Find Your Dream TEFL Job

Quick Facts

  • Degree Required

    None

  • Salary

    $500-1,650/month

  • Visa

    Work Visa in advance

  • Age

    21-60

  • Contract

    12 months

  • Cost of Living

    $500-1,500/month

  • Typical Students

    Business Professionals, Children

  • Interview

    Phone / Video call / In person

What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Russia?

Russia’s rapid growth of both international trade and tourism means that this enigmatic country has a huge demand for English teachers right now.

The majority of TEFL jobs in Russia are in private language centres, teaching English to both children and adults who want to top up the fairly basic English skills that they learn at school. There’s also a buoyant market for teaching business English, with a high demand from businesses who want to learn English in order to have an impact on the global stage.

Many TEFL teachers top up their income by offering private tuition. It’s fairly common to be approached by students who want to supplement or replace classes that you’ve been teaching through a language centre. Make sure you check the terms of your contract before you take on any private lessons however. Teaching contracts frequently include clauses that prohibit this, particularly if the initial contact has been made through the language centre.

Teaching at private language centres in Russia

Private language centres in Russia cater for both children and adults. Although English is taught in schools, it tends to be fairly basic, meaning that Russians are keen to top up their English skills for either personal or professional purposes. As many of your students will be at school or work during the day, the peak teaching hours for private language centres are late afternoons, evenings and weekends.

Lessons tend to be relatively informal, with the dress code more casual business attire than a full suit. Your students are likely to be lively and engaged and you can harness this energy by getting your class involved in lots of interactive activities.

Finding a job

TEFL jobs in private language centres in Russia are advertised on TEFL jobs boards, such as Love TEFL. You’ll normally need to submit your CV and/or an application form in the first instance. You’ll then be invited for an interview, which can take place by video call if you’re not in Russia.

It’s also acceptable to approach employers direct when you’re looking for a teaching job in Russia. This strategy is particularly effective in you’re already in Russia and can attend an interview in person.

Most TEFL contracts last between nine to twelve months initially, although there can be room for negotiation.

When to apply

Due to the strong demand for TEFL teachers, you can find jobs teaching English in Russia advertised all year round on TEFL jobs board such as Love TEFL.

However, recruitment peaks for the start of the new school year in September and, to a lesser extent, in January. Private language centres will normally advertise vacancies several months in advance, so look out for positions for English teachers in Russia on jobs boards during the spring and summer months in particular.

Teaching hours & Class sizes

You’ll normally have between 25 to 30 teaching hours per week at a private language school in Russia. You will need to put in time for lesson preparation and admin tasks on top of that, so expect to work around 35 to 40 hours per week in total.

Private language centres have relatively small classes. Around ten students is normal, although you could well have fewer and may even be asked to teach the odd one-to-one lesson.

Salary & Bonuses

If you’re a newly qualified TEFL teacher, you can expect to earn a salary of around $850 to $1,250 per month teaching English in Russia. You can usually negotiate a higher salary if you have previous English teaching experience or higher level qualifications.

It’s also common to have a good package of benefits attached to your core wage. This could include accommodation, reimbursed cost of flights, health insurance and/or a completion bonus. As rent is high in Russian cities, free or subsidised housing can make a huge difference to your monthly finances.

Vacation

If you’re teaching English in Russia, you should be given paid holiday. The number of days you’re allocated will depend on your employ, although around 20 to 25 days of holiday per year is usual. You may well get public holidays on top of this.

Private language centres operate all year round. However, you may be expected to time your holidays to fit with the peaks and troughs of the teaching calendar – with students often away during the summer months of July and August.

Pros

  • Class sizes are small
  • You should be given paid holiday
  • You’ll often get additional benefits, such as housing and a completion bonus

Cons

  • Wages aren’t great, particularly in comparison to living costs
  • Most teaching hours will be in the evenings and weekends, which can impact on your social life

Teaching at public schools in Russia

English is taught in public schools in Russia however the lessons are limited and most students leave school with only minimal English skills. If you have a formal teaching qualification, teaching experience and can speak Russian you may be able to find a job teaching English in a public school but opportunities are few and far between.

If you do want to teach English in a school in Russia, you’ve got a better chance of finding work in a private school. There are a number of private international schools across Russia, which cater mainly for expats plus a sprinkling of schools that focus on Russian children.

Competition for posts can be fierce, so you will need a formal teaching qualification plus teaching experience to have a reasonable chance of finding work. However, if you do land a job teaching English in an international school in Russia, you should be rewarded with good pay and conditions.

Finding a job

You’ll normally need a formal teaching qualification and previous teaching experience to teach English at a school in Russia. Most schools will expect you to commit for a minimum of two years.

