Teaching English in Russia Pros and cons of different jobs

Russia is one of several countries in Europe but outside the EU, where you are not restricted by passport. This means that teaching English in Russia is an option for people of all nationalities. Tim is an Australian English teacher in Russia and told us more about the pros and cons of the different TEFL jobs in Russia.

Teaching English in Russia is a great option for new and experienced TEFL teachers. There are several different types of jobs to teach English in Russia, including as a governess, in a language school and in a kindergarten. TEFL jobs in Russia are also available for non EU English teachers and for non native English teachers. Check out our post for all the details. #TEFL #TeachEnglish #Englishteacher #TESOL


If you hail from a climate of intense heat, unrelenting sandstorms and free-market capitalism then keep reading. I’m here to provide any potential comrades with an insight into the life of teaching English in Russia.

Let’s begin with exactly how you want to work hard for the money, and for the benefit of the motherland. There are 3 main ingredients in the Russian teaching scene: being a governor/governess, teaching adults in a language school and teaching children in a private kindergarten.

So, to keep things simple, honest and open here is a very abridged list of pros and cons of the jobs for anyone wanting to teach English in Russia, based on my experiences.

Teaching English in Russia as a governor or governess


Potentially the job with the highest rate of pay. You are generally paid in Euros, Pounds or Americansky Dollars as opposed to Russian Rubles, so let’s raise our glasses to stability, furthermore, this will be in the 1000’s per week. You have generally just 1 on 1 interaction with the same child and can quickly and easily find an approach to best help them acquire English.


The Oligarchy. These families are generally not more than a stone’s throw from Oligarch status. They come from a background of abundance and focus on meeting every demand of the child, not the need of the child. These children struggle a lot when it comes time to provide structure, routine and discipline that they have had no say in. Not to mention the parents will have extremely high expectations in terms of your commitment, granted, given the money they will pay.

Interested in becoming a governess in Russia? Read James’ stories of his eight years working in these roles.

TEFL jobs in Russia in language schools


One of the largest pools for potential employers. There are numerous language schools, the larger ones are often well established and a handful of these will also be international chains. This means a large number of employers to choose from, some guarantee that you won’t be screwed over completely and the potential to move around countries and roles with the larger chains.

Find out how to be successful when applying for a job teaching English in Russia.


Probably the least adequately paid work. For full-time hours most places will pay between 50000-70000 rubles and generally don’t include accommodation. Some places will essentially bounce you around between clients so you won’t have a fixed place of work. There will be an onus on you to have a thorough command of English, especially grammar, which may be daunting to English teachers in Russia who are new to the TEFL scene.

Some language academies in Russia that recruit from abroad are English First, International House and Language Link.

Read more about types of TEFL jobs around the world.

Red Square as an English teacher in Russia

Teach English in Russia in a Kindergarten


Well paid, fewer hours, no real commitment outside of your teaching hours. For this sort of work pay will begin at 70,000 rubles and can stretch as high as 200,000 rubles. The hours will also normally be 9-3 or in some cases 9-5. There is generally not as much preparation required in terms of language and grammar analysis and lesson planning, however, you’ll need to prepare plenty of creative flare, games and activities.

Moscow by night, one of the Pros of cons of English teaching jobs in Russia

Not sure about Russia? Poland accepts English teachers from outside the EU, both native and non-native. Read our post on teaching English in Poland.


Working with children. This is such an organic area. Working with children is generally not something you can teach. Sure, you can improve points but some people will be naturally strong at being able to communicate and relate to children and some will fail like the Hindenburg. Your job will become a test of your ability to inspire learning and direct behaviour, not teaching lessons focused on rules, principles and grammar.

Siberia, one location for TEFL jobs in Russia

The almighty visa as an English teacher in Russia

Next, let’s touch upon the visa process to teach English in Russia. The visa process will essentially be the same for the aforementioned places of work, however, with some teeny tiny variations from country to country. For most nationalities, you will be required to have a work permit/work visa to enter and live inside this mighty motherland.

One advantage of Russia for non-EU citizens is that there are no restrictions on visas, so anyone can get a work visa for Russia. You don’t need to be from one of the so-called ‘native-speaking’ countries either.

Find out more ways you can teach in Europe without an EU passport.

To begin the visa process, your future place of employment will have to cough up what is known as an invitation letter. They will acquire this from the migration department and then the original of this letter must be mailed to you at your current place of residence. Make sure they send it with a reputable courier with tracking such as DHL, this will ensure that your invitation letter does not end up in the furnace of the post office heater.

Once you have your original invitation letter you’ll need to download and complete a visa application form and send this, your invitation letter, passport, passport photos, money by snail-mail to your nearest Russian embassy or consulate. After weeks of waiting beside your mailbox you will be returned your passport complete with Russian visa and off you go to teach English in Russia.

For more on teaching English in Russia, have a look at the New Teacher Tales interview with Becky.


Soon enough you should find yourself standing on the very streets of Russia. There is something both truly brutal and brutal about this massive country and there are not many people around the globe that are able to say they called Russia home at some point.

Whatever experience you expect to get living and teaching abroad can be quite comfortably be attained by the tried and true methods like South Korea, however, nothing will push your comfort zone and promote your own self-growth more than a stay in somewhere as mysterious and intense as Russia.

Not sure about Russia? Read more on the best places to teach English abroad.

If you wish to know more about the lifestyle and oddities of life here as an English teacher in Russia be sure to come check out my blog Terrible Trips

Another option in this area is to teach English in Ukraine. We’ve been teaching there for nearly three years now and have a comprehensive post on how to do it: Teaching English in Ukraine.

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12 Responses

  1. I have just read your article and I would like to if you know how and where to apply for online teaching english and german in Russia or Ukraine.
    Thank you in advance


  2. Abel Martinez says:

    Hi Kate and Cris, I read your article about teaching English in Russia and I am very interested on applying for it, would you be able to give me more info as far as companies where to apply, I am so excited about it.
    I will apreciated
    A. M. S.

  3. Nice post- I didn’t know anything about teaching English in Russia beforehand!

  4. Jayla Rae says:

    Thank you for the informative and relevant post!

  5. Kenjie says:

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hi, I have over 3 years living and working in China. I am a Canadian, thus both British and American English. I have BA in languages (know a little Russian) and a post-graduate professional degree in Education. My experience teaching K-12. After returning to Canada I have worked as a nanny/tutor and presently as an elder care live-in worker. I would not mind working as a private tutor with a rich Russian family. My concern is how to contact such a family. Do you have any contacts? China won’t let me teach again because I am 72 and there limit is 60. But I know Russia has no age restrictions. I would be happy with a job with high pay east of the Ural even near the Chinese border

  7. I would be happy to be a governor with a rich family in Russia. I have a VpBA in languages plus a pist-graduate professional degree in Education. I have taught 3 years in China. Iam willing to teach east of the Ural even near the Chinese border. I am a Canadian with both British and American English. Do you have any rich Russian contacts?

  8. Martin says:

    Great blog Kate and Chris!

    It’s true working in Russia can be tough, especially in the winter! However, the financial packages that are on offer working for private families can help and may families travel often to international destinations on school holidays and the governor or governess will accompany them.

    In answer to the question about finding jobs, you can find many high paid governor and governess jobs on jobsinchildcare.com

    Hope this helps!

  9. Amanda says:

    Hi Kate and Kris . How old is too old for the teaching or governess roles in Russia? I have experience in both. I am currently teaching in a language school for young learners in China. Thanks

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