Whether you need to learn Spanish to talk with your spouse’s family back in Mexico, or you’re a nurse and want to be able to connect more with patients, learning Spanish as an adult is a challenge.

Not at all impossible, but you will have to set time aside to make this happen. Also, many adults may have business goals when it comes to Spanish. Maybe your boss is going to have you be in charge of Latin American sales, or possibly your company is acquiring a new company in Peru.

Whatever it may be, it will truly serve you to be able to connect with your coworkers and employees in their own language. Not to mention you will earn serious respect.

So how do you hire the best private Spanish language tutor as an adult? You don’t want to pass a conjugation test or a vocabulary quiz. You want to be able to TRU-ly SPEAK to your customers, coworkers, or your family in Mexico.

Here are the MUST do’s when it comes to hiring a private Spanish language tutor:

1. References

Ask to speak to other clients or students that have been working with the tutor for at least a year. Ask them if they have seen progress, why they are learning Spanish, if they’ve been able to increase their fluency on the job or with their family.

2. Length of time teaching and where

Make sure the teacher has been working with private clients and not just at a junior high or high school as a teacher. Working to get an individual’s fluent is extremely different from getting a sophomore to pass a Spanish test. I would suggest hiring someone who has been giving private lessons for at least 5 years, at least 10 + hours a week during that time. Some teachers will say they’ve been giving private lessons for 5 years, but if they’re giving 1 hour of lessons per month, that’s not really a lot of experience.

3. Material

Ask the tutor what material they use. Is it a grammar textbook? If yes, then run! If it has tons of fill in the blank with no conversations, then run! But don’t judge your tutor too quickly. Ask more questions. I’ve seen a lot of great tutors use a boring textbook, but incorporate additional conversation topics into each class, turning the bad textbook into a really immersive Spanish experience. So ask them what types of activities they do in class, and if they use material with videos or lots of listening activities. Then, ask if targeted conversation and role play is 75% of the class.

4. Talk time and Method

Speaking of conversation…. At the beginning, your teacher will need to speak more than you speak if you’re a complete beginner, but not too much more. The teacher should start with short questions of 2-3 words to get you comfortable hearing the language and learning how to respond to it. Eventually, you will be speaking about 50% of the time. But I’ve had tutors that speak 90% of the time, and I am not sure if it helped me. It’s really great for listening, but I can listen on my own. What I cannot do on my own is practice my real life conversation skills, so it’s best to use that high dollar tutor time for the conversation practice you can’t have alone. In reference to method, ask if they incorporate storytelling and comprehensible input.

5. “Homework”

If you’re given conjugation homework, I would keep searching for a more creative teacher. For a couple of decades now, it’s common knowledge that comprehensible input and storytelling are the best methods for learning, so if your tutor is giving you fill in the blank homework and conjugation worksheets, then move on. You should be incorporating short videos on youtube, or specific stories for Spanish learners like the books written by Paco Ardit. And videos made by Vista Higher Learning or Spanish TV on Youtube, and other reputable publications for learning languages for beginners.

6. Must Enjoy Chatting with Them

If you do not enjoy the time spent with your tutor, find another tutor. You will likely be chatting with this person for at least 100 hours. If you don’t enjoy their company, then find a tutor whose company you enjoy. The more fun you have, the more you’ll remember.

6. Native speaker

This world is so small these days. There is no reason you should not be using a native speaker as a tutor. When I was growing up in Oklahoma City, sure, we didn’t have native speakers as teachers in our high school. There simply weren’t enough native speakers that were teachers at that time. But now, as an adult, you can always find a professional, native speaking teacher online. We always recommend this.

Now that you know exactly how to hire the best private Spanish tutor for an adult, get out there and start searching. There are tons of online websites where tutors have their profiles: takelessons.com, trufluency.com, italki.com, and so many more. Make sure to keep this list, ask your questions, do the trial lessons (they all have them, except for takelesson.com). Trufluency.com has professional tutors, native speakers, for a $35 trial lesson.