How do you start teaching in Russia? I interviewed Elizabeth who taught for a year in Russia. She shares tips and thoughts on how she got started, what teaching in Russia is like, and more.
The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?
There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share this story of teaching in Russia with you!
If you plan to be a traveling teacher, a TESOL certification is highly recommended. I got mine through International Open Academy for just $19!
This week I am excited to bring you a story about a teacher in Russia at an international school! This is an interesting interview because Elizabeth was a teacher just like I was back in the US in a major city before moving abroad and teaching in Russia. She and I definitely connect on the fact that we both taught in a classroom in the US before starting the traveling teacher life.
This interview will give you insight into what it is like to teach at an international school. On her site, The Fearless Foreigner, Elizabeth shares about daily life abroad and experiences and activities while traveling. Through stories and tips, she hopes to inspire you to try new activities and visit these destinations while giving you practical information to do so.
What inspired you to start teaching in Russia?
Ever since I was a child I wanted to be a teacher. During high school, I worked at a bank and volunteered at my elementary school. It was during this time that I debated between majoring in education or business in college. Spending time both at a school and a bank made it clear to me I wanted to make a difference in the world by teaching children.
After becoming a licensed teacher and teaching in inner-city NYC for four years I knew I needed a change. I wanted to teach abroad in Europe so I could travel throughout the European countries on my breaks from school.
How long have you taught and where?
Since high school, I have worked at summer camps, childcare and in other education-related positions. After college, I taught for four years in NYC and then one year in Russia.
How did you find your teaching position?
I found my job in Russia through JoyJobs, a great online platform to find teaching jobs abroad.
As a licensed teacher, I didn’t need a TESOL and have a degree in education.
Were any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?
I received an amazing package from my school. My school found and paid for my apartment for me. I also had free breakfast and lunch at my school. One flight a year from my home country (USA) and yearly visa costs were reimbursed. Transportation to and from the school was also included. Overall, I had very little expenses and was able to save a lot of money.
Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
The school I worked at was a British International school that followed the British school calendar. We had one week off in October, two weeks off for Christmas, a week in February, a long weekend for Easter and a week-long spring break. If you teach for more than a year you also get 6 weeks off in the summer. I used all those breaks to travel throughout Europe!
What were interactions with students like?
I worked with a challenging group of students. Although they were extremely well behaved I was assigned to a group of 2 – 3 year olds. The school had very high academic standards that the children were not emotionally ready for. Despite the school requiring students to speak English to be admitted, they allowed many of the younger kids to enter my class without speaking English.
As a result, I had many students who did not speak English. As someone who had worked with young children for many years, I had never encountered children who cried so much! In general, international schools seem to have very high academic expectations, but very low behavior problems.
What is your favorite part of teaching abroad?
Being able to travel frequently and to save money for future travels were the best parts of teaching abroad for me!
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
Make sure to read your contract closely!
You can find more specific advice at The Fearless Foreigner and find Elizabeth on Pinterest at @thefearlessforeigner if you have more questions. Find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page.