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Roadspell
01-09-2009, 13:43
Hi, a friend of mine, American guy, 34, no teaching experience but a degree in graphic design and theology, has been living in Moscow for 7 months on a religious visa, is now seeking to change his visa and become a teacher of English in Moscow. He is looking into EF English First. I myself worked there in 2005-2007, but I would like opinions of those with experience of working there now\recently, all that's good and bad about EF - it seems to be the biggest language teaching company in Moscow (and all Europe?) which promises the best to its students and employees\teachers as they say on their website, but I have heard controversal feedback.

Bels
01-09-2009, 17:50
I don't think English First is very big in Moscow. Wages are at the lowest end. However if you can get a good fulltime work contract from them, with travel costs, work visa and permit, free accomadation etc then it might be a good start. It would be wise to apply from your home country first, with a telephone interview or local interviw if they can provide. English first is simply an overpriced Franchise business, an expensive one that I would feel I had been ripped off If I was a franchisor.

I would prefer the bigger two in Russia. BKC or Language Link.

Chewing Gum
13-09-2009, 09:25
i know somebody who worked there as an account manager, she often told me how she was ashamed about low quality of program.

Bels
13-09-2009, 11:53
An observation. How many native speaking are workig for them. I have had a few students who went to one of these language centres near Moscow, and they were shocked to find out that all the teachers were Russian.

I think the main issue here is that the package income they offer to native teachers is the lowest in Russia. Hence native teachers are not attracted to work for such language centres. Due to heavy franchise royalties they can't compete with more flexible independant private language centres and private teachers.

pjw
13-09-2009, 12:00
May I butt in perhaps here and just ask a quick little question please?

So we send our CVs to all the schools and they offer a package I understand, maybe including accommodation. But if I have a flat then I can expect a slightly higher salary right?

Bels
13-09-2009, 12:07
May I butt in perhaps here and just ask a quick little question please?

So we send our CVs to all the schools and they offer a package I understand, maybe including accommodation. But if I have a flat then I can expect a slightly higher salary right?

Of course. But you will have to negotiate that. That's why you are best to apply outside Russia first to get a better deal as a full package. And for example you might have greater protection in your contract if things go wrong. Also to ensure that you have the correct visa and work permit, and they are paying for your travel costs.

pjw
13-09-2009, 12:24
...have to negotiate that. That's why you are best to apply outside Russia first to get a better deal as a full package. .....and they are paying for your travel costs.Without wanting to redirect (hijack) this thread about EF, I'd still like to pursue something here and anyway my question has to do with EF and other language schools in general.

It seems like the balance of native/non native teachers is indicative of the individual packages offered to the foreign teachers. Interesting. Are you serious about language schools perhaps paying travel too? That's attractive. A problem I presently have is that when I ask for a reference I'll get considerably less work as my employer will think I'm leaving. :rolleyes:

Bels
13-09-2009, 12:38
Try the schools that have websites seeking teachers that are currently outside the country, such as UK, Australia and North America. You will see that they offer all this. Obviously you must complete the contract to get your return flight. Now that might be a problem if you have a problem with the school half way through your contract.

But to sum up. I have calculated that you are far better off financially if you accept an offer outside Russia.

In regards to references. I believe that the prospective employer in all decency should not refer to your current employer until such time as you have ceased employment with them.

EsteeEstee
13-09-2009, 13:01
Know nothing about working in EF but can say that my son has been attending one of the EF schools here in Moscow. No improvement and almost no new knowledge of language. Poor programms. Inexperienced teachers. Useless. He got more from regular communication on different forums than from the EF.

I must add that the boy is Ok with languages, he used to take private lessons of English and French, attended other schools with no problems, travelled to Europe, etc. I personally do not have any reason to disgrace this chain except their poor quality and absolute ineffectiveness.

By the way (a bit offtopic here) but just an obvious five cents I can't resist to add - Russian teachers are not a bad sign in a language school. I believe that since we do not have crowds of true bilinguals eager to give English lessons here, Russian speaking teachers can be very useful in understanding and explaining the difficulties stemming from being a native Russian speaker and from Russian mentality.

