“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” - Leo Tolstoy
In recent years, learning Russian has become more popular. There are 280 million Russian speakers in the world. Russian is a Slavic language which was the official language for the Soviet Union (USSR). This meant that the language was hugely important in politics for half a century. While western European languages are usually taught in language courses in the UK, there's a growing demand for Russian course. Russian is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, and is also spoken in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, and Lithuania. More and more students are taking the leap and learning Russian as a second language. Russia is a fascinating place with rich literature, civilisation, culture, and media that encourages people to learn Russian. Language learning is really on the only way you can understand people and their culture. But where can you teach Russian? Let’s have a look... In this article, we're going to look at teaching Russian abroad, in language schools, secondary and primary schools, universities, and as a private tutor.
Teaching Russian Abroad
Choosing to teach students abroad about Russian grammar, the Cyrillic alphabet, or speaking Russian isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Forget about trying to teach Russian in countries where the language is spoken as there’s probably no need. To teach abroad, you should probably consider going to countries where Russian is often taught but isn’t a native language. Of course, you’ll have to speak at least two foreign languages: the language spoken where you decide to go and Russian. It’s recommended that you study foreign languages at university and choose Russian and another foreign language. You’ll probably be given the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language abroad or to attend a university abroad as part of your course. Depending on where you’re going, it might be worthwhile learning a language such as French, German, Italian, or Spanish, for example. While getting your degree is going to be difficult, it’s going to be even harder getting your PGCE if you decide you want to teach in state secondary schools. This means that if you want to become a teacher, you might need to study for 4 or 5 years. Of course, you could study outside of the UK. However, this could make things a little more complicated if you return to the UK and want to teach as you won’t have the necessary qualifications. If you want to study in the US or Canada, there are programmes for Brits that you can do. There are also plenty of universities around the world that offer degrees in Russian where you can study reading, writing, and speaking the language. Additionally, there are plenty of English speaking countries where you can study, removing the need to learn a second foreign language. This means that if you have the necessary qualifications and experience, you can teach there as well. You haven’t chosen the easiest route, though, it’s easier to find work teaching English as a foreign language than Russian in a lot of places.
Teaching Russian in a Language School
Don’t get discouraged! If you’d like to teach Russian to students of all ages, you can do so without having to leave the UK. There are language schools and centres where students can learn less common languages Chinese, Arabic, and Russian and learn about the surrounding culture, art, and work their way up to becoming bilingual. Here are a few examples of language schools and centres where you can learn Russian:
- The Russian Language Centre, London
- Brasshouse Languages, Birmingham
- Inlingua, Edinburgh
- Russian Language Centre, Manchester
- The Crescent Art Centre, Belfast
- Russian Language Centre Wales, Cardiff
- Live Language, Glasgow
Your best bet is to constantly check places like these for openings as well as send a CV and a cover letter to them expressing your interest in offering Russian lessons. You can also visit them personally. There are also some language schools and centres that offer training to their teachers and tutors. Don’t hesitate to check all the local language centres near where you live. A good idea is to consider applying before the end of the academic year around May and June. This is when some places will be looking to replace teachers who are leaving or find new teachers if they’re expanding and offering new languages.
Teaching Russian in Secondary Schools and Colleges
If you speak Russian, there’s also the option of teaching it in state secondary schools and colleges. However, this does mean that you’ll need qualified teacher status (QTS) or similar. You can get QTS by doing a recognised teacher training programme such as:
The process is a bit different in Scotland and Northern Ireland where QTS doesn’t exist. That said, you’ll still need to get the necessary qualifications in order to become a teacher. Additionally, your QTS from England or Wales won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll be able to teach in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In either case, your first year of teaching is an important one where you’ll need to pass your NQT year in England or Wales, a probation period in Scotland, or an induction programme in Northern Ireland.
Become a Russian Teacher in a University
Whether you want to further your understanding or Russian culture or learn more about the Russian language, you may want to consider teaching in a university. When it comes to universities, qualifications are key. This means you’ll definitely need at least a degree in Russian before you can start teaching it. Universities will generally expect you to have a level higher than that of the students that you teach. In this case, you don’t need a PGCE or QTS. That said, this doesn’t mean that teaching in universities is easier. In order to teach Russian, you’ll need a good understanding of many aspects of the language. Foreign languages are particularly valued at universities, too. Even if you’re not a native Russian speaker, you can still teach at a university by becoming:
- A Russian linguistics professor
- A Russian grammar tutor
- A Russian history teacher
- A Russian speaking professor
- A Russian interpreting teacher
- A Russian literature professor
It doesn’t matter what your speciality is, you should always be able to find something interesting to teach. Do you like Russian film? You could teach a Russian cinema course, for example! In addition to Russian group classes, you can also help students to learn more about Russia, Russian culture, and take Russian language courses from the comfort of their own homes.
Teaching Private Russian Tutorials
Finally, there’s another option for teaching Russian if you don’t want to work at a school, university, or language school. You could become self-employed and teach Russian as a foreign language privately. Whether you teach one-on-one tutorials, evening classes, intensive classes, or online Russian tutorials (over Skype), you can decide exactly what you want to teach and how you want to teach it. There are different ways to offer your private Russian tutorials. You might want to consider putting up a few classified ads in local businesses. Head to your local bakery, butcher, chemist, etc. There are also online platforms for advertising your tutoring business and your Russian tutorials. Consider looking at sites such as craigslist, for example. If you're interested in helping students to master Russian online or in private tutorials, you have to be aware that they'll expect you to tailor your lessons to them. You can focus on different language skills in each lesson including:
- Russian vocabulary
- The Russian alphabet, its consonants and vowels.
- Russian words and phrases
- Sentence structure
- European studies
- Russian verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc.
Superprof is a platform specialising in helping tutors and students find one another. You can offer both private tutorials in-person and online private tutorials. Once you’ve edited your profile, you can choose your rates and whether or not you offer the first hour of tutoring for free. Then students will send you requests. Offering the first hour for free is a good way to encourage students to get in touch, especially if you're just starting out as a tutor. There’s no commission for your lessons. The student pays to contact you. You have the option of paying to boost your visibility, helping students to find your profile amongst all the other tutors offering Russian tutorials on the site. So are you ready to start teaching Russian?
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