There are so many reasons you might be looking for a language tutor. For example, maybe you want to find an English tutor so that you can improve your work opportunities in the U.S.
You might want to prepare to travel again following the pandemic, or you could just be working on learning a new language as a hobby or a way to improve your brain health.
Regardless of the reason, having a language tutor can be a real benefit.
When you have a language tutor, you’re going to get to interact and converse with another person, which is going to sharpen your language skills. They can help you understand those more subtle elements of a language that are hard to grasp when you’re just taking language classes, and especially when they’re self-guided.
The following are some things to know about finding an online language tutor or teacher.
Know What Your Goals Are
Before you start the process to find an English tutor, you should try to get a handle on what your specific goals are and why you’re hiring them because this will help guide your search.
For example, maybe you already know the language pretty well, but you just want to someone you can converse with to boost those skills.
On the other hand, you might be a complete beginner, in which case you want more of an actual teacher who can work with you on the fundamentals.
A language tutor is themselves going to have their own set of skills. For example, just because someone is a native speaker, they might not necessarily have the ability to teach you the basics.
When you know what you want and need, it’s easier to narrow down your options.
Research Your Shortlist
When you have a better idea of what you want out of your experience with a language tutor, that should have helped you create a shortlist of potential candidates.
From there, do your due diligence in researching them.
Start by going over the profile of the tutors or teachers you’re considering. Go over these profiles very carefully because this is how you’ll get the first glimpse of their personality.
Depending on the site where you’re comparing tutors, you should be able to read reviews from other students too.
Before you hire someone, and once you have a few candidates in mind you might then want to start a conversation.
For example, ask how they prefer to do sessions and what activities you’ll do. This will give you a good idea of their teaching style, so you can see if it’s in line with your learning style.
You should also ask if the tutor or teacher is comfortable with a video interview.
You can ask more questions at that point too.
You might want to ask whether or not the potential candidates assign homework and how they go about reviewing that homework if they do. You should talk about the expected time commitment too.
Does the person have a set program, or do they tailor it to you?
If you’re just starting to learn a language, then a set program can be fine because you need the basics. If you’re more advanced, you probably need something more customized.
Look For Someone Who’s Fluent In Your Language (and Culture)
If at all possible, when choosing a language tutor or teacher, it’s helpful if you find someone who’s fluent in your language and also understands your culture. That may sound like a given, but not all language teachers are fluent in the native languages of their students. They may know it somewhat, but it can still create communication barriers.
When your teacher also understands your culture, it’s helpful in the learning process because they can make relevant comparisons. For example, they can tell you how things translate in conversational settings and what it would be equivalent to in your country and language.
This will help what you’re learning to resonate with you more.
Choose Someone You Like
Okay, this might sound like a given, of course, you’re going to choose someone you like, but do you feel comfortable with them?
If you feel nervous or uncomfortable, or maybe your personality doesn’t mesh with the person you choose as your language tutor, then you’re going to be less likely to speak up when you don’t understand something or when you have questions.
You want to be able to be open and have a nice relationship with your language teacher. This will also help things flow better, which will improve your conversational skills.
If you choose someone who’s very serious and you’re more lighthearted, it’s going to be tougher for you because their personality will be so different from yours.
You will have to factor your budget into the equation, but don’t be convinced that price and quality always go hand-in-hand. For example, you might find someone who’s great but just starting out so they charge a lower price to get new clients.
If you find someone less expensive and maybe newer to the world of teaching languages online they might also have more time to dedicate to you than someone who’s more expensive, more experienced, and more in-demand. You could find this trade-off is worth it to you.
When you’re deciding on your budget, you’ll need to be realistic about what you’re able to pay and also what you expect in return for that budget.
You also have to consider that learning a language is often a long-term process. You have to consider the total costs all added up when you’re looking at your budget.
Finally, it’s okay to do a little trial and error. Maybe you start working with a few teachers until you find the one that you like, and once you do find that person, you’re likely to see that your language skills develop quickly. When you’re working with the right tutor or teacher, it can make a world of difference.