Russia: Mission to teach in Moscow
Living and working
Moscow is a fantastic city. The Moscovites say ‘Moscow never sleeps’ and it is so true. There is so much to see and do as the city is changing all the time as it adapts to its new democratic way of life. The Russian language is a very difficult language to learn but in time I think I will learn it.
I’ve been living in the west side of the city in Kralatskoe for seven months. My one-bedroom apartment is paid for by the school and is considered to be luxurious by Russian standards and is certainly bigger that my apartment in England.
I work at the International School of Moscow and teach upper primary and middle school maths. It’s a new school with 250 children from 30 different nationalities. They range in age from three to 12 years.
Flowers for the teacher
On the first day of school, lots of children arrived with flowers for their teacher, a Russian tradition which was a lovely welcome. It was my first day too, so I felt apprehensive because I was unsure what to expect but was quickly reassured by older colleagues. The school day began with assembly followed by lessons. At the end of the day we found time for reflection at our staff meeting. The day was tiring but enjoyable.
Most of the children don’t have English as their first language but have to speak English in all lessons as the school follows the English national curriculum. Teachers have to be aware of this when planning lessons and modify language to help children understand their subject material.
A typical day
Staff normally arrive at school between 7.30-8.00am and the children arrive for registration after 8.00am. Lessons start at 8.30am and finish at 3.30pm. During this time, there are four one hour lessons and two 45 minute lessons with usual breaks.
Pros and cons
Teaching here is a pleasurable experience with many positive elements and very few negative experiences. My school is well-run with a supportive staff team. Communication and relationships with parents are good too and many of them are involved in the life of the school. There is also a very caring policy for all the children.
Moscow is a unique city with a growing expat community. The work is extremely pleasurable if sometimes time consuming and tiring. Expectations are high from both parents and staff so children are highly motivated and never give up when faced with challenges.
I haven’t worked with young children before so this has been a massive challenge to me. Although I know my subjects well, adapting schemes of work for younger children has not always been easy. I have had to modify language and try to cope with lots of different levels of ability as well as make sure planning and preparation are tailored to the needs of all the children I teach.
Moscow is quoted as the most expensive city in the world. And it is if you want to go to theatres and clubs but there are lots of places which are moderately priced. Transportation is very cheap with petrol less than 50p per litre and metro rides less than 30p. Price of food varies according to where you shop. The most expensive supermarkets dealing in Western foods are expensive. But local markets where fresh seasonal produce is available are much cheaper and very high quality.
The best of times
I have just returned from the school’s first ski trip to Switzerland which was a fantastic experience. Working at the school has been a pleasure but a personal high was the first ever French day in school when the children performed an assembly in French and continued the theme throughout the day.
If you are open-minded and prepared for a change then I would recommend Moscow to you. Once you get to know Russian people, you’ll find that they are mostly kind and helpful.
I used Teachers International Consultancy to help me find work and they were brilliant. I even had a follow-up support visit from the director of the company.
For further information contact:
Teachers International Consultancy
Gabbitas, overseas recruitment consultancy
TES overseas jobs
Council of international schools
ISC research, provides statistics and other useful information
For more advice on working abroad, visit Teaching overseas