Making Money In Moscow
Money can be made here in Moscow if you are a native English speaking teacher, good money if you know how to make it. But jobs will not just appear out of nowhere, you have to look for them, no different than in the US. Some teachers here come to Russia as contract teachers at the invitation of a school, work through their contract and then start working freelance on their own after their obligation to the school is completed. I know of one teacher who is doing this and a few teachers such as me come here at the invitation of a friend, like it, and decide to stay and teach here. Most teachers working as contract teachers all teach freelance because that is where the majority of money is. I mean let’s face it, if you have business sense, you can make very good money on your own. But there are also risks also to teaching on your own.
You have to consider who do you want to teach and what type of English you want to teach? Most ESL teachers seem to concentrate on professional clients, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, entertainment personalities. But do not forget that there are many working class and middle class parents who want their children to learn English so they will have a future. They can not afford to pay for their children to attend these private language schools, so they often try to hire private teachers without much success. You can charge them $10.00 per hour, two hours per week, and put together a class of five students. Teach three classes like this three per day, that’s $150.00 per day, you’ll be making as much as the average Russian makes in a month in one day. I have taught students like this privately and enjoyed the experience very much and the parents always paid after each class. Some teachers only prefer to teach rich kids and that is good, because there are a lot more working class and middle class kids than rich kids, so let the rest concentrate on the rich kiddies. Sure you can concentrate on only teaching the rich, but you will find that you can make plenty of money teaching the working and middle class also, more than likely a teacher who only concentrates on teaching the rich has to work at on of the schools on the side, where as a teacher who teaches all classes of people, rich, middle and working classes is a teacher who now teaches for themselves on their own. The demand to learn English is great here, so you can find clients with no trouble at all, more than you possibly can find time to teach.
Teaching jobs are easy to find for the native English speaking teacher. There must be around 200 private language schools here, out of that maybe only half worth working with. Each neighborhood here in Moscow publishes their own little newspaper, look for ads of schools in these newspapers, plus there is a weekly or monthly magazine of businesses published here with ads, this is a good magazine to find job leads. You will also find ads in the Moscow Times, an English language newspaper, both from schools and private individuals looking for English teachers. I found a good way to make extra money by working as an English language translation editor. I edit the English translations for a translation company; business is so good that I have considered doing that and stop teaching completely. The jobs are here, you just have to look for them, teaching, editing, and translations if you know Russian, plus all the international companies here are always looking for English speakers and English teachers. Money can be made here if you know how to look for jobs.
More Thoughts On Freelance Teaching
A lot of native English teachers like to place ads. How do you know you’re not setting yourself up to be robbed by somebody who answers your ad? First, where did you place ads? In a bar, bus stop, subway, grocery store, newspaper? If you advertise in a bar, bus stop, or subway, you really should stay home or go back to the US as fast as you can, because that is only asking for trouble. Criminal’s hangout at bust stops and subway stations and they do read the notices posted. Most teachers I know here advertise either in newspapers or on the Internet. You word your ad according to the type of clients you want to attract. Plus also if you teach in a school, you use your students to spread the word that you also teach privately, they will if you are a good teacher and serious. Reputation means a lot here in Russia, if you are a good teacher and clients are happy with your teaching, they will recommend you to others. Freelance teaching is where the money is in teaching here in Russia. Most teachers start off teaching with a school, then move on to freelance teaching for a reason, why split your salary with a school when it is you doing all the work. I guess it depends on your personality, some people only feel good when they work for other people and some feel good working for both others and themselves and others only want to work for themselves. But as far as I’m concerned, freelance teaching is the best, especially if your experienced and have your own resources, then you’re all set to do it.
I know several teachers who do this and they make good money teaching privately. They have business visas which are good for a year. I know of one teacher who came here on his own with a business visa and started teaching freelance, skipped over the schools completely.
Coming here to teach in the Land of Mystery is a decision I will never regret making. The Russian people are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Becoming an ESL teacher happened by accident, but it is true; you can see the world as an ESL teacher. Some people who come here have hated it here, but most are like me, loved it here. To be able to see things that I have seen is something else, to do things that I could not normally do. Coming here to Moscow, is what you make out of it, make the trip bad, then it will be bad, make the trip good, then it will be good. Moscow is not the perfect city, nor is Russia the perfect country, but it is an interesting, and fun country. If Moscow is not to your tastes, then there are many other cities looking for teachers, St. Petersburg is another popular teaching destination. Remember the old commercial, “Try it, You’ll like It!”
Excerpted and updated from "The Good And Bad Sides Of Living And Working In Russia: Survival In Russia" in Escape From America Magazine, Issue 64.