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The Guide to Teaching Russian

By Yann, published on 12/02/2019 We Love Prof > Languages > Russian > How to Teach Russian

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein

In England alone, there are 11.7 million children in primary schools and secondary schools. This is a lot of potential students to learn Russian. But teaching languages isn’t necessarily easy.

As a private tutor, you’ll need to decide what kind of tutor you’ll be, find students, prepare classes, etc. Each learner is different so your job is to ensure that your foreign language instruction is appropriate to what they’re studying, the curriculum, or the language skills they want to acquire.

In this article, we’re going to look at teaching Russian as a second language. Of course, a lot of the advice here could also be applied to other languages such Mandarin, Latin, or English tutoring services.

How Can You Choose the Price of Your Private Russian Tutorials?

One of the trickiest things, when you’re a private tutor, is choosing how much to charge for your tutorials.

How much should you charge for Russian lessons? There are a number of factors to consider when deciding what to charge. (Source: PublicDomainPictures)

You don’t want to put potential students off with rates that are too high and nor do you want to undercharge for your services and end up without enough money to pay rent.

Fortunately, private tutors can use a number of different criteria to help them decide upon their rates:

  • You level in Russian: Are you bilingual or closer to a B2 level? The higher your level, the higher you can potentially charge for your classes. A native speaker could charge more than someone who’s only studied for a year.
  • Your experience: What qualifications do you have? Have you already taught before? Did you spend time in Russia perfecting your spoken Russian? An experienced tutor can charge more than a new tutor. In fact, a qualified teacher could ask for more than someone who’s fluent in the language if they’ve got the right teaching skills.
  • The competition: How much do Russian tutorials cost in your town? It’s better to set your rates in accordance with what everyone else is charging. Really low rates will look suspicious and students will go elsewhere if you choose really high rates.
  • The students’ levels: Whether you’re teaching beginners, intermediates, or experts, exam prep, adult classes, or groups of children, you can’t charge the same for different levels. The preparation time is different for different levels. Generally, the higher the level, the higher the rates and you can’t charge a lot if you’re just helping out with homework and some basic vocabulary. However, if you’re helping someone go from an intermediate level to fluency, you’ll have to charge more to cover the costs of preparing the lessons.
  • The cost of living in your town: Those in London can charge more than elsewhere in the UK since the cost of living is so high, for example. Check the market. A language course in one town may be cheaper than another. Also, language tutors in different areas of town will charge different rates for their private tutoring.
  • The service: Intensive classes, group classes, one-on-one tutorials, conversation classes, online classes, depending on what you’re offering, you can change the rates accordingly. You can also offer trial classes and discounts for block bookings. No two language lessons are alike. A conversational lesson doesn’t take as much prep as helping an undergraduate with their exams.

Don’t forget to take your expenses for materials and travelling into consideration. As a private tutor, you’ll also need to be self-employed so make sure you set yourself up in order to pay taxes on your earnings.

How to Prepare Russian Tutorials

There are a number of well-structured ways to learning a language. Students will need to learn the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian grammar, Russian pronunciation, and all the different aspects of the language. It’s down to the tutor to plan their lessons.

How do you plan Russian lessons? Even if you’re a Russian native speaker, you have to prepare your lessons. (Source: TeroVesalainen)

A Russian tutor can’t show up empty-handed or with nothing prepared. An hour of tutoring usually requires at least an hour of preparation, especially when you’re first starting out. You need to tailor each lesson to the student and offer content that’s in-line with their level and how they learn.

After a few years of experience, you’ll have built up quite the collection of useful resources to use in class and preparing personalised tutorials will become second nature to you. However, a good tutor will always be looking to update and adapt their resources to make them as effective as possible. That’s why the very first lessons are hugely important because they’re an opportunity to meet the student, get to know them, find out what their level is, and discover how they like to learn.

It’s important that you and your student sit down and outline some achievable objectives that you’ll help them meet.

When you’re at home preparing your lessons, you should:

  • List the lesson objectives.
  • Under each objective, list the activities.
  • Find useful and interesting resources to use.
  • Prepare the exercises that you’ll use.

It’s recommended that you plan every part of your lesson. Finally, don’t forget that your lesson needs to be planned in terms of timing. For example:

  • 10 minutes reviewing the previous lesson: this will allow you to see whether or not the student has assimilated the new knowledge and give you an opportunity to go back over it.
  • 20 minutes of teaching the new topic.
  • 20 minutes of exercises.
  • 10 minutes of review.

Don’t hesitate to create revision worksheets and resources for your student to use between lessons.

Where Can You Find Students for Private Russian Tutorials?

If you’re going to teach private Russian tutorials in person or online over Skype, you’ll need to find students.

How do you find Russian students? Your next student may be closer than you think. (Source: PhotoMIX-Company)

As a private tutor, you need to learn to find potential students, manage your reputation, and, in short, network. To find new students quickly, you don’t need to have studied at a business school.

Networking can be done with just the people around you. Start by asking friends and family. If you’ve decided to become a private Russian tutor, talk to the people you know. Even if nobody you know is interested in learning Russian, they might speak to other people about it.

Word of mouth can work really well when it comes to finding your first students. Don’t hesitate to spread the word on social networks and look for Facebook groups of people wanting to learn Russian.

Of course, if you have students, you should ask them to mention you to their friends and family, too. Don’t forget to look around your neighbourhood, too. Work often comes up in discussions and a conversation with your neighbours or family will often get them talking about your classes.

Don’t hesitate to tell them that you’re teaching Russian private tutorials. The more people that are aware of your line of work, the more likely you are to find students for your tutorials.

You should also visit local businesses and leave some ads in your local baker, chemist, or fruit and veg shop. You can also place ads in places where students regularly frequent: libraries, university campuses, colleges, secondary schools, primary schools, and also in cinemas, music schools, horse-riding clubs, etc.

You can also ask in language schools or centres in your neighbourhood and see if they have Russian lessons.

Which Platforms Can You Offer Private Russian Tutorials On?

By using different methods, you can find students more easily. Make sure that you use the internet. Over 80% of the UK uses the internet. It would be a shame not to reach this huge market of potential Russian students.

Which are the best tutoring platforms? In addition to networking, there are plenty of online platforms for finding students. (Source: Free-Photos)

There are plenty of tutoring platforms where you can place an ad for your tutorials as well as classified ad sites such as craigslist. Specialised sites are arguably the best place to start, though.

  • MyTutor
  • Tutor Hunt
  • First Tutors
  • UK Tutors
  • The Tutor Website
  • Tutorfair
  • EvoTuition
  • Tutorful

These are all sites where tutors can put together a profile and advertise their work as a tutor. Some are free, some take a commission per class, and others charge for membership. On Superprof, the students pay once they’ve found their tutor. The Russian tutor earns the full amount for their tutorial.

However, tutors can pay to boost the visibility of their profile in the results in order to help them find more students. You can offer the first hour of tuition for free, offer webcam tutorials, private tutorials, or Russian academic support.

To really get the most out of being online, you need to make sure that you have a presence. Hopefully, that makes things a little clearer when it comes to teaching private Russian tutorials. Don’t forget that you if you know how to speak multiple languages, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming an English tutor or a French tutor, either. You can provide language courses in any language if you’ve got the skills.

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