I have been teaching Russian, French and ESL for the last five - six years although my prior professional experience was not originally bulling up to being an educator. After I had graduated the Institute of International studies at Academy of Paris, established by European Commission and had my Masters in International Commerce I was working in international investments department in the real - estate and development company in Russia as general manager. But I have to say that working and living in different countries (Russia, China, South Korea, Cyprus, France, Egypt, UK, USA...) contributed tremendously to creating a set of skills and knowledges I have been able to put in use as a foreign language teacher. First of all, knowledge of five languages ( Russian, English, French, Korean, Spanish) allows me not only teach three of them but also conduct cross language studies and develop effective teaching method's techniques, meaning that any obstacle or ambiguity you come across during the learning process, be sure that i have already been there and spent quite some time finding the best way to cope with it. I also believe that my international experience and hence knowledge of different cultures and social particularities have enhanced my communicative capacities which help me a lot in various ways, starting from finding the right approach to my students and then creating for them an environment where language internalization can be triggered and processed through meaningful communication and according to the most eminent linguists: it's the only way.
Among my former and current students you can see quite a diversity: I have been teaching government programs, preparing diplomats, US embassy and Department of State employees for their government language tests and their mission abroad which included not inly creating individualized language curricula but also social and cultural studies; I have taught kid programs at primary schools which was an amazing experience as well; participated in inclusive education program where I taught French during attending training for teachers to work effectively in a classroom with individuals having learning disabilities. Tutoring remains one of my favorite working sectors because it allows my students and me to form our own optimal learning environment where the pace, the approach and the techniques to be applied are always adjusted in a natural way and thereby translate into not only a greater progress but also forming a fun and engaging atmosphere.
I am quite new to San Diego and only six months ago i drove here from Boston, it took me 72 hours but it was definitely worth it and i truly enjoy all the open air activities i can do here all year long: tennis, hiking, martial arts, surfing, photography, traveling ... but when it gets a little too hot for me I prefer to stay at home, cook my dinner (which I love doing), read books mostly within my self-educating project in psychology, sometimes writing articles sharing my views of linguistic nature or simply skype chat with my friends that I have all over the world which sometimes gets tricky because we all live in different time zones.
At last, I just want to say that one of the main reasons why I love what i am doing it's because I strongly believe that learning a foreign language is one of the most efficient ways of personal development that results not only in acquiring an incredibly valuable skill but also helps you to discover a whole new world of opportunities and perspectives, which, as you will clearly see, have always been there, residing within your talents and unique personality.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The Institute of International Studies - Bachelors, International Relations
Graduate Degree: The Institute of International Studies - Masters, International Commerce
Psychology, Philosophy, Martial Arts, Photography, Creative writing, Linguistics, Behavioral genetics, Cooking, Traveling.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is quite simple. First, I always expect more from my students than what they think in regards to what they can do. Second, teaching a language goes way beyond delivery of grammar rules and vocabulary. I try to bring my students to understanding of the concepts about how the language works. And last, students must understand that they are only learning a foreign language for themselves, just like people learn how to drive well for being safe on a road. I want them to have a lucid vision of the fact that "I study this foreign language because I want to freely communicate in it, and hence contribute greatly to my personal development and my future" will immediately cancel all sort of affective filters like anxiety, fear of mistakes, tests and assessments, frustration and hesitation. Because knowing your real goal inevitably leads to self-actualization and significantly better performance.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Comparative study: English VS the taught language. Present the major differences and similarities, allowing students to see from the beginning what they can and what they can not borrow from their native language. This also helps to see how easily students accept features of a foreign language non-existent in their own.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
1. Recommend a few options in the form of a learning plan outline. 2. Share sources they can find on the Internet. 3. Recommend various techniques for practicing. For example, using a voice recorder when practicing speaking and then listening to it for self-correction.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It's a cumulative effort. From the beginning, I try to set certain goals, and as classes continue students can always have access to their map of progress, and there is always progress to some extent. Sometimes I delicately direct my students to see how far they have gone, but usually it is unnecessary. And as long as there is a feeling of achievement and accomplishment - there is always motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I rarely find myself in such situations, because luckily all of my students have been and are very talented individuals who catch up on a new material very quickly. But when it happens, usually the second round of, maybe a little bit more detailed and more supported with examples approach, gets the job done.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When there is enough basic syntactic knowledge and vocabulary to approach reading exercises, I follow the classic model: breaking down sentences in major structural parts (subject, object, supplements); key word detection; using colors for underlying; reading aloud in order: 1 - teacher, 2 - student, because sometimes due to the transition from written word to the spoken some translation mistakes may appear. If students are not quite ready for the reading part but want to integrate it into curricula, all I can recommend is to focus on the context and operate with the words and structures that can be recognized.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
An interactional strategy.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think when students are not excited nor engaged with a subject, a good start would be to get them comfortable and interested with a person that teaches them. And that's strictly individual qualities such as charisma, ability to build confidence within a student, or even sometimes becoming a role model.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Formal and informal assessments. Some students prefer the challenge and some sort of solemnity in a process, i.e. "today is a big test," while some prefer otherwise.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I sincerely believe in my students, and I don't really perceive building confidence as something that can be achieved as a part of a program. It happens on a different level: students, just like all human beings, sense that they are really supported by their teacher, and then they naturally come to feeling themselves more confident pretty much on their own. And when a teacher carries this feeling for his or her students, it lasts longer and works better than any type of pre-set techniques of manipulative nature.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Feedback, analytical works, surveys.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Flexible schedule, creative approach, interesting and effective materials, recommendations for after class activities.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I create and design my own materials according to the particular student. For the materials like dictionaries, verb conjugation books, etc., I give recommendations and sources.