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The internet is awash with websites for finding a private tutor online. But a five star teacher is a rare commodity. How do you find such a character? Here’s what I recommend students consider when hunting for the perfect French instructor. I even included a bonus sixth star!

Makes a Human Connection

While academic qualifications matter (and I’ll get to those in just a bit), the social aspect of private tutoring matters a lot. In other words, a private tutor should be working to develop a personal connection to make you feel more willing to be vulnerable so that you take more chances in your speaking, try out new vocabulary and make useful mistakes. If you’re feeling at ease in your lessons, you’re likely to learn much faster and build greater confidence.

Are they friendly? Do they make you feel so much at ease that you want to learn more words, or to go further into the conversation? Then, go for it! 

+1 ⭐️   for making a human connection

Focuses on Your Goals

Imagine that you’re headed for to the South of France with your wife, and you want to improve your French conversation. But then, a tutor insists that you study Tartuffe, the French XVIIIth century play by the classical dramaturgist Molière. This play certainly is a wonderful piece of literature. But do you want to study it now, three weeks before flying to Nice? Maybe you should better focus on conversation situations, and it is your tutor’s role to help you (and motivate you) with that. 

The very first thing that a private instructor should be asking about is you. They should take a strong interest in your motivations for learning, how you assess your own abilities, and what kinds of topics are most fruitful for conversation. Above all, they should be paying attention to what you want out of the language. This personal investment in a student is the greatest benefit of private lessons.

+1 ⭐️⭐️  for focusing on your goals

Gives You the Floor 

If a new tutor soliloquizes, head for the hills! A private tutor is the opposite of a lecturer. In the classroom you might have been used to a 10 to 1 professor/student allocation of speaking time. Still, a (good) private lesson should be the other way around. 

Does the tutor smartly guides the conversation towards making you speak actively for most of the session? Does she make you feel like you can express yourself even if your level is low? Therefore, it’s a sign that you might have found a prof fantastique

+1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️  for giving you the floor

Knows Their Craft

A credential does show commitment to the craft. However, years of online instruction (hundreds or even thousands of lessons) can also show that same dedication. Check how long they’ve been teaching or how many lessons they’ve completed. From experience, I can say that it gives you a mental playbook on how to adapt to all types of students.

+1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  for experience and reputation

Is Punctual & Flexible at the same time

Some students are looking for disciplined direction and structure, but most who seek out private lessons have flexibility in mind. Especially with teachers who are highly qualified, make sure that they’re willing to adapt to your individual needs. Often, those with the most formal training can have a more rigid approach than those whose background is primarily in informal learning environments.

+1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  for being punctual & flexible 

Wields the Power of Technology [BONUS]

So you had a lesson with a new tutor. Was the internet so bad that you lost the connection several times? Was the audio breaking and you couldn’t hear them properly? If that was the case, it wasn’t the best condition to learn in. 

On the contrary, when you find that the tutor has quality internet, good headphones, and mastery of basic digital tools, this is definitely a plus. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️+1⭐️   for good internet and helpful online tools 

So, do you think you found a person who deserves 5 – or even 6 stars? Then you probably found a prof fantastique! Of course, I’m biased. I believe that my friend and French teacher Léa Tirard-Hersant fit these traits. But Léa wants me to tell you that there are other great teachers around on the internet. So whether you start here with Léa or explore the other options, make sure that you’re choosing un professeur fantastique – someone who really gets it.

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Italki. Popular platform with dozens of thousands of language tutors. Referral link <= here, for $15 welcome gift.

Book a French session today. Check Léa’s teaching schedule here.