In a previous article I covered what to look for in a tutor, however what you bring to the table as a student is equally, if not more important. Finding a good tutor can make a big difference in learning a language, but how you as a student approach the relationship should not be overlooked. Here are 5 things to be mindful of to optimize your time with the tutor.
1. Punctuality. Things happen, and inevitably one of you will be late. Try your best to be on time, but compensate your tutor for their time even if you did not arrive at the assigned time. In most cases, your tutor will arrive on time or early and he or she expects to be paid from the time you have agreed upon. Be sure to discuss this with your tutor to avoid misunderstandings and resentment.
2. Curiosity. Learning a language is hard work but being genuinely curious about it can help fuel your passion. Look up or ask how to say words you encounter in your every day life; watch movies in the language you are learning with or without subtitles (depending on your level); learn about the culture surrounding the language; meet other people learning or who are fluent in the language.
3. Diligence. Your tutor is likely to give you homework: Do it. Working on your own and pushing through is crucial and builds character as an additional bonus! Procure audio lessons to keep practising on your own; purchase books to deepen your understanding of the language, and feel free to ask your tutor to incorporate or help with those as well.
4. Consistency. Maintaining a routine is important in life and language acquisition is no exception. Meeting once or twice a week is ideal. It is important to build a working relationship with your tutor and keep them invested in your progress.
5. Compensation. One more word on matters of the wallet. Get the money out of the way: Agree upon a fee and the optimal way to pay it and stick to it. Try not to make your teacher remind you to avoid awkwardness for both of you.
Learning a language is an exciting challenge and if approached correctly having a tutor can help you keep your studies fresh, engaging and productive. Happy learning!