The emergence of teaching opportunities has steadily been growing in Moscow, Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, with English being the vital connection to the Western world. Moscow is a vibrant city filled with rich Russian culture and history, providing any potential teacher the opportunity to learn more about the incredible country.
The opportunities are endless, ranging from seeing the incredible architecture of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, attempting to “Mission Impossible” it into the Kremlin, chowing down on stuffed blini, or sipping on Russian vodka, Moscow is an amazing city to live and work in.
Direct Employment with A School
Working for a school allows a teacher far more security than being self-employed. A teacher has the option to be full-time or part-time, which differs the perks of the position. A full-time position will guarantee a teacher the security of visa support and housing accommodations as well as benefits that include paid vacation time, medical insurance and discounted certification training.
A part-time position is less secure due to many of these positions are offered without contracts. The school will instead loan a teacher out to a number of different jobs required throughout your time there with support to acquire the proper visa, as well as housing support.
Contracting With a Company
Many companies in Russia hire English teachers to teach English to their employees. This position is far less secure compared to working for a school. The company will, most likely, hire a teacher as an independent, self-employed person and therefore pay you under the table. The company may assist with obtaining a visa and housing accommodations, but this is not guaranteed.
This is a popular position for teachers looking for a flexible schedule. Many of these positions are tutoring one-on-one lessons for students with a particular area of English they desire to learn. A huge market revolves around test preparations for many Russian students, so a teacher with experience prepping students for American colleges or graduate schools will be relatively successful in this area. Self-employment, however, means little to no security with obtaining a visa or housing support.
Many Russian universities hire enrolled students to teach English. The position is often part-time due to the students also studying as well. These positions are less pay, but help offset university costs for many students. Also, the contract is far more secure with a student’s connection to the university already as a student.
Finding a Job
When to look for jobs:
The best time to find a teaching position is before the beginning of each semester, September and January. Schools are often hiring the bulk of their English teachers for the year in September, but many offer different contract durations and hire throughout the school year.
Where to find a job:
The easiest, and best, place to find a teaching position is online before you go. Many Russia schools advertise their open teaching position on websites dedicated to EFL/ESL teaching positions. These websites offer reliable teaching positions and known schools in order to offer teachers the best opportunity.
Some of these schools include English First and Teach Away.
The main qualifications include a college degree and for English to be the native language of the teacher. Schools vary, however, and some require potential teachers to obtain a teaching certificate such as a CELTA or TESOL. If certificates are required, schools often help pay for the teacher to finish the course.
Need to Know
Salary depends heavily on the type of position you have taken. Teaching for a school might yield higher benefits such as an apartment and utilities allowance or free meals at school, but lower disposable income, and the same goes for working for a business. Self-employment will yield a lower income with private lessons ranging between $15-$150 per 45-minute/1-hour lessons.
Cost of Living:
Living in Moscow is on the expensive side with rent averaging between $1,500-$2,500. Often, job positions offer a rent-free apartment, but self-employment lacks any connections to finding apartments.
A popular expat neighborhood is called “Patriarshire Prudy” (Patriarch Ponds), which is near another popular neighborhood called “Sadovoye Koltso” (The Garden Ring). These areas have a quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and metro stations nearby.
Classroom & Work Culture
As with any experience of teaching in a different country, teachers will have a vast array of students that range from beginners to advance, which will affect the classroom. The atmosphere of many Russian classrooms is filled with eagerness to learn from a native speaker, which may bring about discipline issues but teachers prepared with creative games and lesson plans can easily combat this.
Dressing the part will help garner respect from students. Teachers in Russia dress commonly in a business casual style, women usually wear dresses and men wear button-up shirt with slacks.
Working in Moscow comes with long hours, but close ties. Many working relationships result in friendships and networking opportunities. Upon meeting colleagues for the first time, however, a handshake or simple head nod will suffice, whereas acquaintances will be greeted with a kiss on both cheeks.
Contributed by Samantha Coughran
Do I need a degree to teach English in Russia?
Although it is advisable and may help you find more job opportunities, a university degree is not always required. A TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA, however, is a requirement to teach English in Russia.
Is Russia expensive to live in?
The cost of living in Russia varies based on the part of the country you live in. In large cities, such as Moscow or St. Petersburg, the cost of living is high. For example, a room may cost anywhere between $700 - $1,000 in Moscow's city center. However, groceries, local restaurants, and transportation are affordable for most people.
How much do teachers earn in Russia?
Typically, an English teacher in Russia will earn anywhere between $1,000 - $1,500, depending on the teaching institution. Private language schools have a lower salary but include perks such as housing and airfare. International schools will have a higher starting salary at about $1,200.
Is it safe to teach English in Russia?
Yes, Russia is generally a safe country for tourists and teachers, alike. Like in any city, be aware of your personal belongings, avoid alleyways, and don't walk alone at night. Although you probably won't be teaching in these areas, avoid Crimea and the North Caucasus due to current civil unrest. If you're unsure, check with your home government about travel restrictions.