One of the hardest things to know how to do when learning a second language is knowing how to choose a teacher. There are so many people that teach English as a second language, in your home town and all over the world and online! How do you know which one will be best for you? How do you know which one won’t steal your money? How do you know which one will help you learn English the fastest?
While traveling, I’ve met other people that teach English as a second language. Some of them are great teachers and help many students learn to speak English fluently. And … some of them aren’t so great. Some of them hardly speak English fluently themselves and teach their students incorrect grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. If you happen to end up with a teacher that doesn’t speak English correctly or doesn’t know how to teach, you will waste your time, your money, and may actually move backwards in your progress to speak English fluently.
Although it is important to make sure that your teacher speaks English fluently, be careful with automatically assuming that a native English speaker will know how to be an English teacher. Many native English speakers think that they can be English teachers simply because they know how to speak English. But there is much more involved in qualifying to be an English teacher, such as knowing grammar and how to teach pronunciation and how to teach in general.
The following guidelines are basic requirements for an English teacher:
- Speak English fluently
- Completed some sort of training to be a teacher
- Has studied English in some way
- Loves to teach
In addition to the basic requirements, think about what is most important to you. Your priorities will help you choose the best fit of a teacher for you. Ask yourself the following questions in order to determine what is most important to you.
- Do you want to learn at home (online learning) or in a classroom?
- Do you want to learn from a textbook or from a more creative teaching style?
- Do you prefer flexibility or rigidity?
- Do you prefer classes with just yourself and the teacher? Or do you prefer a class with large amounts of students?
- Are you a beginner student or a more advanced student?
Once you have your answers, try and find a teacher that meets your priorities and expectations.
Many teachers offer a trial period, which means that you can do lessons with a teacher for a short period of time in order to see if you like the teacher, if you get along with the teacher, and if the teacher’s teaching style works well with your learning style. This is a good idea to trial the teacher before committing to a long period of time with the new teacher.
It is also good to meet the teacher personally or via Skype or FaceTime in order to get to know your teacher before committing to a long period of time with the new teacher.
What kind of teacher do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!