In addition to reading our guides on how to best prepare for your first online lesson and generally have better lessons, the easiest way to ensure you get the most learning done is to choose the right teacher. A great teacher will not only teach you the language but will also help to keep you enthusiastic and motivated.
Of course, who the right teacher is and how they teach is really very much dependent on what you’re looking for. However, there are still a few questions you can ask yourself to determine what you should be looking for in a teacher.
What is my goal with the lessons?
This is an important first question to start with. The right teacher needs to click with your personality but they first and foremost need to be able to give you the skills you’re looking to acquire.
If your goal is to simply get by with your target language on a weeklong trip, you need someone a whole less specialised than if you’re looking to improve your accent or pronunciation. If you’re looking to develop a very particular skill – like medicinal or technical language, you already know that you will have to work a bit harder to find the right teacher.
At what level am I?
Answering this will also help you to narrow down the qualities you should be looking for. Although you will find that most language teachers come with the standard package of patience and being supportive in your learning process, you will also need a few additional extras depending on your level.
If you’re looking to take online lessons at the beginner’s level, you might want to look for someone who has developed their own materials and is very familiar with all the possibilities the internet comes with. If you’re looking to simply get some conversation practice or slightly improve your level, someone with very good attention to detail who will jump in to correct you will be better. Naturally, you might be looking for someone different to what was described above, but determining your level is still a great way to get your search for the right teacher off to a good start.
Read between the lines
If you’re looking to find an online teacher, you’re most likely going to spend at least some amount of time reading the various ads and profiles out there. While most of them have the same basic information, you can really deduce a lot more info form what is written if you delve a bit deeper.
Try to focus on as much on what is not being said than on what is written down. Since most of these online presences mention at least something about the teacher, like their hobbies and interests, see if you can imagine talking for hours with this person. Another way is to analyse the way the text itself has been put together. You can make a pretty good guess about a person based on how and what they write about themselves.
Look at the references
While you shouldn’t really take references and testimonials at face value – they are almost always written by people who have had a good experience and cut out the ones who might have something bad to say, you can still discern some info from what is being written about your potential teacher.
It is, again, time for some text analysis. See, if there is a trait that is being mentioned the most. If so, think a bit if that is actually relevant to what you’re looking for. Go back and see if any of the skills that you want to improve have received a special merit, or are noticeably missing. Really bore down to the details of the wording to determine if you want to have a lesson with that person.
Write an honest introduction
Once you’ve found a teacher, or a couple, you would like to have lessons with, write them a message with an honest introduction to yourself and what you are looking to achieve. Try to be as detailed as possible with what you’re looking improve in the lessons and what kind of language teacher you are looking for.
Although not many teachers will turn you down, unless there’s an issue with your schedules (also why it’s a good idea to contact many at a time), you can probably discern a lot from their reply. Were they quick to reply and seem to have read your approach carefully? Have they been thorough in answering your questions? Have they already proposed a few ways on how to get started improving your skills? Are they putting you at ease before the lesson?
Conclusion – do a bit of research to avoid wasting your time
There is no lack of online language teachers these days, so the only issue becomes choosing the one that’s right for you. Although the correct teacher will be different for everyone, based on their level and expectations, it’s good to take a moment and do a bit of research before booking the lesson.
The exceptionally good teacher will serve to motivate you through your language learning process, but it can take a while to find the right one. So, you can choose to either do the due diligence yourself or fill out a short form and let us take care of it for you.