Teaching English in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine
Report submitted on 27 July, 2014 by Lyn.
Teaching English in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine:
How can teachers find teaching jobs in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
Every school has an English teacher, and most of them are glad to help their students shine (and make themselves look good) by helping the students find private tutors/ extra curricular teachers. Once you find a few contacts, students should be knocking on your door.
I wasn’t planning to teach English when I came. My family is serving with a humanitarian aid mission, and I don’t need extra work. But everyone knows there’s Americans living in the village, and requests kept coming.
The main English teaching jobs available are:
Part time English language school positions, private teaching (not through a school, agency, etc.)
What are the minimum teaching requirements?
Basically, you need to know English.
What teaching requirements would you recommend?
Being a native speaker allows you to charge a whole lot more for your services. Any private English school will quickly lose students if they don’t have a native speaker on staff.
I’d also recommend a working knowledge of Russian or preferably Ukrainian. Unless your able to get very advanced students (by the standards here) you’ll have a difficult time communicating at all.
What are the levels of payment?
This depends on how many students you can put in a class. I charge around four dollars an hour per student per class (1-2 hours). That’s not a lot, so you’ve got to make up for it in class size. For example, if you put ten children in a class, that’s not bad at all.
It also depends where you live. I live around an hour’s drive from the Kiev, the capital. I was talking to a friend who teaches there, and she was surprised at how little I earn. Then I asked another friend who lives four hours from Kiev, and she said, “Wow, if I could make that much, I’d be rich!” Of course, the housing, food, and everything else is much more expensive in the city, and the competition for students is more stiff.
How many teaching days a week is normal?
3-4 days per week.
How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
15-20 hours per week.
What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
Depends whether you want to keep American holidays or Ukrainian ones. Everyone gets off for the smallest holiday here, but Christmas, for example, comes on Jan. 7, so if you want to get off on Dec. 25, you might have trouble.
Figure out when you are going to need to have time off, if you can, and discuss that in your job interview. It’s better to be honest with these people. They say exactly what they think most of the time, and have a right to expect the same from you.
What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Kiev Oblast, Ukraine to teach English?
Prepare for culture shock in little ways you’d never thought of. Oh, and don’t blow your nose in public, and don’t throw anything to anyone. Get a good language teacher or someone else who can teach you the no-no’s.
What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
Students that really, really, really want to learn. Unless their parents are abnormally rich, it will be a sacrifice. This translates into motivated students. Does anyone else get emails between classes, “I did all my homework already, can you send me something else to do?”
What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
Right now, it’s a little frightening living here. The unrest in the east has everyone unsure of what’s happening. If you don’t have a strong stomach for stress, I’d recommend waiting to come until everything is quiet again.
What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
English is as hard for a Ukrainian speaking person to learn as Ukrainian is for an English speaking one.
Living in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine:
Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in Ukraine?
Currently–and once you’ve lived here you’ll understand why I use this word–you can come here on a ninety-day tourist visa. This is renewable once, then not again for the next six months. During those ninety days, you will want to get a temporary residency and tax ID number. We found an agent that helps us with this,as the process can be confusing, and laws are constantly changing.
What is the cost of living like in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
This also depends where you live.
I have stayed in nice hotels for $50-60 dollars a night. In Kiev they’re going to be eight times that much. I don’t know how much apartments are renting for–I’ve never tried. I’ve heard that city apartments in certain neighborhoods can be up to $10,000 a month, but, as I said, I haven’t checked out any cheaper ones. Houses in our village can be rented for as little as $20 a month, with an orchard and garden space, but some of them do not have indoor plumbing.
Food in general is a little cheaper than American grocery stores, unless you can’t live without luxuries like peanut butter, cheese, and a few other things which are mostly imported.
Restaurants follow about the same pattern as hotels and apartments. I don’t eat out in Kiev. I simply can’t stand spending $20-40 a plate for something I could get for $8-10 if I drove as far in the other direction.
What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
I really don’t know. We live in a mission-provided house, and I haven’t had to go searching for a place to live.
The country in general’s population is slowly shrinking, but the population of Kiev, and other large cities in western Ukraine is booming. There are often houses in each village, especially as you travel farther from the city, just sitting empty, because there are not enough people left in the village to live in them all.
Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
Beautiful fields, easy access to good fresh produce from the neighbor lady sitting beside the road, a long, colorful history that makes America look like a baby in comparison, wonderful, honest, loyal people…
I could go on for pages.
Other than teaching, what negative aspects are there for living in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
The unrest of course. Lots of drinking, which makes for dangerous travel after dark. Long, gray winters.
What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Kiev Oblast, Ukraine to live?
You likely won’t make friends right at first. These people are slow to open up, but fiercely loyal and loving once you have become friends. It may feel like unfriendliness at first, but it’s simply a carry over from Soviet days, when trust could be dangerous.
What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
Funny little things. Smooth roads, totally understanding conversations, woods, creeks, and hills, playing with English words and not having to explain the difference, meeting peoples’ eyes as I walk down the street, English book stores…
What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country (e.g. things that are difficult to get in your location)?
Clothes and shoes are very expensive, and not always the best quality. Many Ukrainian I know order shoes from America or Europe and pay to have them shipped. Don’t forget warm, dressy boots. They are an essential in the winter months.
Also English books, if you enjoy reading. I’d recommend an e-reader. The only drawback is not being able to lend the books out to your students. Prepare to haul lots of books along.
What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave Kiev Oblast, Ukraine?
My students and their parents. All the other friends I’ve made here. If you’ve got to work to make a friend, it makes them doubly precious.
I’m not planning to leave any time soon!
About Me and My Work:
My Name: Lyn
Students I’ve taught in Ukraine: Elementary (6-12 years), junior high school (12-15 years), high school (15-18 years).
Where I teach: I teach privately. I’ve tutored a student, helped with homework etc. several times a week. Currently I teach small classes of elementary and high shcool students once a week. Teaching here for 1 year.
How I found my current jobs: Maybe a better question would be, “How did you current teaching jobs find you?”. I was planning to study language at least another year, before trying to start teaching, but students kept coming and asking and the rest is history.
My school facilities: Adequate – I don’t teach in a school, so the only gauge I have is the homework and textbooks my students bring to class, and the contact I have with public schools’ English teachers.
The textbooks are sadly lacking, in my opinion. One little boy was sorting nouns in a story by ‘countable or uncountable’. He didn’t know what the words meant, but he had memorized which were countable.
I’ve also been amazed at how little English vocabulary is required to be an English teacher. My Ukrainian is very limited, but it comes in handy when speaking with some of my English teacher friends.
Do you teach English in Ukraine?
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