Pete said that it was always his dream to spend some time in Russia. Taking a break from employment in China, Pete did a six-month stint with Language Link in Moscow. According to Pete, it was an excellent decision and his experience in Moscow and with Language Link serves him well now that he has returned to China. As for us, it can truly be said that Pete gave us as much as he claims to have gotten in return. Our loss is truly China’s gain.
Veronica will be missed. Admittedly we say this about most of our academic staff and teachers; nevertheless that doesn't make it any less true. In Veronica's case, we will miss the person who we saw grow from being an intern-teacher, to EFL teacher to Director of Studies. Veronica did more than simply pass through Language Link, she became a part of it. Three years is a long time, and though we lose Veronica to a long sought after Master's program, she will be difficult to get over. What can I say, she will be MISSED.
Gregg, along with his son Conner, arrived in Russia shortly after the new year on six month contracts. Assigned to Zelenograd, both set out immediately getting to know the town, their fellow teachers, their students and the school. As Gregg attests to in this letter, Zelenograd was not what he had supposed and much to his great joy it was much more than what he had hoped for. Language Link will miss Gregg as much as it appears he will miss us.
Erica joined Language Link in October 2007. She stated in her application, 'I absolutely love Russian history, culture and language and I would consider studying Russian among one of my favourite pastimes. Though I have not yet had the opportunity to visit the country, I have studied Russian for nearly five years at the university level and on my own.' In the end, Language Link gave Erica the 'opportunity' she wanted, and in turn, she gave Language Link the opportunity to employ a truly wonderful teacher.
Julie truly epitomized the international nature of some of the teachers who come through our programme: Julie was born in German, schooled in America and had worked in Japan. Applying for a teaching position in Russia only seemed to complement her life experience. As teachers of Julie's caliber always seem to bring something special to the classroom, Language Link was more than happy when she accepted employment with us in our Korolev school.
Alan joined Language Link in January 2007 along with his partner Amy Gordon (see below) and like her has just finished his contract. Assigned to teach English in-company, Alan, though newly qualifed, quickly found his feet and went on to excel as a teacher in the corporate domain. Though teachers can be replaced, people are slower to be forgotten. Alan will be remembered for a long time.
Keith came to Language Link for a language school in India where he received little academic support. Because of this, Keith opted to go through Language Link's Initial Teacher Intern Training Program before starting his teaching with Language Link.
Ben, after a shaky start (as is usual for most inexperienced teachers) put his teaching into high gear. within a very short time, Ben was not only popular with his young learner classes but well respected by his adult students. Ben, never gave himself as much credit as he was due.
Dave only worked with Language Link for three months. Just into his teaching contract, Dave was offered the opportunity to apply for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Far be it from Language Link to stand in the way of a boyhood dream. Eventually, however, Dave decided not to follow thru on his application and returned to Language Link, this time, not as a teacher, but as a student in our School of Russian Language Studies.
Brandon spend two years working in Zelenograd for Language Link. Though no teacher is irreplaceable, Brandon was the kind of teacher which makes you wonder if this is truly so.
Rob worked for two years in Language Link's In-company English Department before setting off for newer horizons in the world of finance. Though it was Rob's desire to make it big outside of the world of EFL, he did not rule out returning to Russia one day.
Malcolm came to Language Link after teaching in China for a year. Though rough around the edges, Malcolm went on to become an extraordinary teacher who, for four years as a Language Link teacher, went on to teach some pretty extraordinary students.
Clare was without doubt one of the easiest going teachers ever to grace a Language Link classroom. Raised in Liverpool, Clare came to Language Link on a BUNAC Programme following graduation from university.
Natalie worked for Language link for more than three years. During this time, she taught English both at our Central Moscow School and In-company. By the time Natalie left Language Link, she was working as one of our Director of Studies. Her narrative gives a personal evaluation of both Moscow and Language Link.
Vicky came to Russia on Language Link's three-month Work-Study Programme. Vicky spent her mornings learning Russian and her afternoons teaching English.
Alicky, a third year university student, was looking for something "different" to do during her year out from Cambridge. After researching her options, Alicky chose Language Link's Volunteership Programme. Assigned to Language Link's Department of Translation, Alicky got a taste of working in a real office and business environment.
Perry and Andrea came to Language Link from Slovakia where Andrea had been born. Both had wanted to work in Russia, however, finding two jobs was difficult. Though they would have preferred to work in Moscow, they accepted Zelenograd, a former 'secret city' 40 kilometres away. Both found the experience eminently satisfying.
Steve, like many of our teachers, spent over three years in Russia and with Language Link. If I were to be asked to describe Steve in one word, 'original' comes immediately to mind.
Tony is best remembered as a seemingly quiet and shy Scotsman. Into his lessons and onto his students however, Tony exuded thunder and lightning.
Cristiano worked for Language Link as an Italian and Spanish teacher at Language Link's Central School in Moscow. He also taught classes in-company where he became a favourite of many of our corporate clients.
