“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin
With 280 million native speakers, the Russian language is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, it's the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages and is an important language in terms of politics, business, and travelling to the multitude of Russian speaking countries.
In fact, Russian is an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Moldova as well as being spoken in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Lithuania by a good number of people. The Russian language and culture were hugely influential during the time of the Soviet Union (USSR) and the Russian Empire, which is why the language is still so widely spoken today outside of Russia itself.
While it isn't the first foreign language most people decide to learn in the UK (European languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, and German are still popular as a second language in British schools), more and more people are deciding to learn to speak Russian online, with a private tutor, or on a language course.
Since the demand is there, more and more language courses are popping up. In fact, you'd be surprised at just how many language schools offer Russian courses for beginners, intermediates, and experts in the language.
In terms of private language study, the average cost of a Russian tutorial in London is £27 per hour. While that’s the average, there are a number of factors that affect the price of a private tutorial.
So have you decided to teach private Russian tutorials?
You probably have a lot of questions about how to get started with your Russian classes.
Do I have to have studied abroad? What language skills do I need?
I bet one of your questions is about how much you should charge! You don’t want to charge too much and you won’t want to be struggling to make ends meet, either. It won't be worth your time teaching a few Russian words and phrases to an aspiring linguistic if you end up with nothing to show for it.
Don’t worry! Here’s some advice on how to decide how much to charge for private Russian tutorials.
Teaching Private Russian Tutorials: Setting Your Rates By Level
The first factor to consider when you’re setting your rates is your own level. Your level and experience speaking Russian will need to be considered if you want to charge a fair rate.
What Is Your Level in Russian?
Unless you’re a native Russian speaker, you probably learnt Russian at college or university and studied the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian grammar, and Russian culture.
You should be aware of what your level is on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). As a reminder:
- A1: Breakthrough or beginner
- A2: Waystage or elementary
- B1: Threshold or intermediate
- B2: Vantage or upper intermediate
- C1: Effective operational proficiency or advanced
- C2: Mastery or proficiency
With a B2, you’ve got a sufficient level to start thinking about teaching Russian. The closer you are to being bilingual, the more you can charge for your lessons. When it comes to language learning, students are more likely to want someone with a high level of Russian and a lot of experience rather than an undergraduate who's just getting to grips with Russian vocabulary.
What Is Your Experience?
Of course, it’s better to have experience teaching and plenty of positive reviews from other students raving about your effective teaching methods and approaches. If you’re just starting out, then you should probably focus on your qualifications.
Your qualifications will be useful in justifying your rates. Again, this Slavic language, like any language for that matter, isn't necessarily easy to learn or to teach. This means that if you've been able to learn Russian London and teach it successfully for a while, you're a valuable asset in terms of teaching anyone who wants to learn and, as a result, will come at a price.
If you’ve got a degree in Russian or spent time studying Russian in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, for example, you’ll want to mention it on your profile. This is also a great way to justify the rates you charge for your lessons.
If you’ve studied teaching qualifications or done any other teaching training programmes, make sure you mention them. An experienced and qualified teacher can ask for more per hour. If you’re just starting out as a Russian tutor, it’s not necessarily a bad thing as you can find students by charging less per hour.
Keep in mind that you can’t really ask for as much as an experienced tutor who’s approaching retirement.
How Much Is the Competition Charging?
How much does a Russian tutorial cost where you live?
It’s a good idea to price yourself similarly to the other tutors in the area.
Charging too little will look suspicious and if your rates are too high, students will go elsewhere.
Take Into Account the Students’ Levels
After you’ve established your level, you need to think about the students’. A private tutor needs to be able to adapt to each learner.
With your level in Russian, you may not be able to teach every student. For example, if you’re at a B2 Level, you won’t be able to teach students wanting to learn at a higher level than you.
Similarly, students of the same level may have very different demands. Some may want to study Russian literature, pass a Russian exam, speak like a native, etc.
You can’t charge the same for different services. Since the preparation time will change depending on what the student wants, you can’t always charge the same rates. You need to factor in how long it’s going to take to prepare their lessons and suggest a suitable rate.
Setting Your Rates According to Where You Live
Learning Russian in London will surely be more expensive than elsewhere in the UK due to the high cost of living the capital, for example. Again, look what other tutors are charging for a better idea of the going rates where you live. If you don’t, you run the risk of charging way too much or way too little for your Russian lessons.
Don’t hesitate to have a look at language schools and associations in order to find a fair rate. A private tutor can charge less than a language school.
To help you, here are the hourly rates for Russian tutorials in some of the bigger cities in the UK:
- London: £27
- Birmingham: £19
- Glasgow: £15
- Leeds: £20
- Bristol: £24
- Liverpool: £23
- Manchester: £18
- Sheffield: £17
- Edinburgh: £18
- Cardiff: £21
The price in smaller towns may be less in some cases but more if there isn't much competition and the tutor has to travel a lot to their lessons.
Russian Lessons: Different Rates for Different Services
Just because you’re a Russian tutor, it doesn’t mean that you have to only offer private Russian tutorials. There are plenty of different types of lessons you can offer:
- Group classes
- Intensive courses
- Private lessons
- Refresher classes
- Conversation classes
- Online tutorials
- Summer tutorials
Group classes aren’t necessarily easier to teach. You’ll have to consider multiple students at once.
If you don’t want to travel, you may want to consider teaching Russian tutorials online via Skype, for example. You can charge less because you’ll have fewer expenses.
You can also offer discounts to students who pay for several tutorials at once. You could consider offering a free lesson for every 10 lessons or a discount when they buy 10 lessons together.
Take Into Account the Costs of Delivering Your Lessons
Being a Russian tutor isn’t just about teaching Russian words, pronunciation, and speaking. You’ll be self-employed and the boss of your own business. This means you’re also the accountant and the manager.
Since you’re self-employed, you’ll also need to consider your taxes. Of course, you can always hire accountants to do all this for you.
There are a lot of benefits to being self-employed. You can choose your hours, your rates, etc. You also get to choose your students, unlike teachers in a school.
In any case, you should make sure you’re earning enough to live on. Don’t forget to consider travel costs and other outgoings when deciding upon your rates as well.
Build Your Russian Tutor Profile
As a private tutor, you’ll need to be good at advertising. You need to make sure that your online profile is good.
If your profile isn’t good, it’s unlikely that you’ll get many students wanting to contact you.
A good profile is clear and precise:
- Describe your methods
- Describe your experience
- Explain your rates
Don’t forget a good photo on a clear background. You can even include a video!
In terms of methodology, focus on how you teach and how this helps students achieve their goals. A really short profile will look lazy whereas potential students won’t want to read your entire life story.
Make sure you include reviews and feedback from former and current students. Do everything you can in order to encourage students to get in touch with you and ask for a Russian tutorial!