The key to academic support lies not in the programme to be delivered but in the people who have been charged with the responsibility of delivering it. Regardless of how sound that programme may be, its success is entirely dependent upon the individuals who have been selected to carry it out. At Language Link, these ‘individuals’ are referred to as academic managers and carry such job titles as Head Academic Department, Methodologists, Senior Director of Studies, Director of Studies and assistant Director of Studies.
Given the importance of selecting the right people for these positions, the question may rightfully be asked, ‘What criteria does Language Link employ when choosing its academic managers.’ Contrary to popular belief, education, degrees, and diplomas carry less weight in this decision than do a readiness, willingness AND ability to assist teachers with their academic needs and issues. Obviously being ‘ready and willing’, though commendable, is of little value without that third ingredient ‘ability’, and conversely, ‘ability’ without a desire to help is of similar i.e. little value.
At Language Link, all our academic mangers have withstood the test of time. They have not just demonstrated but proven their desire and ability to render appropriate and meaningful academic assistance to the teaching staff for whom they have been charged with helping to meet the demands of a modern TEFL classroom.
Academics aside, all academic managers employed by Language Link Russia have lived in the country for a minimum of three years and have a firm grasp of the cultural issues that will confront our new teaching staff here in the largest country on earth. Without exception, all can be counted upon to help our new teachers to understand the Russian culture, to meet the challenges presented by living in a new and unfamiliar country and to adapt to its idiosyncrasies where such exists.
Position:Director of Studies, Moscow
Educational History:BA CH Russian and Spanish; TEFL certificate
Start date at Language Link: September 2012
Hi, my name's Emily and I'm from the south of England. I've always loved learning languages: I started learning French when I was 4 and went on to study many European languages when I was at school, including Spanish, Italian and German. I also very much enjoyed learning ancient languages like Latin and Greek and have even studied some Sign Language.
This love of languages led me to look for a new challenge when I was choosing my degree and I was immediately drawn to Russian. Despite struggling somewhat with the grammar, I fell in love with the language and when I came to Russia for my study abroad year, which I spent in Yaroslavl and Volgograd, I became equally attached to the country and the culture here. This led me to look for a job to move back here after I finished my degree and teaching English seemed like a natural choice. Living and working abroad is not always easy, but it is so rewarding and the experiences you have and the people you meet will stay with you forever.
Originally, I intended to come for a year and spent my first year in Stavropol, where I discovered that I enjoyed teaching English and living abroad so much that I wasn't ready to stop yet! However, I did decide that I wanted a taste of big city life in Russia, so I transferred up to Moscow and have been teaching at Central School ever since.
One of the things I like most about teaching is the opportunity for progress at every step of the way: after every lesson you can think about what went well and what didn't, and make changes accordingly; after attending workshops and seminars there are always new ideas to try out; and even just chatting with other teachers can get you inspired. The other thing I love is working with the students themselves, which sounds obvious, but when I see real progress and interest and passion from them, it really does motivate me to keep bringing fresh enthusiasm and ideas into the classroom, and I hope you will find the same!