Bels
13-09-2009, 14:16
That's why we have major problems from teenagers in state schools, where they cannot communicate in English, and end up going to language schools for native speaking teachers or find a native english teacher. The problem is that you cannot teach English by translation or discuss English grammar in the Russian language. The methods have proven not to work. And the Russian English course books are garbage and so is the state English Russian Maximer exam system.

My children in comparison are communicating well in the English language within 80 hours in comparison to state school teenagers who have been learning English for years and who know not much more than saying Hello how are you and What's your name

Bels
13-09-2009, 16:34
I think we should all make a survey to find out how much value the current TEFL employment are worth ow, with the different employers available.

A recent vacancy ad from EF in tefl.com. And don't you hate that word competitive?
Substantial would sound much better.

Vacancy: Teaching Opportun..., Indonesia, Russia..., Worldwide - TEFL.com (http://www.tefl.com/jobs/job.html?jo_id=38778)

EF English First is seeking qualified academic teachers and academic managers for our language training centers in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Chile, Thailand, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

EF English First is part of EF Education, the world's largest privately owned educational organisation with offices and schools in over 60 countries. EF offers teachers the opportunity to have a real impact on the local level in your school while being part of a solid, international organization.

EF English First offers truly global career development, whether you want to carry on teaching at another EF school in a different country, become a Director of Studies or pursue another career path at one of our many offices worldwide, we can help you achieve your goal.

To fill out our short application form, please copy and paste the following web address to your browser: Application for EF Academic Positions (http://www.englishfirst.com/trt/EF-application-form.aspx?etag=EFTRT_JobAd_TEFLComWorldwide)


Qualifications
EF is looking for confident, native-speaking English teachers who are looking for an exciting teaching post abroad. Qualifications include but are not limited to:
* a recognized teaching English as a foreign language certification (TEFL): CELTA, Trinity Cert, or TESOL preferrable.
* a university degree from a recognized institution
* work experience. Teaching experience specifically in an ESL classroom will be highly considered.


Compensation
All positions offer:
- Competitive local salary
- Paid flights
- Paid visa
- Paid holidays
- Health insurance
- Assistance with or paid accommodation
- Professional development & training
- Academic support
- Opportunities for promotion and transfer in the world's leading private educational organisation

Bels
13-09-2009, 16:55
Here,s another package offer. 600p for every 45 miutes(academic hour) about 20$ plus full package. http://www.tefl.com/jobs/job.html?jo_id=39729
English First will be fine if they are also offering $20 per academic hour

'British Business Language Centre' (BBLC)
British owned and managed school in the centre of Moscow is looking to recruit teachers for September 2009 onwards. Teaching business and general English and international exam preparation to a broad range of students from the following industries: oil and gas, banking, finance, marketing, market research, pharmaceutical. Experience in teaching business English and/or exam preparation desired.


Qualifications
-CELTA/TESOL/recognised teaching Cert essential
-University education essential
-Experience of teaching business English and international exam preparation (IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, CAMBRIDGE EXAMS) desirable
-Background in business desirable


Compensation
-Competetive monthly/hourly salaries. (hourly pay starts from 600 roubles per academic hour =approx 20$ per academic hour net)
-Free visa invitation
-Free registration
-Accomodation support
-Academic support and teacher development programmes
-Access to internet and range of teaching materials
-Friendly and supportive working environment

Hopefully they mean free visa support and work permit,free return flight and free flat. We have to be careful with the wording and not assume anything .

pjw
13-09-2009, 17:47
...Russian teachers are not a bad sign in a language school....... Russian speaking teachers can be very useful...... Russian mentality.........Hi Estée, Nobody is putting down Russian teachers here. There can be no hierarchy of teachers based on nationality. A teacher is a unique and personal animal, if u will forgive the expression, whose expertise is based on their particular studies, experience and personality. No two teachers are the same. No two student-teacher relationships are the same.

I mentioned that the balance of native/non-native teachers in any one place gives a clear indication of the packages the schools are offering, visas, travel etc. Nothing more. But I do agree with Bels that a language is optimally taught using the target language. So Estée, I hope your son has better luck elsewhere. Let us know how he gets on please. :10293:

Grumpygummy
14-09-2009, 01:30
i know somebody who worked there as an account manager, she often told me how she was ashamed about low quality of program.


