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, Zelenograd
Educational History:BA German and French; TEFL certificate
Start date at Language Link:September 2010
My name's Michael Schmitz and I come from Rhode Island, the smallest state in America. I had always had an interest in history and languages, which spurred me on to study German and French at the University of Rhode Island. While at university, I became really interested in Russia and Russian history and made my first trip to Russia as a tourist in 2009. After that, I decided that I absolutely had to come back.
I started at Language Link in 2010 in Volgograd, which I thought was a lovely city with a lot of history and great people. I worked there from 2010 to 2014 and then decided to try to become a director. I applied for the position and was accepted for an ADOS position in Zelenograd, where I currently work. At the moment, I'm also making an effort to become a Cambridge examiner and generally bettering myself.
My interests, as I've already stated, include history, languages, literature and reading. Aside from that, I like seeing more obscure Russian cities that most tourists don't get around to seeing, such as Novorossiysk or Elista. I'm still trying to keep up my German and French while at the same time making myself fluent in Russian, which is both a great and difficult language!
My experiences in Russia have been nothing but fantastic and I find the people, culture and even the difficult language wonderful! I've never been bored here and everyday seems like an adventure; whether it's 'freezing' my way into work in January or helping someone find their way around Moscow with my broken Russian. I'm currently in my fifth year with Language Link and I see myself here for many more to come!