First Person

For MTAli Young says her students are very focused.
Ali Young, English-language teacher:

I decided to come to Russia to teach after finishing my degree in Russian studies. I first taught English in Poland, where I took my CELTA [teaching qualification] course. Working here is a great opportunity for me to live in Moscow and speak Russian.

Teaching English as a foreign language allows you to travel and experience different countries. Conversations with students can be really enlightening and to see students enjoying speaking English and making progress in their studies is very rewarding.

Russian students are very focused and very hard-working. They also love grammar, which is personally my least favorite part of teaching. I cannot imagine a British student asking specifically to study grammar.

The downside of work here is that there is a lot of traveling around the city and the hours can be long and sometimes anti-social. On an average day, I have early starts and late finishes because I teach a lot of corporate clients who want to study before or after work. I usually spend a lot of my week in coffee shops, on the metro or glued to the photocopier.

But every day brings something new, especially traveling round lots on the metro. I have seen my fair share of odd things! One day during rush hour, the metro pulled up to the station and every carriage was pitch black. I assumed it was out-of-order until my fellow passengers naturally stepped on and squeezed themselves into the darkness as if nothing was out of the ordinary. I followed the crowd and found myself in a horror film scenario -- flying through the tunnels in complete darkness I felt like I was the only one who had noticed all the lights had gone off! For me, the oddest moments are the ones that seem so normal to everyone else."