How to Choose a 2nd Language Tutor


Chrystelle Browman, Tutor Delphia’s Content Manager reports in on her international experience. In addition to working for Tutor Delphia, Chrystelle is pursuing a career as a librarian and has been working overseas for the past few months.

At my workplace, I’ve heard over 20 languages being spoken. There is always at least 5 or more countries represented at every lunch table. You can imagine the different sounds as you move through the cafeteria – it is truly a symphony of awe and beauty. Watching and listening to people switch languages within a sentence will always be mesmerizing to me.

Interacting within a multilingual environment has got me thinking what a shame the U.S. school system does not make learning a second language mandatory. Furthermore, many schools, due to budgetary restraints, have cut second language programs. While some first generation Americans have the benefit of growing up in a multilingual household,  the majority of Americans will never get the opportunity to learn a second language.

So what is one to do when you want to learn a second language, but your school doesn’t offer them? Hire a tutor!

However, before you go about hiring a personal instructor, you have some decisions to make about who you choose to begin this journey.

Choosing a tutor for language help is different than choosing a math tutor. For instance, you will have to be comfortable having multiple and varied discussions with this person. In other words, you need have chemistry with your tutor. You will discuss everything from the weather to what you did over the weekend, so make sure that you are comfortable with discussing a variety of subjects with them.

While other subjects need to be regimented, such as math, language courses do not have to be.

Another issue to consider is how structured you want your language lessons to be. While other subjects need to be regimented, such as math, language courses do not have to be. You can choose to have lessons that emphasize more on conversation versus one that focuses on vocabulary. I personally enjoy having unstructured lessons, with conversations varied in subject so I have the opportunity to mimic casual phrases within everyday conversation.

A third decision to make before searching for a language tutor is your level of commitment. Practice makes perfect, and having a language lesson only once every blue moon will be detrimental to learning a new language. Make sure your new tutor is willing to meet with you at least once a week.

Learning a different language is hard and challenging work. However, as difficult as it is, being able to switch languages within a sentence is completely worth it.

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