The Travelling Teacher: Russia
Introducing yourself. This is something any employee at IQBar frequently says!
Firstly, hi and a big welcome to all IQBar buddies and those interested in learning more about us!
So, who am ?
Name: My name is Trudie.
Age: I’m currently 27.
Height: Stands at a whooping 5ft 2.
Special qualities: I’m in ‘Team Ginge’ and it’s something I’m learning to love as I age. After all, I do like to be a bit different at times.
Motto: I live by the saying – ‘Anything is possible, if you believe’ which apparently is paraphrased from Jesus himself!
Personality: I’m a friendly person who loves to smile and I always think a smile is free and can really change someone’s day.
I started work from a young age and parents always encouraged me to make my own money. My parents would regularly take me to work with them to get an experience of ‘real life’. Then, like most people I began employment in retail being underpaid and overworked. Though I loved the people I worked with I knew that this was not my future career.
After college I had a choice whether to apply to University or not. I was adamant that I would NOT be going. Not being one to be forced or rushed into making a decision, I took my time and took a year out to decide what I really wanted to do with my life, do some research and gain some experience in different sectors before applying to university. It was during this year out is where my love for working with children started and my journey in the education sector began.
I started gaining experience in different institutions. From working in nurseries and coming home covered in ‘unknown’ entities, giving up my weekends to work at a charity to volunteering in schools as a classroom assistant. I’d been well and truly sucked in. I wanted more experience in this area!
After my year out I enrolled at University and after 3 long years I completed a BA in Educational Studies. I was the first member of my family to attend University so it was a proud moment.
I went on to secure a place on the School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) course. After less than a year I was proud to announce that all the long days, hours of lesson observations and learning what seemed like thousands of kids names, had paid off and I passed with a grade of ‘Outstanding’. I’m not one to brag but I am really proud of this achievement as it took a lot of effort and hard work to achieve.
I thought the teacher training part was the intense part but then it came to ‘real’ teaching and battling the work vs. life balance. Which leads on to one of the huge contributing factors as to why I decided to travel.
Why did I decide to travel?: To travel or not to travel? ….That is the question!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working with children and as all teachers will say at some point, ‘it’s the kids that make it worth it’. BUT, the hours I would spend marking, the looooooooong meetings after work amongst an ever growing ‘to-do list’ and school improvement list. It was crazy. I began to feel like I was living to work. In addition to this, there seemed to be more and more piling up to add to stress levels.
I tried to make a change and I made a promise to myself that I would not work past 9pm at night and I would see friends at the weekend, obviously with some school work slotted in, none would be far too much of a luxury!
My partner sold me the idea of travelling. He had travelled before and would often tell me these exotic stories about his adventures, to which I thought I could only dream. Then I realised that:
- I’m still young!
- I have no commitments and any I do have….I can just un-commit too (don’t worry, I don’t have children that I’ve abandoned!).
- Life is there to be enjoyed and lived!
- I kind of thought, what’s the point in working with this ‘dream’ in the future and rather, why not enjoy life for the now?!
So I saved hard for just under a year, I sold pretty much anything I owned of value, resigned from my post as a teacher and the big one…booked my outward flight – WITH NO RETURN!
Obviously, as any home-bird would be, I was dubious! I’d never travelled before, apart from the typical holiday ‘abroad’. Infact, I’d always had a plan and felt comfortable, perhaps too comfortable. I started to think that there’s always going to be reasons I’ll give myself NOT to travel but the reasons for travelling definitely outweigh the reasons not to!
So if you’re thinking about travelling here’s a look at how my mind analysed the choice:
(you’ll see there’s definitely more for!)
Why work for IQBar?
With my savings at the ready I began my travels but I knew that money wasn’t going to last long. I needed a job to refill that pot but it had to be:
- Flexible hours
- Internet based as I was moving around too much
- A good income to warrant doing it
I was signing up to job site after job site and then even started to consider online survey work. I then realised the best idea would be to utilise my skills and if I couldn’t work with children face to face, why not online?
