Selecting private English teachers is my job.
I have been in charge of recruiting trainers at the English Academy for more than 25 years, and I must admit that the selection is not always easy. We strive to find the best private English teachers to help our students achieve their goals and realize their dreams. The reputation of our language school depends on it. And that means we have to be strict in our selection criteria.
Your success hinges on choosing a good private English teacher.
Have you decided to take private English lessons? Very good, but how do you choose a teacher who will meet your needs? There are countless so-called English teachers out there. How to make the right choice ? By relying on word of mouth or your intuition? Choosing the wrong teacher will waste your time, money and potentially your motivation to learn English.
If you don’t realize the importance of a good teacher (or a language school that practices serious recruitment), this article is for you.
I have selected 5 important criteria that an English teacher must meet and that you can easily check, even without being a language teaching professional. I strongly advise you to choose a language coach who meets the 5 criteria described in this article to put the odds on your side to achieve your goals.
Without further ado, here they are:
Our very first selection criterion is that all of our teachers must be native speakers. They come from the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, where they were brought up by English-speaking parents.
There is nothing better to help you progress than a private English teacher who knows their mother tongue in depth. An English-speaking teacher speaks to you exclusively in English. It is this immersion that allows you to progress more quickly, and to acquire an almost instinctive use of the language.
And from the pronunciation point of view, let’s not forget that opting for a native teacher is also the guarantee of learning the language with a truly English accent. If you need to use a particular accent, simply select a teacher from the relevant country or region.
A native teacher is also better able to impart cultural knowledge about their home country. Each language is intimately linked to the corresponding culture. A teacher who can teach you the cultural references linked to an expression or who can help you understand the mentality of your foreign interlocutors is an asset not to be overlooked.
A teaching diploma
Many private English teachers do not have a teaching qualification such as TEFL, CELTA or DELTA. Their experience led them to teach but they were not specifically trained for it. They master the target language but are not real linguists.
I interviewed many aspiring teachers, natives of the language, but without a pedagogical degree. Among other things, I asked questions as if I was myself a student who did not understand something. They were often surprised themselves at not being able to explain grammar well or clarify common mistakes made by non-natives.
Before you can teach a language, you must have studied it in depth yourself. Not everyone pretends to be a linguist.
In addition, qualified teachers have been trained to use effective didactic methods for interaction with students. Being a good teacher is also something that can be learned.
Long experience as a private English teacher.
In addition to being native and having a teaching degree, it is essential for a good private English teacher to have experience. Unless you want to be one of the “guinea pigs” of a new teacher.
Here at the English Academy, we require applicants to have a minimum of 2 years of prior experience before working with us. In our experience, those few years really make a difference for students.
If you have basic or very general needs, experience is simply an asset. But if you are looking for a teacher capable of teaching you Business English or coaching you for an official English exam (Cambridge, IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, etc.), selecting a teacher who is truly experienced in the specialty in question is a necessity.
Among experienced private English teachers, we also observe a better knowledge of the teaching materials available. A trainer who is familiar with English as a foreign language teaching resources is more capable of selecting the material that suits your needs.
The choice of a specialized coach
Previously, I told you about Business English and official English exams. These are specialties that not all teachers have. If your needs are really specific, make sure your coach really has the corresponding qualifications.
You also understand that teaching adults and children is not done in the same way. The method is different.
You can’t specialize in everything. So not only should you check the number of years of experience of your potential trainer, but also the type of experience acquired.
A good grammarian will not necessarily be able to help you lead a meeting in English. Some private English teachers are very versatile, but not all!
Evaluation of the private English teacher by his students
If you go through an online platform that brings together teachers or a language school, make sure that student evaluations are taken into account. On most online sites, you have access to the evaluations left by other students. This allows you to get a first idea.
At the English Academy, we make sure to send a request for feedback to each student at the end of their course. This allows the management and the teachers themselves to know what went well during the training and what could have been improved. These comments allow us to carry out constant quality monitoring.
Whatever solution you choose to improve your English, make sure that a similar procedure is in place. This is a real guarantee of quality!