If you meet the criteria, look at for teaching posts advertised on specialist jobs sites, such as Love TEFL and TES as well as on the schools’ own websites. You are likely to be asked to submit an application form and/or CV, which will be followed by an interview. You may also be asked to provide proof of your qualifications.

When to apply

The majority of teaching jobs in schools start at the beginning of the new school year in September. There’s also a second, smaller window for posts starting in January. Schools can advertise vacancies up to a year in advance, so start looking out for adverts the autumn before you want to begin teaching in Russia.

Schools can keep recruiting right up the start of the new term if they have not filled positions and may occasionally take on new staff during the school year if an urgent vacancy arises. This means that it’s always worth enquiring about any opportunities – but you’re far less likely to find a job teaching English in a school outside of the main recruitment periods.

Teaching hours & Class sizes

Most teaching contracts are for 35 to 40 hours per week. You should be given a structured timetable at the start of the term, which may include time for preparation and additional non-teaching activities within the school. Some schools also expect you to cover extra-curricular events that take place after the main school day and in the evenings and weekends.

Class sizes vary between schools but tend to be smaller than in many other parts of the world. On average, you can expect around 20 pupils per class.

Salary & Bonuses

Teaching positions in international schools tend to be better paid than in language schools – it’s not unheard of for an experienced, qualified English teacher to earn as much as $3,000 per month.

You’re likely to get additional benefits on top of your core pay, including accommodation, reimbursement of flights, medical insurance and shared accommodation.

Vacation

One of the great advantages of teaching English in a school in Russia is the holidays. The school year runs from September to June, followed by a long summer break. If your contract lasts for more than 12 months, you should have at least four weeks paid holiday over the summer plus several additional weeks of paid vacation during the course of the school year.

Pros

  • Good wages and benefits package
  • Regular teaching hours
  • Long holidays

Cons

  • Competitive jobs market
  • Teaching qualifications and experience essential
  • High expectations of teachers, including covering extra-curricular activities
Various photos of Russia

Other types of teaching work in Russia

Russia’s drive for international trade has led to a booming market in teaching business English, both through language centres and direct with companies. Either way, you’ll normally be expected to deliver lessons to employees on a company’s premises. If you’re working with more than one company, this can require travel between several locations in a day.

You can earn around $1,500 per month teaching business English classes and teaching on-site can give you a brilliant insight into Russian business life. However, you’re unlikely to get benefits such as accommodation or insurance and the travel between locations can be time-consuming, so make sure you factor this in if you’re weighing up different options.

There is also a big demand for teaching private English lessons in Russia. This can be relatively lucrative, with experienced tutors charging between $25 to $35 per hour. It’s common for students at language centres to approach their English teachers for private tuition. However, make sure that you check the terms of your contract first, as many employers ban teachers from working privately.

Am I eligible to teach in Russia?

Russia is one of the more lenient countries when it comes to teaching English in Europe. Both candidates from a “native English speaking” country and those from Europe can legally find work (and employers to sponsor their visas). There have also been cases of other passport holders being able to find work in Russia.

A Bachelor’s degree is not essential to teach English in Russia but you can expect candidates with a degree to be given preference by employers. The essential qualifications to teach in Russia are a TEFL certificate and a strong command of the English language.

How can I get a visa?

You will need a work visa to teach English legally in Russia. Once you’ve been offered a TEFL job, your employer should provide you with the relevant paperwork to support your application, including an original letter of invitation and job offer. You’ll also need to prove you’ve got a clean bill of health and take an HIV test in order to get your visa.

Russia issues work visas for both single and multiple entry into the country. If you’re planning to leave the country at any point (such as a trip home for Christmas), make sure you request a multiple entry permit or you could find yourself at the border, unable to return to your job.

It’s also important to be aware that your visa will be tied to your employer. If you want to move to a different job, you’ll normally have to leave the country and apply for a fresh visa, sponsored by your new employer.

Where can I teach English in Russia?

The majority of English teaching jobs in Russia are in the big cities, with Moscow and St Petersburg topping the list.

If you’re looking for an authentic Russian experience, teaching English in Moscow is hard to beat. This thrilling city, home to the Kremlin and Red Square, is bursting full of energy, fascinating politics, history around every corner and amazing arts and culture – not to mention a great social scene. Few people speak English and signs on both transport and in restaurants are normally only in Russian, so be prepared to find new ways to communicate – although this can be a great way to pick up Russian fast!

The stunning grandeur of St Petersburg is also a brilliant option for TEFL teachers, particularly if you want to live and teach in a more westernised culture, packed full of both sumptuous palaces and world class art, music and ballet. This gorgeous city is often compared to Venice, with its network of elegant canals and fascinating history. Communication tends to be a little easier here too, with signs often in English as well as Russian.

Outside these cities, TEFL jobs are far less common – although some certainly do exist. Keep your eye out for adverts on Love TEFL, to make sure you grab any opportunities that come along.

