How to Find a Good Online English Teacher (with bonus vocab words!)
Are you having trouble finding a good online English teacher? There are so many qualified English teachers that it can be daunting to choose a new one. (Bonus vocabulary word: Daunting means intimidating or too difficult. It means it’s so difficult that you don’t know where to begin or feel like you can’t do it.)
Narrow Down Your Options
So how do you choose a good online English teacher? There are several things you can do to pick the English teacher that is right for you. First, you want to narrow down your options. (Bonus vocab: Narrow down means to make smaller. In this case it means there are thousands of choices, you want to make the number of choices smaller). You can start by checking Google or YouTube. I recommend YouTube because you can actually watch the teacher’s video and see their teaching style. Just type in “free online English lesson” into the YouTube search engine. You will find literally thousands of results. Pick a few, maybe five to ten, that seem interesting to you. Click on their sites and/or videos and see what they have to say.
When you’re watching their videos you are looking for certain things.
- Does the teacher seem friendly and approachable? Can you imagine speaking with this person? Do you think you would feel comfortable?
- What types of English are they teaching? Are their lessons focused on grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, conversation or listening? Which skill are you most interested in improving? For example, if your goal is to improve your pronunciation, you might not want to pick a teacher who has mostly grammar videos. Even though this person may be an excellent teacher, their focus or expertise might just be on grammar, so it might not be a good fit for you. However, if you’re really interested in improving your grammar, and a teacher has mostly grammar videos, great! This might be a match for you!
- Another thing to check for is the English level they are teaching on their videos. For example, if they are teaching grammar, does it seem too easy for you? Is it too difficult? Are the grammar topics mostly ones you have already learned? Or are they so advanced/complicated that you cannot follow? Or is it about right for you? If it matches the level you’re at, then great. Again, this teacher might be a possible match.
Email the Teachers You Liked
So after you’ve done your research and viewed about ten to fifteen websites and/or YouTube videos, if you’ve followed the tips above, you should have weeded out all but your very top choices. (Bonus vocab: Weeded out is similar to narrow down. It means discarded or decided against. For example, you watched ten videos, and you decided six of the teachers weren’t right for you. You’ve weeded out six teachers and have four left.)
Your next step is to attempt to contact these four teachers. Let them know you are interested in studying with them online. The first thing you are probably going to want to check is prices. Are they in your price range? If they are too expensive, move on. You do not want to waste your time or theirs if you know that really you will not be able to afford their lessons.
Is the Teacher Interested in Getting to Know Your Needs?
Other than price, you also want to check their communication style. When you contact them about English lessons, pay attention to their reply. Do they ask you questions about yourself to get to know you? Do they try to find out what specifically you want to improve in English and what your reasons are for studying English? If they ask these types of questions, it’s a good sign because it means they are trying to make sure that they will be able to make lessons that are right for you. From the questions the teachers ask you, you will probably know if they offer customized lessons specifically for you, or if it is just one program that they follow for everyone. If you’re not sure, ask. If it’s a program, does it sound good for you? Is it what you want to learn?
Is the Person a Qualified English Teacher?
Next you should ask the teachers you contact about their qualifications. Have they taught English before? Did they study teaching or English in college? If their ONLY qualification is that they are a native speaker, unfortunately, they are not a qualified English teacher. If they are not a qualified English teacher, they may not be able to answer complicated questions such as advanced grammar questions, etc. However, if you are just mainly interested in gaining conversational skill then this type of person might be okay for you. So make sure you are either choosing a qualified English teacher or that you are only interested in practicing conversation.
Take a Trial Lesson
Lastly, the best way to decide if a teacher is right for you is to take a lesson with them. Many teachers offer new students free trial lessons so students can make sure they are comfortable before signing up. In my experience, this is the best way to make sure you are a match for each other. If the teacher does not offer a free trial, ask the teacher if they will consider at least a few minutes on Skype to chat and see if you are a match. If the teacher refuses, they might have too many students already or they might not be a good fit for you. Some teachers may offer trial lessons for a fee, which is also okay, as long as the fee is reasonable.
What do you look for in an online English teacher? Leave a comment below!
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