“Why would finding your tutor not be more like Tinder?”
Do you want to tutor me?
You are scrolling through Preply or iTalki. You see dozens of faces. All willing to help. And claim to be the best. But how do you know? How do you find your match?
For god's sake, there is no swiping right.
A good tutor is almost like your ideal partner.
A tutor brings essentials to your learning process. Here are key characteritics:
Just like Aretha Franklin needs it, you do too.
But respect is about more than just politeness. You shouldn’t be solely seen as a student; when you’re getting stressed or overwhelmed with the process of learning a new language, you want a tutor that sees you as a person, too. Respect works best as an exchange. When you feel respected, you'll learn twice as fast. Ask Oxford.
And, you will not easily cancel your class to a person you respect.
So you're looking at a possible match. Motivation sky-high.
Let’s not get too psychological here, but what triggers you to learn a language? What’s your biggest motivator? Fear, love, personal development?
When you have your first lesson with your tutor, check how much interest they have in your true motivation to learn.
A motivating tutor finds a way to push your buttons to jolt you (back) to action.
If they don’t give you (they should) feedback, ask them for feedback. On your first lesson.
How clear can they present feedback? How do they motivate you from the bat to be better?
Adaptable teaching style.
Imagine this: you had a long day, full of chitchat. You have a class planned. Wouldn’t it be nice if a tutor shifts away from yet another conversation to - let's say -a listening exercise?
So how to detect this quality in lesson one?
Let them explain a subject. Then ask if they can explain it in a different way.
Do they? Do they come up with a different way, stimulating other senses or do they just explain it again with the same methodology. Inadaptability is a red flag in a tutor.
A skipping stone can only spend time in the air when the water it touches is
calm and smooth. Look for these telltales in your tutor: showing up on time, engaged (or is that phone on the desk too distracting for them), and privacy (or do you know everything about his other students).
When you touch base during the lesson, you want that reliability that lifts you up.
Without patience, Michelangelo’s David would never have existed. We’re not talking about patiently waiting to pay for your groceries. You want somebody that puts up with your mistakes, because they can see past them. A truly patient tutor thinks of the benefit of the student and knows that being patient will eventually help the student to reach the end goal.
Should you get on their nerves to see how they react? I would not suggest that. Maybe just a pinch. A tiny one.
All you need is...
Will you find your perfect match? With these tips your chances will grow.
It’s not a picnic to find your match. And a mismatch might dampen your initial spark.
However, a fine tutor will bring qualities to the table that make your journey much more enjoyable.
Looking for a match made in heaven? Or just a very good tutor?
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