ESLing in Moscow: the transport time-suck

moscow travel

I’m hopping on the web to post this up before I take a quick nap… We have two curtains hanging in our bedroom and the sun still managed to scare me awake at 3:52AM. Since I just re-started an early morning class today, I spent all night being terrified that I was late.

Anyway kiddos, it’s a lovely warm day in Moscow: absolutely perfect to be lounging around outside and absolutely horrific to be traipsing around it a bus. Yup, this particular poignant post came to me as I suffered through another crowded, stuffy commute. Also, I’ve recently gotten some e-mails asking for advice/general impressions as a Moscow ESL teacher, so I thought I’d start condensing everything into a series of (semi) coherent blog posts.

My first gem of wisdom? Be. prepared. to. travel.

Now my case is pretty extreme because I’m a business English teacher, which by nature is a lot more mobile than if you’re teaching in a school. Business English means I’m fluttering around the city daily to teach at the actual company locations. Add to that a school whose locations are not in Moscow, and you’ve got this blog: A Girl and Her Travels (through Moscow 3-5 times a day inevitably squished next to a heavy, sweating dude). I would say I’m on the pretty extreme end of commuting: if I’m teaching 2-3 (90 minutes each) lessons in a day, I could easily be traveling 1-2 hours between each class. Obviously I chose this schedule for myself for my own benefit: no kids classes (yay!), free time during the day, and I do get paid better than a teacher who only works in the school. If you’re considering teaching business English, you should expect this kind of schedule.

In-school teachers obviously have it a little better since they usually don’t travel between schools. This means the travel factor can be wildly variable, but expect to travel an average of 20-30 minutes a day to get to your school. I figure your school is either in the center (and therefore you can’t afford to live too close to it) or you’re working on the outskirts (and therefore would prefer to be closer to the center). Ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of public transport, but in Moscow you should always¬†factor in travel as part of your salary, or all of the sudden your hourly rate won’t look so good.

So, fellow Muscovites: how far do you travel in a day? Fellow ESL teachers: where the hell can I a) make some money and b) not suffer in public transport for half my life?

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13 thoughts on “ESLing in Moscow: the transport time-suck

  1. That’s one nice thing about Riga – I can pretty much walk everywhere. Could be over 2 hours walking a day but better than being cooped up on a smelly bus!

  2. This post just brought back all those unpleasant memories of commuting in Moscow. Mytishchi was great since I could walk 15-20 minutes to work (or take a bus for 10 minutes)… but once I moved to Khimki my commute was anywhere from 20-50 minutes to one school (usually on two buses) and usually over an hour to the other (always on two buses. kill me.)

    • You should try my trip now: hour and a half to kurkino. Ugh. And we went to kgorsk saturday (thankfully not to work) and we ended up walking from mitino the traffic was so bad. Whee!

      • That’s the problem–traffic. To get to my private students, it usually takes an hour and a half. OK, fine, you plan for that. But since the start of summer, it’s been taking more like TWO and a half hours, because, as I understand it, there are lots of dachas in that area. It’s brutal. And yes, those marshrutkas are hot and awful. Rhea, do I actually miss Mytischi too??

  3. I think my work has excellent accessibility (for Moscow) – 15 min by walk, 35 min by local train (Bolshevo->Moscow) and 15 min by walk. ta-da! I’m at work!
    My lovely train


  4. What about private classes in your home or in some place (coffeeshop, etc) nearby? Is that a possibility or is that not common in Moscow? Or are you tied to working at the school by visa?

    • Well I do take on some private clients — I’m not sure how it is elsewhere, but in Moscow it’s most common to cater to the students and go to their houses. A few are close to my house, but again some of them do require (more!) travel :)

  5. I’ve always had to spend a lot of time to get to the place I study or work.
    In fact, one of the easiest way to earn money in Moscow is probably teaching English. If you are a native speaker, you can earn really much giving private lessons. You can find people who will come to you or live near you.

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