Everybody knows that in order to speak Russian fluently, one must work like a slave, and Russian grammar is a tough nut to crack … In this difficult situation, Russian tutors serve as the guiding force in a Russian student’s life. They are constant companions in our adventure through the unknown and dangerous lands of Russian grammar and vocabulary.
Right from the time when we embark on our “trip”, we can encounter different types of Russian tutors. Some are friendly, some are strict, some are talkative, some are forgetful, and some we idolize. Russian students, especially at Russian language schools and universities, begin to classify Russian language teachers into different categories, such as Friendly Teachers, Lenient Teachers, Strict Teachers, etc. Let us explore them in detail.
1. The Friendly and Talkative Russian Tutor
Friendly teachers, as the very term suggests, act like a friend to their students. They are normally quite young and understanding, and they combine both the guidance of a teacher and the understanding of a friend. They always ask their students about how they are feeling, what is new in their lives, and then discuss their problems all together in the group. The teacher is so friendly that there is sometimes no place for grammar exercises during the lesson: the verbs of movement or the cases are so difficult to understand that the Russian tutor takes pity on his students!
However, friendly teachers are often well-organized and they have enough time to practice all the language aspects in each Russian lesson.
2. The Strict Russian Tutor
The strict teacher is tough on her students. She always insists on sticking to deadlines and gives lots of homework. She just loves grammar exercises, especially the hardest topics of the Russian language (the verbs of movement and aspects of Russian verbs)! Such teachers dislike any mistakes or carelessness on the part of the students. For example, if you make a minor mistake such as putting «ему» instead of «его», you are strictly punished and have to write «его» 100 times in your next homework.
This type of Russian tutor is like a disciplinarian, always keeping students on their toes.
3. The Late and Lenient Russian Tutor
The lenient tutor is easygoing and rarely punctual. She takes things as they come. She is not overly finicky about things and she doesn’t prepare her Russian lessons beforehand. Some of these types of teachers will just talk during the whole lesson, while others will just do grammar exercises, opening the book on a random page. Just how lazy are these teachers? The Late and Lenient teacher doesn’t even ask his students how they are and if they have news. She just says in the beginning of the Russian class: “Hello, students. Let´s open the book to page …”.
4. The Almost Retiree Russian Tutor
This type of Russian tutor is quite common. She is always a friendly elderly woman who loves her students as if they were her own grandchildren! So, she wants to help them with all their life problems, not only with Russian grammar exercises (these problems can also be considered existential!). She wants to help with Russian food, strict Russian security guards, problems with the hot water in summer, with the heating in winter, etc.
Russian lessons are full of diverse stories about the “old days”, such as life in the Soviet Union; old Russian books than were so much better than «Поехали», «Дорога в Россию» and «5 элементов» all together; Russian students who were more industrious and did tons of homework every day and didn’t complain about the odd system of Russian cases.
5. The Novice Russian Tutor
The Novice Teacher enters the classroom with dreams of explaining the deepest secrets of the Russian grammar and vocabulary to the students. However, sometimes he gets lost in the dark woods of the grammar rules and the vocabulary nuances. He appears wanly pale, sweaty and worn out after the lessons. The Novice Russian tutor still believes in changing lives through the magic of Russian grammar books.
Unfortunately, not many of his kind endure all the trials and tribulations of the teaching profession, and in a few years we can see them working as managers in the many Moscow offices.
6. The Hi-tech and Skype Russian Tutor
This type of tutor can combine all the above-mentioned qualities of different types of tutors or she can belong to just one of the categories. The only difference is that she just adores using cutting edge technology in the Russian lessons. She often uses nice colorful and clear Powerpoint presentations of the most important grammar and vocabulary topics; always takes her laptop with her and knows how to use the electronic blackboard, recently installed in the classroom.
As for the Skype Russian tutor, she is always multitasking! Not only does she have to know how to use Skype, headphones and a web cam, which is quite simple, but also how to search the Internet and the main social networks for good materials for the Russian classes and how to solve some technical problems that sometimes “attack” computers, routers and modems. But don’t multitask too much, please! You can fall into the trap of getting distracted during the Russian lesson by your Facebook friend´s new wedding photo or a funny birthday card received by email!
Being broad-minded, understanding and open to changes and new opportunities, the Russian Skype tutor sometimes thinks of herself as being the citizen of the world, even though she is immersed in a virtual world and almost completely loses her perception of reality!
And in conclusion, a few words about our Russian language tutors. As the director of the school I must admit that I adore each and every one of them! The teaching staff at “Russificate” are very diverse, but each is wonderful in their own way, like precious stones shimmering with different colors! Some of us reside in the vast expanses of Russia, while others live in different countries or even on different continents, but we all share the same vision: a passion for teaching the Russian language, for spreading Russian culture around the world, and above all, the desire to share our language and culture with everyone! After all, it’s not fair that Russia is typically associated only with bears, balalaikas, vodka and nesting dolls, right? And after we do away with these stereotypes, we will use our Russian lessons to build a new world – free, open to cultural dialog, at once practical and romantic.
Our instructors have seen it all – they’ve hacked through the thicket of the Russian case system, wandered the tangled pathways of verbs of motion, drowned in an ocean of participles… With pleasure they have worked with international groups at universities, assiduously (and successfully!) prepared students for the TORFL and lugged mountains of books around Moscow and St. Petersburg visiting private students. They have extensive experience with various work and various experience with extensive work already under their belts.
My dear colleagues! I owe you a huge “thank you” for all that you do for our school!