I began researching my options with many being big companies wanting American teachers or where teachers were confined to a contract. Also, some were just plain rude! Then I came across IQBar.
From the start this experience stood out amongst the rest! The interview process was smooth and didn’t make me feel judged or intimidated. The staff were friendly and more than happy to help answer any questions. With each stage I went through I would meet different staff members and each would be as friendly and approachable as the last. It was all seeming a bit too good to be true.
As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I heard I was being offered a position. My checklist of what job I was looking for suddenly all seemed to be ticked off and I started to kick myself a little thinking…’why didn’t I do this earlier?’.
This was the start of the continuation of my love of teaching and the beginning of my new journey with IQBar.
This is where my adventures as ‘The Travelling Teacher’ were just a seed. I wish I had of pursued teaching here as the internet was amazing! Also Russia is only 2 hours ahead of the United Kingdom. However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit here as I was soon to continue my journey via the Tran Siberian Railway.
When I began thinking about travelling I have to admit Russia was not one of the top places that jumped out to me, especially when my line of thoughts were running along to those places like Hawaii. However, I absolutely loved it here and would definitely recommend it.
I stayed in Urkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia. There were so many interesting buildings to see here, some of which looked as though they were sinking in to the ground slightly! Our hotel was right beside the beautiful Lake Baikal, one of the largest freshwater lakes by volume in the world and we were lucky enough to have an almost panoramic view with windows covering 2 of our 4 walls.
At this point into travelling I was wearing warm clothing and thought it only reasonable to try some of the reputable Russian Vodka to warm the blood. This stuff certainly warmed me up and gave me Dutch courage to continue my journey. I accompanied this with some Russian Pelmeni, an ancient Russian dish of boiled dumplings with chopped meat – extremely yummy!
My stay in Russia was short but I managed to visit some awesome sights. If you’re thinking of planning a trip or would
just like to find out more, here’s my top picks:
The Russian Metro! A journey on here is a sight in itself. There’s some beautiful architecture to be seen within the stations. In particular, on the Moscow Metro Station – Ploschad Revolutsii there are bronze sculptures that depict that people of the Soviet Union. Look out for ‘Lucky the Dog’. Our Russian tour guide informed us you have to rub his nose (which is well worn) for good luck!
Red square – grab yourself a warm pastry from the stall in the park of a cup of coco as you wonder around here. It’s beautiful and if you’re looking for a cheap day out there’s plenty of architecture to take in for FREE!
Saint Basil’s Cathedral – this place is just like something out of a story book. You will become the biggest tourist and feel the need to take pictures because it looks so amazing.
The Kremlin Armoury – after exploring the Kremlin you have the opportunity to find out more about this magnificent place. There are many museums but I decided to find out more about The Armoury. For a small price you can enter the museum and wonder at your own pace guided by an audio recording.
One of my favourite stops whilst in Russia was the endearing Izmailovsky Market. This market is only open on a Sunday so if you visit Russia, time it right. Here you’ll be surrounded by wooden buildings that make you feel like you’re in the setting of a Shrek Movie, expecting Lord Farquaad to appear. There are adorable stalls
with keyrings and authentic Russian merchandise including many handmade items. I could have spent almost all of my savings here! It’s size is not one to be underestimated, around the surrounding walls of the heart of this place are hundreds of stalls! It makes for a nice relaxing walk for a morning.
My top tip for Russia: wear flat, comfortable shoes! You’ll probably do a lot of walking and there’s lots of cobble-like flooring.
So blog number 1 down, here’s to many more and I hope that you will come along for the rest of my journey. My next entry will be about my journey along the Trans Siberian – it’s one not be missed!
I’d love to hear from you! I think that feedback is really important, especially in this industry so any feedback is appreciated!
If you would like to share your comments, journeys or questions please comment or feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org