Guide for new teachers at Smile English School

 Things to consider/get before arriving to Moscow

-Outlet adapters for phone, laptop, etc.

-If coming in the winter, pack some warm items, (easier and less expensive to buy stuff for the summer, and better to be prepared for the winter season)

-Exchange currency prior to arrival – this will save you time and energy upon arrival

-Inform your bank of your travel plans – tell them where you are going (I was locked out of my credit card, which they assumed had been stolen after seeing transactions in Moscow)

-Make extra copies of any important documents from back home (certificates, drivers license, letters of references, copies of passport photo page, etc. (useful when necessary, as well as in the absence of a reliable printer)

-Clean underwear ;)

Useful applications for life in Moscow

Yandex Maps (in my opinion, can be more reliable than google maps while in Russia)

Moscow Metro (network of the Moscow metro subway system and does basic travel planning) (has options to switch between Russian and English)

-If you wish.. Download an alternative Russian keyboard with Cyrillic alphabet (useful for learning) (you can switch between your basic keyboard and the Cyrillic extension as necessary)

-Download the complete file for google translate in Russian (that way you have complete access to translate when not online or when you have no access to wifi) (this can be done through the google translate app – see “offline translation”)

-Yandex taxi app  (popular and reliable, cheaper than the regular taxis that try to scam on foreigners) (alternative to UBER- can use either one or both)

 Once you have arrived

-Store your immigration card in a place that you will remember (piece of paper you receive at the airport when going through passport control) (the school may ask you to send them a copy of it during visa renewal)

-SIM card (lots of options - I have always used MTC – reliable and good price. Approx. 600 rubles a month gets me unlimited data and provides 200 calling minutes and 200 texts, which is plenty as we mainly use WhatsApp or FB messenger instead of regular cell services here) (passport is required to purchase SIM)

-Learn the stops + name of the line that you will be frequently using during travel to and from the school

-On your first full day off (with no other commitments) go get lost in the metro system. Travel around the centre circle and learn to transfer stops and lines – this will make you more comfortable and force you to learn how to navigate - use metro app, switching between language settings. Could be a good time to try and ask someone how to find a stop or line… get you out of your comfort zone.

Things to expect during orientation and your first weeks

-Expect an irregular schedule at first – new clients / trial lessons, developing your schedule, times, day off, etc

-Prepare for very young learners (you should be aware of this as you applied for this job with this company)

-Be prepared for clients/ students that have a particular set of needs. Some students are not your average kid…  they can be very sweet and fun, but at times can be difficult and may be used to getting their way. Like any kid, trust can be a barrier at first… build rapport and the rest will follow suit!

-Look frequently at your schedule on google calendar (this is where new things will be posted as well as cancellations)

-USE YOUR COLLEAGUES FOR SUPPORT – we teachers support one another, with anything from the job, to life in the city. Bouncing ideas off each other for lesson plans, ideas, how to deal with a particular student, etc… are extremely useful and appreciated by all.

Banks and sending money home – some teachers will get a Russian bank account, others will not (your choice).

-Most places accept international debit and credit cards, so you should not have a problem at most stores or vendors. It is recommended to carry some cash if you can to avoid any unforeseen problems when trying to pay.

-Sending money home can be done through most banks, or financial exchange centers (some may be more expensive than others, like Western Union… so choose carefully!)