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:Senior Methodologist specialising in Young Learners, Moscow
Educational History:Teacher Training University: English and German
Start date at Language Link: June 2009
International Examiner Status:Since March 2012
My name is Larisa Strukova, and this is my fourth year with the company. I grew up in a small town in Western Siberia. Although the Taiga wasn't far, I only saw bears and deer in pictures. People are open and friendly there, and aren't hairy as some foreigners think!
After school I went to Omsk Teacher Training University's faculty of foreign languages. As soon as I graduated from university, I started to teach English mainly to children. Now my teaching experience amounts to more than 15 years. My youngest students were 4 and oldest were already retired. English is popular in Russia, you know!
I moved to the Moscow region in June 2008, mainly because of my personal circumstances. Now I live in the suburbs of Moscow and go to the city to work. My job is teaching again, although it is much less than before because I am mainly engaged with teacher training (TKT YL, TEYL) and consultancy about how to teach young learners.
Young learners is my special professional interest and the target audience I'd recommend you to start teaching with. Working with children isn't easy but really rewarding, inspiring and I'd say 'enabling' you to sing, dance and tell stories even if you thought that you are not quite good at it.