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How much do you charge private students in Moscow?

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Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:05 am    Post subject: How much do you charge private students in Moscow? Reply with quote

And what specific qualifications and experience are these students looking for in a teacher these days?
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Joined: 19 Jan 2017
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it depends on several things:

1) WHERE they want to study (i.e. which metro station and how far away from it). One should charge more if getting to a lesson involves taking a bus from Rechnoy Vokzal (for example) than walking from Arbatskaya to Shokoloadnitsa immediately outside.

2) WHEN they want to study. This will depend on one's own schedule, with evenings being busier

3) HOW OFTEN they want to study. One could offer a discount for more frequent lessons

4) HOW LONG they want to study per session. Self-explanatory, 60 mins cheaper than 90 mins

5) WHAT they want to study. Anything outside of general and conversational classes can command extra charges, e.g. preparing for IELTS/FCE etc, business/academic, etc.

Regarding qualifications, it seems not many students know so much about qualifications that a teacher SHOULD have. A CELTA or better would be preferable, although I'm fully aware of teachers who don't have such qualifications yet do an amazing job, and vice versa. It seems to be quite rare for a teacher to have a 'proper' qualification.

Of course, the more experience one has, the better, especially for the higher level students who need someone who can properly explain the nuances of languages. It seems most teachers in Moscow now would seriously struggle to teach much more than upper intermediate levels, due to the amount of 'fake' teachers out there.

Moscow seems to be overrun with native speakers who claim to teach English when they're usually a) exchange students who just want money to fund their expat lifestyle or b) so-called "teachers" who are more interested in dating/money than teaching or c) teachers of other subjects who think they can teach English purely on the basis of being a native speaker. I've taken on students who have had terrible experiences with natives who can't explain anything and charge far too much for their services.

Russians pretty much expect blood for their money (figuratively speaking), and will, unfortunately, use what seem like plausible excuses to get out of studying with someone they don't like. Also, the arrogance that natives often give off can put potential students off too.
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Joined: 04 Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Location: SoCal Forever

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:40 am    Post subject: Market Test for Privates on Repetitors Reply with quote

When one is considering coming to Russia everyone talks up the private students you will get. Well, I have/had a hankering for spending a year in Ma Russia and set out to put the plan to action. Now, I'm an experienced, traveled, overeducated, and certified native speaker so I thought this should be easy right? Wrong.

I had a number of interviews with various schools over the past 3 months which uniformly offered pay at or under 1000 USD and at best a shared flat (moscow), split shifts, and running all over the city. No bueno. In the interviews they would always say, re split shifts or lack of hours, Oh, you'll then have plenty of time for privates. OK great.

Soooo, I thought I'd do some market testing. I had a local friend translate my profile to Russian and put it up on Repetitors, a big site that has tutors in all kinds of subjects. I also had her put her phone number, and geo info and be the point of contact with students. The idea was for it to look like I'm in Moscow and am seeking students, if any signed up, I'd schedule them 3 weeks out and fly over. I priced my services at a high almost vip rate and much less for Skype classes. This was after reviewing my competition which is actually pretty lame vis a vis my own (I don't mean in ability because -who knows- but in that most are not native speakers or have much experience, etc.

This was 4 months ago. Since then I've had exactly 1 student who promptly flaked after the first lesson. I did receive notices from the site for about a dozen potential students in 4 months - some with real potential. However, whenever I would reply Yes, I would soon get a msg back that the student had already engaged with another tutor, or had changed their mind.

So the results of my market test to date is that Repetitors is not a good site for procuring private students passively.
Now, there do seem to be some opportunities on the site and perhaps there are ways to better game their system to get results. I didn't tweak all the possible variables. I had hoped that if I could get just 4-5 students to teach 2x per week that that would be enough to get close to the estimated 2-3k USD per month minimum I estimated one needs to live adequately (I'm not wholly dependent on teaching for $) in Moscow. I also planned to teach at various schools for contractor rates to supplement the privates.
Alas, that simple plan doesn't seem to have panned out.

I will add in here a very brief but sincere critique of the Repetitor site. It's really a POS site. If you imagine what a Soviet style factory experience was like pre-wall, thats what working with the site is like. Every change has to be reviewed and approved, every question replied to with boilerplate and condescension. Every order takes 4 steps + to process. Passwords are assigned and suddenly stop working, etc. etc. The women - I never dealt with a man-- who staff it are incredibly unhelpful and uninterested. And yes, I do realize that my friction with them may have impacted my success but I was never rude, just - to their eyes - annoying.

In ending, I'll say that perhaps if you get yourself over there and get out and socialize in person - not via pc-, that you will get privates and if you do well by them, that it will lead to more. The Russians are big on recommendations and word-of-mouth. The only caveat is WHEN - what is the timeframe for that to happen? In the meantime you will run down your bankroll and or have to work those crap jobs for however long it takes to get your quorum of regulars.

As always YMMV but I do hope this info is helpful to someone. Happy Easter!
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