Various photos of Russia

What are the challenges of teaching English in Russia?

One of the biggest challenges you’ll encounter on a day-to-day basis in Russia is communication. Most Russians speak very few foreign languages and, even in the cities, signs tend to only be in Russian. St Petersburg is the main exception, where both menus and metro signs have English translations. Even here however, it’s definitely worth investing in Russian language classes and a good phrase book. If you’re up for a challenge, you could even try to conquer the Russian alphabet!

Another challenge TEFL teachers face is the extremes of Russian weather. While most people have heard about the super-freezing temperatures in winter, you can never really prepare for minus 30 until you experience it. New teachers can also get caught out by heat of the summer, which can rise to over 30 degrees in Moscow – making those woolly hats feel a bit out of place!

Finally, make sure you pack bags of patience to cope with the bureaucracy. While it’s not quite as bad as its reputation, be ready to have multiple forms stamped for pretty much anything you want to do.

Cost of living in Russia

You should earn enough teaching English in Russia to cover your living costs and may even be able to save a little if you live outside the main cities.

Having said that, Moscow is expensive. In fact, if you have to pay for your own accommodation, you could easily use up your wages on this alone. The simple way around this is to look for one of the many TEFL positions that offers housing as part of the package. If this isn’t possible, try to find shared accommodation to keep your costs down.

Apart from the high housing prices in Moscow, costs are not particularly steep. Transport around the main cities is easy to use and cheap. A simple meal in a mid-range restaurant will set you back around $10 to $15 and a local beer costs around $2. Just make sure you steer clear of western style restaurants, as these will charge you a premium.

About Russia

Simply saying the name ‘Russia’ evokes images of grand arts, tumultuous history and political conspiracies – all cloaked by a certain enigmatic obscurity.

In reality, Russia is overwhelmingly welcoming. The cities are packed full of stunning architecture, with walled fortresses, spiralling towers and grand palaces galore. In vivid contrast, the magnificent vast swathes of outback encompass both centuries old traditional living and adrenaline fuelled adventures from trekking up active volcanos in the bear-inhabited region of Kamchatka to ski-ing down the stupendous Caucasus mountains.

And then there’s the layer upon layer of culture and history – from Tolstoy and Pushkin to the Tsars and the Russian Revolution. Leave your prejudgements at home – Russia is a country truly worth exploring.

Russian culture

Russia spans two continents and nine time zones, so it’s hardly surprising that there’s a huge diversity in culture across this gigantic country. The European cities offer a fairly westernised, modern approach to life while territories such as Siberia and Mongolia provide a tougher, though incredibly worthwhile, challenge for western English teachers.

One big concern of many newly arrived English teachers is that the political environment is wildly different from the west. In practice however, you should be as safe teaching English in Moscow or St Petersburg as in any city in the west. While it’s sensible to avoid bringing political debate into your English lessons, most people you come across won’t think too deeply about politics on a day-to-day basis.

In general, Russian classrooms tend to be fairly laid back rather than super-controlled. Although it’s important to remain professional, you can normally dress relatively casually and encourage your students to interact during lessons.

Various photos of Russia
Various photos of Russia

Russian cuisine

Russia is not known for its high cuisine. It’s more of a hearty meal sort of a place – with plenty of broth and dumplings on the menu. That’s not to say you can’t find tasty dishes to sample. Borsht is a perfect example – a rich vegetable (often beetroot) soup topped with dill and sour cream, which can be the perfect antidote to struggling through the bitter winter cold after a solid day’s teaching.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you’ll be delighted with the selection of cakes and pastries that you’ll find piled high in cafes across the country. Even better, teachers will often share sweet treats in the staff room. Just remember to bring in your own to offer too!

And finally, we can’t talk about Russia without mentioning vodka. It’s everywhere and comes in a huge range of flavours and sizes. You won’t get away without sampling a shot or two, so grin and bear it – after all, it’s part of the culture!

Accommodation in Russia

Accommodation is expensive in Russian cities, particularly in Moscow. If at all possible, try to find an employer who will include housing as part of your wage package – your monthly budget will be severely dented if you have to pay for your own apartment. If all else fails, try looking outside of the city and/or share with fellow ex-pats to keep costs down.

Outside of the main cities, living conditions are likely to be more basic than you’re used to. This is not to say that you can’t live comfortably – but do adjust your expectations before you go.

Weather in Russia

The weather in Russia can be extreme and the winter is most definitely cold. Between November and March, both Moscow and St Petersburg are covered in snow and have an average temperature of minus ten degrees. That feels positively warm however, when compared to Oymaykon. Officially the coldest inhabited place on earth, this chilly town averages a distinctly frosty minus 60 degrees in winter!

Russia does warm up over the summer months however, with temperatures in Moscow and St Petersburg rising to the mid-twenties and sometimes even higher.

Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.

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