I knew someone who had sent her 10-year-old daughter to a summer language camp with EF in the countryside outside Moscow. When the woman once came there on a weekday she saw that the kids were having their 'classes' in a tiny room under a staircase where there weren' t even desks. The teacher was missing as well. When the girl returned home the only note in her exercise book was 'Dima' - the teacher's name. She also had participated in some competitions held there and she was given a diploma 'The cleverest gerl in our camp'.

pjw
14-09-2009, 01:34
I'm slowly but surely starting to build some quite firm opinions about the school. There seem to be two possibilities, either the whole organisation is somehow foul or just mostly!:punk:

And this Dima. From modest beginnings he reached the very top. A modern day Russian success story. Bravo! :applause:

oscarverbumdei
15-09-2009, 15:11
i was offered to work there last year, i was shocked by the salary, it was a misery :(

ndemeis
16-09-2009, 07:23
If you go to Dave's ESL cafe you can find a lot of posts about EF in the forum.

Now each need to be taken with a grain of salt. I've had some bad experiences at some schools while friends of mine working there loved it. A friend of a friend is working at EF in SpB and she loves it. Has only good things to say about it.

As for the whole teaching debate there are good teachers and bad teachers. Typically in Russia no certification is required to teach as a native speaker. I did this for awhile. Once getting my certification I discovered how awful of a teacher I was and how much harder I made teaching on myself. Since getting certified I find my classes to run smoother, my students enjoy it more and I myself enjoy it more.

So the level of teaching all depends. The school I work for only hires CELTA certified teachers, not to say that it makes it a better school but sure beats out the backpacking teaching who come to Russia to study and find teaching as a way to make a few extra bucks.

pjw
16-09-2009, 09:54
A friend of a friend is working at EF in SpB and she loves it. Has only good things to say about it. I also heard from someone who I didn't know was working at EF that it's quite a nice package they offer. So it's worth thinking about. Maybe we judged EF too harshly too swiftly.

sure beats out the backpacking teaching who come to Russia to study and find teaching as a way to make a few extra bucks.Teachers are like homemade pies, no 2 are exactly the same.
As learners are different too and so combination permutations are countless, endless. But I firmly believe that a teacher needs to be willing to deliver a bit of longterm commitment to the job at hand and not just rock in and roll out. Good teachers are the ingredients of a good school. Everyone has their nightmare memories of the powerwielding control freak thugs, the boring snobtypes, the pompous and proud divas etc, but likewise, we carry our fond lifelong memories of the special and caring teachers we've been lucky to have. :sunny:

oscarverbumdei
16-09-2009, 11:08
they pay a misery and as any business they only think on how to pay less and earn more, not caring about the quality of teachers, lessons, etc

Bels
16-09-2009, 14:44
they pay a misery and as any business they only think on how to pay less and earn more, not caring about the quality of teachers, lessons, etc

Have you any idea how much English First pay, because as stated they do offer a nice package. But of course they have to if they are seeking native English expats. But I'm wary of this dodgy competitive income phrase.

As I said if it's much the same as the other employer stated of $20 a hour perhaps they are not so bad as we thought. Providing it is plus the whole package they offer of course.

Unfortunately my guess is that when we eventually write a league of TEFL employers wage packages in Russia,I have a strange feeling that EF will be bottom in the 4th division.

pjw
16-09-2009, 15:55
they pay a misery and as any business they only think on how to pay less and earn more, not caring about the quality of teachers, lessons, etcA couple of questions for U. It is clear that U have a poor opinion of EF. When did u work for them? I want to identify where your bitterness is coming from. What did they do to u?

Bels
16-09-2009, 16:08
Good point. More facts and less opinions, and let us be a bit more informative here in comparison to the other slagging teachers' forums.

Whether this would be on the positive side, on the negative side or a mixture of the two, I am not sure for the moment.

I must admit though, so far from what I have read BKC International House and LanguageLink look more positive than EnglishFirst if we are talking about Russia.

