Angela Prodanova teaches Russian classes at Bridge in downtown Denver, Colorado. She talked to us recently about how she got into teaching, shared her tips for beginner students, and offered advice on how to learn a language faster.
Where are you from?
I originally come from Western Ukraine, where the country is bilingual both Russian and Ukrainian. I speak them both and get excited when people express interest in learning either one.
What languages do you speak?
I speak Russian, Ukrainian, and English and I’m currently learning Spanish.
Tell us about yourself!
I have a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages Instruction, a TEFL Certificate, and more than 5 years of experience teaching ESL. I worked with students from Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Aside from teaching and learning languages, I also enjoy traveling and photography. My dream is to fly to the moon and have a cup of hot tea with lemon and a piece of buttered toast while admiring the earth.
What made you decide to teach your native language?
I always wanted to try on a hat of a native speaking Russian teacher. The biggest challenge is to explain how Russian grammar works as it all comes naturally when I communicate. Plus, it is always fun to share your culture and knowledge to those who are interested.
What is your favorite thing about teaching your native language or teaching in general?
I love to observe how my students build up their confidence with the new language, and it makes me proud that I did a good job as a teacher mentoring them and facilitating their learning process.
What tips do you have for beginner students?
Once you’ve decided you really want something – you can do it! Step by step. Just remember to practice the target language at least half an hour a day and don’t be afraid of making mistakes, the more you practice the faster you learn!
What can students do outside of class to improve their language skills?
It’s always a good idea to watch movies, listen to podcasts, and try to speak the language to a real human being. Also, writing a journal helps a lot— even 1 or 2 sentences about your day will make a huge difference in your vocabulary.
What is the biggest obstacle for most people to learning a language, and how can they overcome that?
The fear of speaking is the biggest obstacle one faces when trying to learn a new language. But nobody has ever mastered a language without making a ton of mistakes or sounding funny. You are not the only one, so join the club!
If you’re ready to “join the club” and learn a new language, Bridge offers Russian and other foreign language classes in Denver, including Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, French, Italian, German, & Arabic (Portuguese coming soon!). Read our FAQs about language classes to learn more!