Teaching English in Ukraine – a Guide
We spent two years teaching English in Ukraine for London School of English in Odessa. Ukraine isn’t necessarily the first place people think about when considering teaching English abroad. Even though what you see in the news at the moment is conflict, most of the country is very peaceful. There’s a low cost of living compared to salaries, and as it’s not in the EU, teachers from all over the world can work there.
Job Opportunities teaching English in Ukraine
Most jobs for non-Ukrainians are in language schools. The biggest chains are the British Council, International House, American English Centre and London School of English. The British Council are only in Kiev, International House are in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovs’k, Poltava and Lviv, and LSE have three schools in Kiev and three in Odessa. American English Centre only take American and Canadian teachers and have schools in Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipropretrovs’k, Poltava and Zaporozhye.
There are also many smaller schools in the various cities, particularly in Kiev and Odessa, who recruit teachers.
Language school work involves classes of both adults and children who come after school and work to improve their language level. This may be in group classes or 1:1. Teachers also go out to businesses to teach English to employees. In some schools, like American English Centre, native teachers are used for communication classes. Language skills such as grammar and vocabulary are taught by Ukrainians. In others, like LSE, both Ukrainian and native speaking teachers cover both language and communication skills.
If you want to find out whether you will like teaching English in Ukraine, you can volunteer at a summer camp. You won’t get paid, but you get accommodation and food. Check out GoCamps and ESS. We don’t know much about these organisations, so can’t say what they are like (have you ever volunteered at a summer camp in Ukraine? If so, get in touch).
Language school work tends to follow the school terms. Courses start in September and run until June or July. Most are closed for a few weeks in the summer, unless they run summer schools.
Salary for teaching English in Ukraine
Salaries at London School of English start at 16,500 hrivna (about $600) and go up to 22, 500 (over $800) and above, depending on experience. The school provides accommodation for teachers, so you don’t have to pay rent out of that.
Jobs at the British Council offer a range from 19,000 to 25,000 and above. Again, you get an accommodation allowance on top of that.
International House offer 10,000 for new teachers. I’d assume that goes up, if and when you have more experience.
When you look at advertised salaries for teaching English in Ukraine, they seem low. However, bear in mind the cost of living. You can get a beer for less than $1. A full meal can cost less than $3. If your rent is covered by the school, you don’t have that many outgoings.
Find out more about the cost of living in Odessa in our blog.
Jobs can also offer paid holiday, sick pay and sponsorship for further qualifications like the DELTA or DipTESOL. They should also cover the cost of visas and work permit.
Requirements for teaching English in Ukraine
What you need to teach in Ukraine depends on where you want to work. The British Council only accepts teachers with a degree and a CELTA or Trinity TESOL Certificate, or a DELTA or Trinity Diploma, or Masters’ degree in TESOL or Linguistics with teaching practice. You won’t get a job there with an online TEFL.
London School of English prefer teachers with CELTA or Trinity TESOL, but will accept teachers with other qualifications. They tend to be wary of teachers who got certified in Asia though. Again, they don’t accept online certificates. You need a degree here too.
American English Center put their teachers through an in-house training course before they start teaching, so you don’t need to have a teaching certificate to work there. Smaller schools are often happy to get someone to teach at all.
If you are not sure what all these acronyms mean, we wrote a blog to help you: What’s with all the acronyms in teaching English?
To teach legally in Ukraine you need a work visa and a work permit, and then apply for temporary residency, which comes in the form of a blue passport-like book called a Posvitka. Many teachers come in on a tourist visa, which their school then converts into the work visa. This often involves a trip over the border to the nearest Ukrainian Embassy in Moldova.
Why you should teach English in Ukraine
Ukraine can be a great place to teach. There is a huge need to learn English at the moment and students are generally keen. The better schools have excellent conditions and a professional teaching environment. The cost of living is low compared to the wages and you can have a good standard of life and still save money.
Kiev is a beautiful city full of stunning architecture, history and culture. There is an art scene now and some wonderful street art.
Odessa is on the Black Sea. In the summer, it’s hot and sunny and you are walking distance from the beach. It’s famous for its nightlife, and in summer the superclubs at Arkadia are full of beautiful people having all night parties.
The winter brings cold and snow, and then you can head to the ski resorts such as Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains.
Or maybe fellow teacher, Anna, can convince you with her New Teacher Tales blog.
If you want any more information about teaching English in Ukraine, get in touch with us.
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