Bels
16-09-2009, 16:16
I also heard from someone who I didn't know was working at EF that it's quite a nice package they offer. So it's worth thinking about. Maybe we judged EF too harshly too swiftly.Teachers are like homemade pies, no 2 are exactly the same.
As learners are different too and so combination permutations are countless, endless. But I firmly believe that a teacher needs to be willing to deliver a bit of longterm commitment to the job at hand and not just rock in and roll out. Good teachers are the ingredients of a good school. Everyone has their nightmare memories of the powerwielding control freak thugs, the boring snobtypes, the pompous and proud divas etc, but likewise, we carry our fond lifelong memories of the special and caring teachers we've been lucky to have. :sunny:

Pjw. We were recently communicating recently to a new member on the introductions section of expat.ru. This new member stated that BKC IH had a very nice package and that she will be working with them very soon. Hopefully you are not getting mixed up with Language centres.

pjw
16-09-2009, 16:29
No I'm not getting mixed up. I know that BKC IH and Learning Link and English First are 3 different schools. Just someone I know PMed me and stated that he works at EF and his package is quite good. So it stopped me and made me think that we're perhaps only seeing part of the reality here. It's so easy to mob something without facts, just because of our personal bad luck or opinions. I will never badnote a school on principle unless I have real reasons. If they treated me bad then it's my prob, doesn't mean the school's bad.:punk:

ndemeis
16-09-2009, 19:54
I also think that other opinions are usually very strong if they had a negative experience. I've had positive experiences at several schools and thats what I would expect. However I did not rush on to any message board to write about how great it was. I feel as though other may do the same it is usually only when we have a negative experience that we find it necessary to broadcast it to the world and so with that I usually find with every negative experience there are several more positive ones that go unmentioned. We learned in business school that on average for ever 1 dissatisfied customers he will tell 10 people but for every happy customer you are lucky if they tell 1 person.

With that said as I've looked around people are making more money than me at my current contract. I have yet to start at this school (finally coming back to Russia today!) but when I met the DOS he seemed like a great guy and the school seemed very well put together which was important for me. So I don't think money is everything. There are lots of things that we can't put dollar signs on. For me time will tell but I'm hoping that it will lead to good things for me.

Also DOS change all the time and the question of when said person had a bad experience there should also be taken into consideration. It seems that turn around time for employees in Russia seem to be 3-4 years and then someone new comes in.

Lastly the person who wrote about having bad experiences there. It seems your English is not perfect and one would assume your a Russian teacher. I've found that there are vast difference for Russian teachers and Native teachers. Some schools start their Russian teachers at 150r an academic hour while Natives start at 450r and ah. This could be a the difference what could be great for Natives would be hell for Russians.

There is a lot to consider. Also one of the things all my tutors in CELTA told us was to get to the country first on a business visa or tourist visa and visit places. You can usually find higher wages from places that don't advertise and are smaller schools. There are lots in Russia that I never see online but I know are looking. Especially with Russia if you've never been its not for everyone and you may get here and hate it. So why lock yourself into a contract for a year when you've never met anyone who works there, never saw your resources and where your teaching. All very important IMO.

Bels
16-09-2009, 20:24
Well said Ndemis. So how much a per week or month does a native qualified speaking EFL teacher earn in English First in Moscow or St Petersburg.

Also which schools can you now find in Russia that does not require a suitable qualification such as Trinity, TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or TESL.

There are many excellent TEFL qualifications around, and Cambridge is not the one and only one providing a good qualification. There is a good link from the British Council of which they specify what is required of a good TEFL qualification. Weekend courses and 16 hour distance courses are of no use to anybody at all, including the prospective EFL teacher.

Bels
16-09-2009, 20:38
I remember stating here and on another teachers' forum that I would never bad word another English language centre without evidence. It was Harvard English school of Moscow. And did the evidence pour in ? In the end it was listed as a very bad school for teachers and students. I'm sure there are a few who remember this school. It's very rare for expat.ru to speak badly of any school, but for this particular English language centre, it was an exception.

But facts with evidence is much appreciated if this ever happens again. One of the biggest issues with teachers is non payment of teachers, and having no financial means of getting out of Russia.

tilston15381
29-10-2009, 19:03
EF = Awful!!!!

I work there part time (a few hours a week) and STILL they manage to mess up my registration and my visa EVERY time I leave Moscow for a holiday!!

Plus their classes are always uneven. Example...Elementary students in intermediate classes!!