When I first started teaching with Language Link I had experience working with Russian teenagers, but didn't really have a solid background in teaching English grammar. However, the staff at Language Link were very helpful and flexible. They took the time to show me how each coursebook could be used with other materials to really get the class communicating.
Joe spent his first year working as an intern teacher in Volgograd. Within no time, Joe was making quite the impression on his students. Passionate about his teaching, Joe seemed to spend every waking moment either preparing for lessons, teaching lessons or . . . drinking Coke. Oh well, as the old saying goes, 'All work and no play makes Jack (or Joe) a dull boy'. In any event, his students certainly didn't find anything dull about Coka-Cola Joe's lessons.
Shawn, having come to Russia on two previous occasions as a student, wanted to top off these experiences in a different role. He therefore chose to return to Russia as a teacher trainee in Language Link's Teacher-Internship Programme. While a member of Language Link's teaching staff, Shawn got the opportunity to experience life in Russia from two different perspectives.
Tim is another Scotsman. With this many Scots working for Language Link, we must truly be one of the better deals on the market.
Sarah came to Language Link with a year’s teaching experience that she had gained in Indonesia. Very soon after Sarah’s arrival, it was obvious that Indonesia’s loss was going to be Language Link’s gain. Within six months, Sarah was put up for an ADOS position; and within a few months of that she was teaching interns the skills needed to be an effective teacher. As good a friend as she was a teacher, there were more than a few sad faces the day Sarah left ‘The Link’.
Alex was an intern teacher for whom teaching didn't come easy. Though she had to work harder than the others, her hard work paid off. She stayed with Language Link more than three years and when she departed, she did so as a Director of Studies.
As an In-Company Teacher, I taught classes and individuals in private companies throughout Moscow. This was really in-at-the-deep-end stuff and was pretty scary initially, however Language Link staff (everyone, from the managing director to the administration staff and fellow teachers) were always on hand to offer friendly guidance and support, both academically and socially and this really helped to make things pleasurable, rewarding and fun.
Jeff and Nina came to Language Link from Ecuador. Having gained lots of EFL experience before coming to Russia, they quickly set about becoming two of our most valued teaching assets both in- and outside the classroom.
Sam worked in Language Link's Central School in Moscow. Finding Sam in a school with about 30 teachers was easy, you simply needed to follow the laughter- his own, that of the other teachers or that of his students.
Kellen came to Language Link after graduating from Georgetown University. Having spend four months in Russia the prevous year, Kellen wanted to return to Russia for a year to teach English. As he also wanted to learn the language, Kellen requested a teaching post in Zelenograd so as to be far enough away to learn Russian but close enough to enjoy all that Moscow has to offer culturally.
Chris came to Language Link in 2004 and stayed with us for three years. Assigned to the Central School, Chris did his best to make sure every new teacher felt both comfortable and welcomed. In a phrase, Chris was simply just one of those 'good guys' that every schools hopes they will have in their teaching staff. Though Chris has left us this year, we can only hope that there was someone in his new school to welcome him. They got a great teacher.
Marc came to Language Link from London where he had been performing on the stage ever since graduating the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Judging by Marc's 'performance' in the classroom, he must have been great on the stage. When Marc left Language Link, we truly lost one of our great 'character' actors.
John was a mature teacher who spent a large part of his life working in banking. Tired of the routine, John decided to change careers and give teaching and Language Link a try.
Christian was a bi-lingual Canadian who, though preferring to work in Moscow or St. Petersburg, accepted to work in Irkutsk, Siberia. He didn't regret his flexibility.
Eddie came to Language Link in 1997 and stayed on for three years with us. Soft spoken with a quiet manner, Eddie was a powerhouse when it came either to teaching English or playing jazz on his trombone in a Moscow nightclub.
Stuart can only be described as one of Language Link's household fixture. Though he no longer works for us, he did so for four years. As Stuart describes in his letter, he tried just about everything Language Link had to offer, and though he now makes his own way through life here in Moscow, he's still to be seen chatting with our teachers from time to time.
Robin did a couple of 'tours of duty' with language Link, Russia, and then, as some of our teachers do, moved onto a different Language Link location. For Robin, Language Link, Viet Nam drew his fancy. Last known whereabouts of Robin- working with the VSO.
Sarah unlike the teachers mentioned above only spent one year with Language Link. That said, however, she did more traveling visited more museum, attended more parties than anyone I have known to date. She is also memorable for her classroom performances that never suffered as a result of her yearnings for life.
Quinn, hired shortly after completing a TEFL training course in Prague, worked for Language Link for twelve months. Starting with the Black Sea in the summer and Moscow for the three remaining seasons, Quinn returned to the United States to pursue an MBA.
Charlie, though more drawn to art than teaching, demonstrated his own artistic flair in the classroom. Charlie, like many teachers, chose to work in Moscow region rather than in the city itself. As such, he was able to enjoy quiet surroundings while being with a short ride of Moscow's world-class art museums.
Working for Language Link has enabled me to meet some fantastic people (staff, teachers and students) and it has given me a chance to experience life in one of the most historically interesting and culturally rich countries in the world.