A teacher with heart and soul: Interview with Nadezhda Lyubich
03 June, 2016
At Liden & Denz since: 2015
Where are you from?
I am pure St. Peterburgian, born and raised in this wonderful city.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I never thought that I would become a teacher. I am from a family of mathematicians, but when I finished school, I decided to study either journalism or philology. In the end I decided for Russian. Even though we were considered as losers at university, because we studied Russian, (“Why should you study something you are already proficient in?“) it was the right choice for me. You can your impact immediately, when the students talk better and better. This is why I love to teach beginners. I also decided for Russian as a foreign language, as it is a great possibility to get international relations and it connects you to the whole world.
What are you most proud of?
In professional context I am proud of all the students that I taught to speak Russian, of all the progress they make. In private context I am proud of my children, even if they sometimes behave awfully.
Do you speak any other languages?
English, a little Italian, as I lived in Italy for 6 months, and a little German as I had a lot to do with German clients in my former job.
What’s your favourite dish?
I love eating in general, so I guess it’s easier to ask me what I don’t eat. But if I had to decide, what I would kill for is a good steak, well done or medium. For me, meals are also the way to get to know the culture. I never would go to an Italian restaurant in France, but instead try to get to know the local kitchen.
Where would you like to travel and why?
Basically at the moment I have two destinations I would love to go: Iceland and Argentina. I am basically an urban person, but the nature in Iceland is nature in its extremes, which I am sure I would find very impressive. And Argentina, because my mum told me it’s a good place to go. They have very good meat, wine, and flea markets, which I absolutely adore.
What’s your favourite joke or quote?
A lonely optimist’s bed is always half full.
My teaching methods
What do you think is the most effective learning method to get the best results for your students?
It depends a little at the level the students are at. At Liden & Denz most students are very motivated. The most effective method is to help the students find a method that suits them. Systematic people for example can create tables and use them. When I try to learn a language, I make podcasts for everything. I see things in the street, and rehearse dialogues about them, that I expect to happen. I also work a lot with visualization on the whiteboard, and I work with the book created by Liden&Denz, which also combines many useful methods.
What do you think is the best online resource or app for learners of Russian?
Well, basically I don’t use online resources a lot. The only one I use and is very helpful is masterrussian.com, there are a lot of tables about verbs, aspects, cases, and so on.
What do you think is the hardest part of learning Russian?
The first ten years. Seriously, if I had to look from your perspective, I want to cry if I had to form a simple sentence. There is so much to think about. Subject, which case is the subject, verb, which aspect is the verb, which person, which tense, which case does the verb go with, and so on, and so on. I can absolutely feel your pain. In my opinion, Russian is probably the most demanding and challenging language that one can learn.
Why is Liden & Denz the best place to learn Russian?
The unique location in the heart of the city invites to check out many new places around the school. In teaching, Liden & Denz follows a European approach. In other language courses you just get a list of vocabulary and you have to learn them. At Liden & Denz the vocabulary is embedded in stories. Also, there is a good book we teachers can stick to, but we can also use different methods if we think they suit better. You can’t teach a teacher to be a teacher. We are free to be the teacher we are and do the methods we think they are best, and Liden & Denz provides us with the necessary teaching materials.
My advice for getting most out of your experience
What extra-curricular activities would you recommend to your students to continue learning outside of the classroom?
Well, when you really want to improve your language, you can do additionally online lessons at Liden & Denz. You can watch Russian TV and listen to Russian radio. Sign up in vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook (vk.com). Get in touch with locals or read groups and forums. Also a great possibility is to do volunteering, for example as a babysitter, in libraries, hospitals or bookshops. Especially volunteering with kids or even elderly people has a big advance, as they usually speak slower than young guys.
How should students prepare before arriving in St. Petersburg?
Maybe you can read some translations of classical literature in your mother tongue. By this you will learn about the topics, metaphors and jokes Russians use in common language. You can of course buy a travel guide, but it will only show you the tourist sites, and can’t show you the spirit.
I guess the best preparation to come to Pieter is to come unprepared and just get in it.
Which 3 places are must-see for anyone visiting to St. Petersburg?
I guess you have to see two sides of Saint Petersburg, the summer and the winter one. My tips besides the usual tourist stuff that you should have seen:
- Kolomna (Коломна) during the white nights
- Beaches in and around Saint Petersburg
- Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Александро-Невская лавра)
- Pushkin and Pavlovsk (Пушкин и Павловск)
- Skiing or Skating on the frozen rivers in the city or in the city parks
- Making a winter crawl through coffee and candy shops (you can find lists with the cosy places in the internet)
Thanks a lot for your time. 🙂
This interview was performed by Florian Kreuzer currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz.