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Thread: English first - please advise!

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    English first - please advise!

    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.
    Raise high the roof beam, carpenters!

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    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.

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    i know somebody who worked there as an account manager, she often told me how she was ashamed about low quality of program.

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    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.

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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjw View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bels View Post
    ...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.

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    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.

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    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.
    Last edited by Qdos; 13-09-2009 at 14:23.

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    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

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    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

    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


    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

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    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 .

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    Quote Originally Posted by EsteeEstee View Post
    ...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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewing Gum View Post
    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'.

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    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!

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

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