company and will need to travel from office to office. Classes are generally taught in the mornings and evenings. Twelve month full-time and part-time contracts are available. A full-time contract will usually be 24 academic hours per week plus travel time. Requirements include a TEFL Certificate and university degree. Compensation is a monthly salary and may not include accommodation.
Qualified and experienced teachers can find work in International Schools. You will be teaching expatriate children living in Russia. Salaries are higher than in the private schools and housing is included.
Many teachers supplement their incomes with private students. You can most easily find students by word of mouth. Most schools have policies against teaching privately, so you should be informed and discreet.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
The most popular cities for job seekers are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Both cities contain beautiful architecture, historic landmarks, and a plethora of cultural attractions. Public transportation is quite extensive and you can easily navigate your way around each city without breaking the bank.
It is possible to find work in Russia all year round, however its peak hiring months are September and January.
Most schools are looking for candidates with university degrees and TEFL certification (RSA/Cambridge, Trinity College, or equivalent). Equivalent TEFL certificate programs should include 100-120 hours of classroom instruction plus 6-8 hours of observed teaching time.
After you are hired, most employers should provide the necessary paperwork for acquiring a work visa. To apply for the visa you will need an Original Letter of Invitation, which your school will mail to you. You will also need to submit an original HIV blood test (AIDS) Certificate. This certificate is valid for only 3 months, so you will need to take an HIV test no earlier than 3 months before applying for the visa.
Be aware that there are single-entry and multiple-entry work visas. If you are issued a single-entry visa you will be permitted to enter Russia only once, meaning that you cannot travel outside of the country and return to Russia during your stay. More information on visas can be found at VISA HQ.
Salary & Cost of Living:
Depending on experience, the average salary for an English teacher in Russia varies from USD $1,000 to $1,500 per month. Teachers are often asked to sign a form saying they will not “poach” students from the school to offer private lessons.
However, it is not uncommon for students to approach teachers if they are planning to drop out of the school to ask for private tutoring sessions. Private students can also be found through networking. Teachers usually charge around US$30 per hour, depending on the circumstances.
Moscow is known for being an expensive city. However, the cost of living in Russia can be affordable for the average citizen if you are careful with your spending. Most people moving to Russia for the first time choose to work in a school that provides housing. This is a huge advantage, because finding affordable housing in the cities may be a challenge. Quality and location of the apartments may vary widely.
Accommodations in the cities are expensive. Most apartments will cost around USD $600 or more plus utilities. Rooms in central Moscow can cost USD $700 - 1,000. A typical teacher’s salary is not enough to comfortably cover rent, so it is advisable to find shared housing. Utilities will be an additional USD $40 and Cable TV/Internet is approximately USD $50 per month.
Classroom & Work Culture:
If you work in a private language academy, you will most likely be teaching students in the afternoon or evening hours after they have finished school or work. The classrooms are fairly casual and business attire is not required. If you are teaching in a corporate location, you will need to dress appropriately.
It is useful to have some classroom management skills, although an authoritative classroom is not expected. Russian students tend to be active and engaged in the lesson and you can expect a have some lively discussions.
A typical greeting in Russia is a handshake, which should be used in business settings. Female friends will often kiss on the cheek when they meet, while males will pat each other on the back or hug.