“Better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.” – Russian Proverb
The number of people learning how to speak Russian as a second language has increased in recent years.
Would you like to be one of the people teaching them?
If you want to teach in British primary schools or secondary schools, you need to get the necessary qualifications. That said, there are plenty of different ways to become a teacher.
In this article, we’ll be looking whether you need to be a native speaker, the qualifications you might need, what to expect on the PGCE, and where you can teach Russian.
You don’t necessarily need to be a native speaker of Russian or any other language to teach it. While most people who teach English as a second language are native speakers, this is less common when it comes to teaching in an accredited language school. You don’t necessarily need to have the linguistic proficiency of someone who speaks Russian as a native language and neither does Russian need to be your first language. However, you probably will need to be close to bilingual if you want to teach Russian as a foreign language.
Confidence is key when you’re a tutor. (Source: rawpixel)
Brits can always decide to do a degree in a given language before they get their teaching qualifications. Once you’ve got a degree in Russian, doing the PGCE is the next obvious step if you want to teach in schools in the UK. Let’s get back to the topic at hand!
A native speaker will have perfect pronunciation and an impressive knowledge of the culture and history of the language. However, that doesn’t mean they have the necessary teaching skills to teach their language effectively. Sometimes cultural differences can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, the linguistic differences will be complicated for the students to understand whereas the teacher will see them as obvious.
Of course, a Russian teacher from the UK will have to learn the language. In doing so, they’ll better understand the difficulties that a learner will come across as they learn the language.
Language teachers are under a lot of pressure. After all, second language acquisition is complicated and more than just translating English to Russian. You need to help students improve their literacy in a foreign language. With so much to learn, teachers feel the need to be able to answer any question about Russian grammar or Russian vocabulary.
But do they really need to know everything?
So why should a Russian teacher have to know every single thing about the Russian language?
Even a native speaker won’t know all of it. A native English speaker knows around 20,000 words and university-educated people know around 40,000. However, we only regularly use around 5,000 words. There are plenty of words that we don’t know.
So why would a native Russian speaker make a better teacher than a Brit?
It’s important that a teacher be passionate about learning and use the right teaching approaches to effectively teach their students. Charlie Chaplin said: “That’s what all we are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.”
We spend our entire lives learning.
Why would it be any different for Russian teachers?
Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing something or not having a perfect Russian accent like a native speaker. Keep improving and admit that you don’t know everything. You’ll feel much better for it.
During your teacher training,
You might need some qualifications if you want to teach people about Russian culture, the Cyrillic alphabet, or the Russian language, right?
It depends on the type of Russian teacher you want to be.
If you want to become a lecturer, you’ll need to go to university. (Source: TeroVesalainen)
Private tutors don’t require any qualification in order to teach a language. That doesn’t mean that teaching private tutorials is easy. You’ll still need teaching skills if you want to become a good teacher and provide language instruction outside a traditional classroom. There are language schools that don’t require their teachers to have a PGCE, for example. That said, you do need to be able to prove your teaching skills and language skills to work in one.
On the other hand, if you want to teach the Russian language in primary schools, secondary schools, or universities, you’ll need some formal qualifications. In theory, you can become a teacher without a Russian degree. You could always become a language teacher first and later add Russian to the languages that you teach.
If you want to teach in secondary schools, it’s very likely that you’re going to need a PGCE. Since this is a postgraduate qualification, you’ll need at least 4 years of university study (often 5 years if you include a year abroad) under your belt. This means that to teach Russian in a state school, you’ll need half a decade of study before you can start teaching officially.
Similarly, if you want to teach Russian at university, you’ll also need a postgraduate qualification. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a qualification for teachers but you will need to have a good understanding of teaching methods and
The PGCE is about learning how to teach, not learning about what you’re going to teach. Of course, there’s a difference between teaching languages and teaching sciences. However, the PGCE is designed to make you an educator and focuses on methodology and pedagogy rather than the subject you teach.
Becoming a Russian teacher will include a lot of studying. (Source: StockSnap)
Just being able to speak Russian won’t be enough to teach it to secondary school students. You’ll need to complete a PGCE, a demanding qualification that aims to prepare teachers for teaching in secondary school classrooms. Since Russian isn’t a commonly taught language, you’ll probably need to consider another foreign language.
You can’t just walk onto a PGCE course so you’ll have to prepare your application. This is where your other foreign languages will come in handy. On the course, you’ll learn different teaching approaches and how to use them to effectively teach different students.
Since the PGCE is a postgraduate qualification, it’s the equivalent to a master’s degree. After you’ve got your PGCE, you’ll become a newly qualified teacher (NQT). At this stage, you’ll start the induction programme.
After spending time in Russia, would you like to teach the language?
But where can you do it?
There are Russian teachers everywhere and plenty of places where you can teach Russian. Let’s start with primary school and secondary school pupils. While Russian is still a very uncommon language to learn in primary and secondary schools, it’s becoming more popular.
You can’t be scared if you want to teach a lesson to university students. (Source: Goodfreephotos_com)
There’s an interest in learning Russian from a very young age. If you prefer teaching older students, you could always teach university students. You can teach general language classes or specific classes on Russian grammar, Russian literature, or the Cyrillic alphabet.
What better way to satisfy your passion for the language?
However, if you don’t want to teach the national curriculum, there are other ways to teach. You could look at language schools and associations offering Russian language lessons for fun, professional training, or academic support to motivated students. This is a way to share your passion for the language while enjoying a better dynamic with your students.
If you want an even better teaching dynamic, you could choose to offer private Russian tutorials. You’d be freelance and get to decide your rates, your timetable (in accordance with your students, of course), and how you teach.
Superprof helps tutors find students and vice versa. As a Russian tutor, you just need to create your profile, list your experience, skills, and qualifications, where you are, and your rates. Potential students can then get in touch to organise their first tutorial with you. You can also offer your first hour of tutoring for free in order to entice students and get an opportunity to outline what you do.
There’s no commission for your lessons. Everything takes place between the student and the tutor. You can always pay to highlight your profile and get more offers. Don’t forget you can always put up posters in local businesses, too!
So are you ready to become a Russian tutor?