How to find the best language tutor online

A step-by-step guide to finding and choosing a language tutor online. Find a language tutor who'll help you achieve your goals.

Annkristin Guenther
October 16, 2022
8 MIN
How to find the best language tutor online

Finding and choosing the right language tutor online can be challenging. There are many factors to consider as ensuring a perfect match is a key to your motivation and long-term consistent effort.

Our data shows that language learners, who find a tutor they like, attend regular lessons on average 6 months longer than learners without one. This consistency makes a huge difference in overall progress to fluency.

Why learn languages with a language tutor online (vs. offline)?

Learning languages with an online language tutor has at least 3 advantages over offline language courses or tutors.

#1. Flexibility and time-saving

One advantage of learning languages online vs. in person is flexibility and time-saving. Instead of traveling to meet your tutor somewhere, you can have your lesson from wherever you are at the moment. You choose the date, and you choose the time. 

#2. Affordability

Another is that you can find tutors who match your budget. Online tutoring is cheaper than in-class learning by default, as the cost of the office space, classroom, and appliances are not passed on to you. On top of that, you have a wide variety of tutors with different experience ranges and residence locations. Some tutors might live in countries with lower living costs than yours. All those factors translate to lower fees per hour.

#3. Bigger choice

Finally, the choice is much greater online as you can find tutors from anywhere in the world. You can choose a tutor who best meets your needs and expectations, irrespective of where they are.

That said, due to the greater choice of tutors, sometimes finding the right one is challenging. Many students we talk to report “a Netflix search fatigue”- like experience: with greater choice, students struggle to settle on a tutor quickly. Existing marketplaces don’t always make it easy to decide - tutors have similar intro videos, similar ratings, and similar descriptions (however, platforms like Heylama are changing this with social tutor discovery and precise matchmaking algorithms)

What makes a good tutor? Criteria for choosing your perfect language tutor

Choosing the right tutor takes time, but is a critical step

Tutors make a massive difference in the extent and speed of progress you’ll make. If you find the right tutor, you’ll start seeing and feeling amazing improvement within weeks. Conversely, your motivation will start declining if you’re unsatisfied with your tutor.

It is crucial to have a sparring partner with the right skills to help you achieve your language goals and a personality that makes it enjoyable for you to learn from.

Here are 4 criteria you should pay attention to:

#1. Your tutor makes you speak as much as possible.

You want a tutor who has an interesting personality but doesn’t occupy most of the “air time.” 

You should be the one speaking most of the time. If you found a tutor who creates a safe space and encourages you to speak 60% to 80% of the time, that’s a good sign.

Speaking in a foreign language is tiring. A good tutor can sense if you are tired and that s/he must pick up the load and start speaking more. That’s the only time they can speak more than you - to help you rest for a bit.

#2. Adapts their speech, teaching style, and learning experience to you.

You want a tutor who cares for your progress and goals. Your tutor must adapt to your learning style and preferences to maximize your progress. Whether you love learning through reading, discussing certain topics, or prefer to do or not do homework, it’s your tutor’s job to create a comfortable and relatable learning experience together with you.

#3. Is a native speaker or near native who lives/has lived in a country where the language is natively spoken.

Having a non-native teacher is OK for absolute beginners as sometimes learning about grammar in your mother tongue makes learning easier. 

That said, we believe that learning with tutors who grew up speaking the language or have mastered the language close to perfection helps you gain confidence faster. Such teachers can go beyond the rules of the language and help you better understand the culture, dialects, pronunciation tricks, colloquial speech, and country's history.

#4. You click.

A personal connection with your tutor, bordering friendship, helps prop your motivation. If you could imagine being friends with your tutor in real life, then s/he is the right one.

Where to find your perfect language tutor online

There are many language learning marketplaces out there that you can choose from. They all have their benefits, and you should research them before settling on one.

Heylama - find your perfect language tutor

Heylama is a language tutoring marketplace that thousands of learners like you choose. At Heylama, we put a strong emphasis on helping you find your perfect tutor:

  • We vet tutors not just based on their experience but also their motivation and enthusiasm. Each tutor is willing to go the extra mile and genuinely cares for your progress. 
  • We have a unique Social Tutor Discovery experience that helps you find the tutor you like, even before trial sessions. 
  • On top of that, Heylama equips you with a powerful and FREE vocabulary trainer and a Telegram coach. New vocabulary from your classes will automatically convert into flashcards that you can practice between classes.

Steps for finding your language tutor

#1. Set concrete goals

Your level: are you a beginner and need someone who is patient or advanced and wants someone who challenges you and corrects every mistake?

Speaking practice or structured program: do you want to speak more fluently, brush up on grammar, study for a test, or prepare for a job interview?

Frequency: how often do you want to practice?

#2. Filter

Next, go through tutor profiles and find the one who matches your expectations the best:

  • Watch their video(s) to hear if their dialect and speed of talking suits you - this way, you also get to know them a little bit and can imagine better if you would feel comfortable with them
  • Read their reviews - keep your eyes open for specific wording (patient, encourages to speak, interesting topics) that is in line with what you are looking for
  • Check their experience  - watch out mainly for the ratio of classes vs. no of students to see if students tend to stick with this tutor for a longer time. If you have precise goals, such as sitting a test or getting a job that you want to achieve within a certain timeframe, a more experienced tutor might help you progress faster.
  • Availability - make sure that tutors are available on the days that work for you and offer lesson types that you need. 
  • Prices - more experienced tutors usually charge more. If you don’t need anyone with tons of experience (e.g., conversation practice), perhaps you could pick a tutor with lower fees.

#3. Book a trial session 

Decide on several tutors that seem suitable and book trial sessions with them. Trial sessions will help you confirm your intuition and pick the right person.

After the trial sessions, select one or two tutors to continue with. If you want to make fast progress and can afford it, it can have advantages to learn with different tutors in parallel. You could benefit from different styles, learning materials, and dialects.

#4. Send messages to your tutor in advance

Be proactive and send your tutor a message before the first session. Share your goals, level, and expectations. This will help your tutors prepare for the first session and not waste time on a lengthy introduction.

Parting words - finding the right tutor might take time, but it’s worth it

You might need trial sessions and lessons with a few tutors before finding your perfect one. It might feel like you’re wasting your time, but be patient and follow the above steps. Once you meet a tutor who satisfies your interests and expectations, you’ll start making huge progress leaps. Good luck!

Ready to find your perfect tutor and boost your speaking confidence? Find your tutor now on Heylama.

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