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Monday, 28 July 2014

Eastward!

Well now, I am the worst at bloggering. A quick glance at my post list tells me that the last time I wrote anything was at the beginning of October, and that post is still in draft. I suck.
What makes it worse is that there are lots of funny/interesting/scary stories I could have been sharing, and I'll try to get some of them on here soon. Or at least, soonish. Main thing is, I'm still in Russia; 3 years and 4 months last time I checked. But I'm not in Moscow any more.

Last summer I left EF and took a full-time job at the Saudi School. I say full time; they have a pretty elastic approach to the academic calendar. Myself and another colleague from EF were taken on (and later joined by two other ESL teachers) to continue teaching ESL to the students and help with the schools application to become accredited by the IBO to teach the International Baccalaureate.

It was a year full of challenges. We started with nothing, and were responsible for selecting and ordering course materials, writing course plans and testing and placing students. Basically we had to build an ESL department from scratch. And then there were all the school policy documents and guides that needed to be in place for the IBO application. We wrote most of those too, working very much in isolation from a faculty whose attitudes to the IB programme ranged from distrust to outright hatred, and with a boss whose management philosophy was essentially 'delegate delegate delegate!' I very nearly burned out completely before Christmas.

I stuck it out till the end of the academic year, and gained some valuable teaching and administrative experience, but by new year I was already thinking about where to go next. The boy was also contemplating a change of scene; Time to get out of Moscow, the city that never sleeps, away from the all the familiar western fast food chains and coffee shops and 'Ex-pat nights' to somewhere we can further explore Russian culture and practice our Russian without getting funny looks. It's sounded like a great idea, and after a few months of searching and several Skype interviews we found a school that would take both of us on and provide us with an apartment that we could bring our cat to (Oh yeah,we have a cat now. Her name is Bazarova and she is a beautiful moron).

So here we are in Tolyatti (sometimes spelled Togliatti in English), home of the Lada, 600 miles east of Moscow on the Volga in the Samara oblast, near the Zhiguli hills.

Basically here:

I found this map on Google. Turns out it's from the website of a Russian brides company.

We've been here a week and so far all is well. Not a lot of work to do just yet so we've got plenty of time to get our bearings.

Does anyone still read this by the way?