The Drops Blog

3 Tips for Choosing a Tutor for Learning a New Language Online

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Published:
Oct 7, 2021

Has it always been your dream to get a job abroad? Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to travel around exotic countries and explore the farthest corners of the world?

If that’s the case, the first thing you should do is learn the language spoken in the location you’re hoping to travel to so you can communicate in a foreign country freely. 

One of the best ways to get up to speed in a language quickly, other than with Drops which helps you learn thousands of new words in a language, is to work with a language tutor 1-on-1.

The question is, how to find the right tutor?

Indeed, no matter how determined you are, the quality of your knowledge will partly depend on your teacher. 

So, let’s figure out how to choose a foreign language tutor that will suit your learning needs. 

1. Look for Expertise

It goes without saying that the perfect language tutor should be skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced. Thus, the first thing you should look for is expertise. 

What are the characteristics of a good language teacher?

  • Strong language competence
  • Fluency in a foreign culture
  • Ability to personalize the learning environment
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to create an immersive language learning environment

Should you only opt for a native speaker?

Not necessarily. A native speaker might be able to explain some cultural phenomena better, but it doesn’t mean that a Spanish-native tutor who’s teaching English will not be good at their job. 

If you’re concerned about the teacher’s level of expertise, feel free to ask questions about their education, postgraduate courses, and other activities they take to enrich their experience. 

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2. Take a Trial Lesson

How do you know for sure that the tutor is right for you?

One option is to evaluate their social media presence. Many teachers today have social media channels where they share language learning tips and helpful lexical and grammatical material, like Jack Askew, an English teacher, does on his Instagram page To Fluency:


Credit: To Fluency


From the tutor’s online activity, you can get an idea of their teaching style, teaching methods and see if they align with your expectations. However, it’s just anecdotal evidence. 

If you want to get a real grasp of the tutor’s teaching skills, ask for a trial lesson. 

What should you expect during a trial class?

First of all, a teacher will analyze your proficiency level. For instance, if you hire an English tutor, they will test you for one of these levels to determine the depth of your knowledge:

Source: Preply


The proficiency test usually includes tasks to check your knowledge of grammar, how many words you know, how well you can understand the spoken word, and explain yourself in a foreign language. 

Once you complete the test, the tutor should explain how they see your lessons, what methods they will use, and which didactic materials will be involved. If their plan fits your expectations, you can proceed with the second lesson.

3. Ask for Recommendations and Read Reviews

There is no shortage of foreign language tutors today. However, the abundance of options can backfire – it will be tough for you to make the right choice. 

Luckily, you can use the power of the internet to your advantage and ask for recommendations. Forums, such as Reddit, can be of great help here. Simply type in the keyword for your question and browse queries shared by other users:


Credit: Reddit


You can also start a discussion on Quora or browse similar entries on Facebook. However, you should know that tutors often advertise their services on these platforms, masking a promotion as a recommendation. 

So, besides asking for a contact, make sure to read reviews about a tutor. You can find reviews on social media and websites like Yelp. Also, it’s a must to research the updated prices for a one-on-one foreign language class. It will help you avoid being scammed. 

Bonus Tip: Trust Your Gut

Of course, it is important to research the tutor and collect as much information about their expertise before hiring. However, no matter how experienced a language teacher is, you won’t enjoy your lessons if you’re not on the same page. 

That’s why, if you don’t dig the tutor’s personality, it’s better to keep looking. After all, the connection you build with the teacher is one of the most important aspects of language learning success. 

So, do your research, but trust your gut as well! 
And if you want to get a jumpstart on your vocabulary before your first lesson, try Drops!

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