Are you nervous about taking online English lessons? Well, you’re not alone.
For most students, the first few weeks are hard. Here are some stories our students shared with us:
“During my first lesson, I was terrible at English and got really discouraged. I did not want to book another lesson.”
– Ai, a systems engineer
“Every lesson was a battle. If I missed something the tutor said, I wouldn’t understand anything. I could not wait for the lessons to end.”
– Keiichi, a professional swimmer
“For the first few months, I was exhausted after each lesson. But after 3-4 months I stopped feeling nervous.”
– Mutsumi, a movie director
However, these students now feel comfortable speaking English. Ai helps foreign tourists in Japan with directions, Keiichi can now have conversations with swimmers from other countries, and Mutsumi can now introduce her films at film festivals around the world.
So if you feel discouraged, just remember that it’s normal. Also, there is a way to make your first few lessons easier: find tutors that you like. As one of our students said, “If you find a tutor who lets you relax, your first few lessons will be much more enjoyable.”
But Engoo has over 7,000 tutors, and many of them have high ratings. So how do you find the right tutors? Just check out the advice from students and tutors below.
How to Find the Right Tutors
If you don’t feel confident in your English, one thing you can do is to select the “Beginners” tag. This way, you’ll be able to see all tutors who have completed extra training to teach beginners.
There is also an “Over 3 Years Teaching Experience” tag. Tutors with this tag have been teaching for over three years, including experience outside of our service as well. You may want to try taking lessons with tutors who have this tag, because they have experience with all types of students, including beginners.
Just remember that “experienced” doesn’t always mean “better.” As a student said, “Some people may wonder if a college student can teach. I’ve only had positive experiences with tutors less than 20 years old. They’re more flexible. For instance, if you ask them to speak more slowly, they’re more likely to do that.”
So try using tags, but remember that they aren’t everything and it may take a few tries to find the tutor that’s right for you.
Check the Tutor’s Profile
Make sure to look at the profiles of the tutors. Check their reviews to see what other students think about them.
However, reviews and ratings aren’t the only thing you should look at. As Tutor Asja shares, “A tutor may have good ratings and a lot of experience, but that doesn’t mean you’ll like their personality or teaching style.”
So make sure to check the videos on the tutors’ profiles. This way, you can see if you like their personality and teaching style, not to mention their accent and speaking speed.
You can also use the search function to find tutors you might like. For example, if you like Harry Potter, you can search for tutors who also like Harry Potter:
If you’re an engineer and you think you might get along better with other engineers, you can search for “engineer.” Or you can search for tutors with the same hobbies as you: “baking,” “hiking,” “writing” are just a few ideas.
Another type of tutor some students like is those who have worked at call centers.
Many of our Filipino tutors have worked at call centers, which means that they know how to be polite and professional even in difficult situations. They also speak clearly enough to be understood over the phone, so our students often find them easier to understand. You can search “call center” to find these tutors.
- If you are wondering whether or not you should learn with a native speaker, read this blog post.
- When you find tutors who you like, remember to save them in your list of “favorites.”
“The Most Important Thing is to Start Speaking”
However, make sure you don’t spend too much time looking for the perfect tutor! As one of our experienced students says, “a lot of learners worry about what kind of tutor to choose or what they should say during the lesson. These are things you’ll get the hang of as you take more lessons. The most important thing is to start speaking.”
Maybe you’re thinking, “But I’ll feel embarrassed when I make mistakes!” Try to remind yourself that mistakes are part of learning and your tutors are used to students making mistakes.
Besides, there are much more embarrassing things in life. For example, a Japanese student said that before taking our classes, she often met foreign business partners. She didn’t understand anything they said, but pretended to understand them. When she started taking lessons, she reminded herself, “pretending to understand foreigners is much more embarrassing than making mistakes during lessons!!”
Finally, after each lesson, book another lesson immediately. “If you don’t,” says a Korean student, “you’ll lose your courage and stop taking lessons. But if you book a lesson right away, your tutor will call you and you’ll have to pick up.”
Just Take Your First Step
Again, don’t worry if your first few lessons do not go well. Starting is always the hardest part, and the more lessons you take, the easier it gets.
Be proud that you’re starting your journey to fluency and start searching for tutors! Then book a lesson and right after that, book another one.