Coffee and Teaching in Russia…

I was drinking that morning cup of coffee after walking the dog. Boza was glad that him and I could tromp through the snow and check out our special places that we always go to. Sveta had been walking Boza since I was feeling rough…

So now Boza and I are walking again… 🙂

So what was I thinking about today while drinking coffee? Glad you asked…

I was thinking about a young student who I am teaching English to. He is a bright artistic young man (he is 9 years old) that is struggling with English because he missed a good portion of the last year of school due to illness and it was a very important year for basics of English…

In Russia from what I can tell everyone is taught English when they are young. Sveta said that she had English most of her life as she grew up. They also learn French and German but English seems to be the second language of necessity. This brings us to…

In Moscow, Russia someone can make a living teaching English. The demand is high and I am amazed at the price that I see these non certified English schools charging. Several schools near us are averaging over a 1000 rubles ($30) per individual of a 12 person group (yes $360 hour), per academic hour (45 minutes). Private lessons at schools are much much higher. The schools are over flowing with students of all ages. So someone with the ability, nerve and desire can make a lot of money tutoring in Russia…

But I am not teaching him for the money and I do not expect money for teaching him. I am teaching him English because he needs help. But the money issue is what brings me to this article. I grew up in a world of corporations that heaven forbid you better take care of the bottom line and make a profit. Even if you give it away, there better be profit in it. Since those days I have discovered a better bottom line and a better profit… 🙂

The grandmother is the person who found me. She heard Sveta and I talking in English one day this summer. Then she approached with her predicament that her grandson needed help before school started. I said that I would be happy to work with her grandson and his English. They are a typical Russian family and money is very hard to come by. The boys parents have no way to afford lessons and this was the grandmothers burden to bear…

So I said 300 rubles per real hour. I expected nothing but realized that they had to have a price because charity was not going to be accepted. So that started my entrance as a family member in a Russian family of strangers…

In Russia the teacher is someone very important. In the case of tutoring like I am doing. I go to their home and teach three times a week in their surroundings. They pay as they can and usually it is in the form of food. Such as tea leaves, baked cabbage pies, frozen fish and many other food items. Even coffee. In fact the food that Sveta and I get far exceeds any cash amount that I could ever demand for the services…

Treats are also very common and since I can not have treats, it has been hard to explain that issue. They just have to give treats to the teacher. It is tradition and if the teacher would refuse it would be an insult to them. So Sveta’s mom and uncle have benefited from the treats I get. Sveta refuses to eat them because I can not…

I usually go to their place and the boy is alone sometimes. We have our lesson and usually I spend two hours at the price of one. The family trusts me and wishes me in their household at all times. They always try to get you to eat a meal with them. Sveta has explained to me that I am their teacher. That I am a family member in their home and life…

It is strange to me and has been an adjustment for me to accept the fact that I am like family with them. Yet here I am, an America from a whole different world than what is common here and they treat me like one of the family…

By the way, when we first started with this boy he was not able to say his ABC’s and in less than 6 months we have got him reading from this years text books…

I am proud of him…

kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given...

A survivor of six heart attacks and a brain tumor, a grumpy bear of a man, who has declared Russia as his new and wonderful home (&) Honestly, I have no idea how much to ask for, but is a gift of even $1 something you'd be able to consider, to help keep Windows to Russia online in a Tiny Russian Village?

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