“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” - Dalai Lama XIV
There are 280 million native Russian speakers in the world and the Russian language is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. Russian is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Moldova, and is also spoken in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, and Azerbaijan.
Since the times of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union (USSR), the Russian language and culture emanated from Moscow and influenced politics, business, literature, science, and art. This Slavic language was as important (if not more important) than the European languages that are commonly taught in school.
As the Russian language belongs to one of the world's biggest superpowers, Russian language study is becoming more common and an increasing number of students have decided to study it in order to develop language skills to help them in their careers or their personal lives.
If the latter sounds like you, you may want to consider teaching language courses and helping people learn more about Russian culture, Russian literature, and Russian as a foreign language.
Maybe you don't see yourself as a linguistics professor in a university or heading up a Russian studies or European studies course. Similarly, you mightn't be interested in teaching any kind of language course in a primary school, secondary school, college, or university.
Perhaps you'd prefer more freedom in how you help students gain proficiency in an interesting and challenging second language. This is why you may want to consider teaching Russian online or face to face as a private tutor. That said, if you decide to make language learning your vocation, you'll need to make sure that you earn enough money to make ends meet and live comfortably. In this case, you'll need students. You'll struggle to pay the bills if there's only one language learner interested in having a Russian conversation with you.
In this article, we’re going to look at the best ways to find your first students and join the many others working comfortably as private tutors.
There are over 5 million private tutors on Superprof who share their passion for teaching languages and other subjects.
So how do you ensure that students both in the UK and abroad find your Russian courses and tutorials?
Here's how to find students when you start tutoring Russian.
Network to Find Russian Students
It seems everyone is talking about “networking”...
So as a Russian tutor, how can you expand your network?
Don’t have a network?
Everyone has a “network”, so to speak, even your six-year-old niece!
Your network is just all the people you know.
Close Friends and Family
Now that you’ve decided to teach Russian privately, you’ll need to talk to those around you. Firstly, speak to your family. You might just find someone who’s wanting to start speaking Russian or who are studying it and needs some help.
If there’s nobody in your family who want to take Russian lessons, there might be somebody that they know who’s interested.
After you’ve spoken to your family and mentioned that you’re looking for students for your Russian tutorials, speak to your friends about teaching Russian grammar, the Cyrillic alphabet, or preparing students for travelling to Russian.
This is when you’ll start looking for work. At first, you’ll feel like you’re going round in circles but the more you speak to those around you, the more likely you are to find someone who’s interested in learning Russian.
Check here if you want to learn Russian London.
Don’t hesitate to let word of mouth find students for your Russian tutorials.
In addition to posting on your profile about the fact that you’re now a private Russian tutor, you should also use Facebook groups. Make sure you join and follow groups as there may be people looking for private tutors.
Offer your services and respond to messages from those wanting to learn more about the Russian language and culture.
If you’ve already taught a few tutorials, your current students are the best people to help you find more students.
The most difficult thing to do is to find your very first student. Get a testimony from them, get them to talk about how much they’ve learnt, how they’ve improved, and how well they can now speak Russian.
You can always use their exam results to show how well they’ve improved (with their permission, of course). Improved exam results are a great way to show off your skills as a tutor.
Make sure you carefully plan your tutorials.
Teaching Russian: Campaigning in Your Local Area
Whether you live in a big city or in the country, there should be a city centre, high street, or area where people congregate near you. Spread the word!
You can get in touch with your neighbours in two ways: either by posting letters and flying or talking to them.
It might be awkward introducing yourself to your neighbours just to tell them that you’re offering private Russian tutorials. You could also talk to them about organising a get-together after your lessons.
Your neighbours are a good place to start when expanding your network. Each person you talk to can speak to other people and tell them about your lessons.
It’s less awkward to put a small flyer through their door and tell them about the lessons you’re offering. Make sure it’s original and concise:
- The type of lesson: intensive lessons, evening classes, summer tutorials, group tutorials, private tutorials, etc.
- The level you teach: primary school, secondary school, college, university, exam prep, adult classes, etc.
- Your experience and qualifications.
Your teaching methods and pedagogy. You can also put a photo and some contact details so that they know where to find you.
Even if Russian isn’t your mother tongue, you can always offer Russian tutorials to groups and individual students.
Head around to local businesses, ask them if you can put up a flyer, and mention that you’re teaching Russian. This is a good way to grow your network.
Head to your local bakery, butcher, chemist, etc. Again, make sure that your flyer is concise, even more so than the one you put through your neighbours’ letterboxes. Try to fit all the information onto an A4 sheet of paper. Small businesses won’t have a lot of space to put up huge posters.
Mention the type of classes and the levels you teach. Summarise yourself in a few words: “Master’s student teaching Russian to primary and secondary school pupils”.
Write your phone number on detachable slips that interested parties can take away with them. This is going to act of your “business card” for those who’d like to learn Russian.
If you want to be a successful tutor, think carefully about the rates you charge!
Tutoring Russian: Go Where Your Students Go
Those who want to learn Russian mightn’t go to the same places as you. To find potential students, you need to advertise your tutorials where your potential students will see them:
- Primary Schools
- Secondary Schools
- Business Schools
- Language schools and Russian associations
- Cinemas, gyms, dance schools, music schools, etc.
There are plenty of places where you can find people who want to speak Russian better. You could even help students plan trips to Russia to help them learn even more quickly.
To avoid underhanded practices, always ask before you put up posters, especially in places like language schools. It would be rather cheeky to do so in a school that already offers Russian lessons...
Find Russian Students Online
The internet is a great place to find students who’d like to learn more about the Russian language.
You could always just sit back and let word of mouth do its thing in your local neighbourhood. Or you could go a step further and start advertising your private tutorials online.
There are plenty of tutoring platforms helping students and tutors find one another. Consider looking at sites such as craigslist, for example. Think about advertising your services on websites hosting classifieds.
While your local bakery will help you find students who live near you, the internet can help you find students from all over the UK and the world.
Superprof can help you find both online students and face-to-face students. Our platform is free for the tutors. However, tutors can always pay to boost the viability of their profile, appear at the top of search results, and increase their chances of finding students.
The tutor can choose their own rates and whether or not they want to offer the first hour of tutoring for free. Your Superprof profile can be more detailed than the flyers you put up in the butchers and through your neighbours’ letterboxes.
You need to mention your methodology, experience, qualifications, rates, and basically your CV. Your students can leave testimonials, feedback, and comments to help improve your profile. There are plenty of different tutorials available including maths, French, physics, Spanish, chemistry, etc.
You can search by subject and by area, making it easier for students to find tutors where they live.
Make sure you do everything you can to get the most out of your tutoring businesses. Keep in mind that finding students is all well and good, but if you want to have a successful tutoring business, you need to keep students coming back for more lessons.
The first way to do this is by offering quality private tutorials. The main reasons that people opt for private tutorials are that they want personalised lessons. From the first time you meet a new student, make sure you sit down with them, ask them why they want to learn Russian, and put together a plan of what they'll need to learn:
- Russian words and phrases (nouns, adjectives, personal pronouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.)
- Russian language lessons for business (with specialised Russian vocabulary)
- The Russian alphabet (Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet rather than the Latin alphabet)
Students want to know that their Russian classes are just for them and that every minute spent studying isn't a minute wasted. Offer students quality tuition and they'll keep coming back to you!