Find an informal tutor.
While languge partners can be great and free, they’re not always reliable and focused on learning what you need to learn.
If you want an experience where you’re guaranteed a lesson and the person has more accountability to be there for you, you may want to consider informal tutoring.
This is ideal for people who want to be able to work on customizing their own lesson plans along with the tutor and doesn’t include textbooks.
How to Find Informal Tutors
Step 1) Log in to your account.
Don’t have a free account yet? Sign up here to get one now.
Step 2) Once you do that, you’ll see a search bar at the top that says “FIND A TEACHER.” Click that.
Step 3) Choose which language you’d like to learn, and use the available filters to search for a tutor that’s a good fit for you.
If you find someone that you really like, you can “bookmark” their profile and save it for later (middle arrow), which is great so you can try out lessons from all of your favorite profiles.
If you click on their profile, you can see their activity, read more about them, see feedback from past students, and watch a video if they have one.
If the person is an informal tutor, they’ll be marked as “community tutor.” Everyone else will be a “professional tutor.”
How to Read Profiles
On this profile, I can check out her:
— Teacher rating
— Number of students she’s worked with
— Number of lessons from past students
— Description + specialties
— Types of lessons (many professional tutors will also offer some version of informal tutoring)
— View her schedule
— Schedule a lesson
— Reviews from past students
How to Schedule a Session
Step 1) To schedule a session, you’ll need Italki credits in your account. Go to your profile picture at the top right-hand of the site and choose “Buy Credits.”
Step 2) Choose the amount of credits you want to buy, and check out.
Step 3) Return to the teacher’s profile, and choose “Schedule Lesson”.
Step 4) Select your lesson type, the duration of the lesson, and the number of lessons you want to schedule.
Step 5) Choose the time you want to meet. Your calendar will automatically show up in your current time zone. The dark green is the one chosen 🙂
Step 6) Add in your method of communication and your username for that medium.
I typically use Skype, which is free and user friendly.
Step 7) Add a message if you’d like, and enter your password!
Then schedule your lesson in your personal calendar, show up on time and be ready to learn. 🙂
Benefits of hiring an informal tutor on Italki
— You can customize the content in your lessons along with your tutor, so it’s more flexible.
— It’s often less expensive than professional teachers.
— There are usually no textbooks involved.
— You get a guaranteed lesson that’s focused on you.
Downsides of using a language partner on Italki:
— Not every person will be a good fit for you as a tutor personality-wise, so you may have to do a bit of searching before you find the right match.
— If the person is living in a very different time zone than you, it may be difficult to schedule a time that works for you.
— You may feel like there is a lack of structure to the lessons, depending on the tutor.
Depending on your opinion, this could be a benefit or a downside. Practically any person can become an informal tutor, which may mean that they’re not knowledgeable about how to run lessons or teach a foreign language.
Full disclosure: Italki has sponsored the 30 Minute Italian podcast, and while they don’t pay me to brag about them on my site like this, they deserve the best of the best treatment…and hugs. Lots of hugs.
Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments below!