Should I Hire Just 1 Language Tutor, or a Few Language Tutors?

Why in the world would you hire more than one private language tutor, right? It seems like a strange thing to do, but hear me out.

I’ve taken over 8000 hours of language lessons, whether in a classroom, big or small, or in a private setting. Over that time I’ve had over 50 instructors and tutors.

What I began to realize was that I started to sound just like my tutors, because that was the only person I was really speaking to in the language. That means I had a very narrow view of the language. And I didn’t want that.

Just like children speak like their parents, because the children are mostly interacting with their parents, people learning a second language will start to sound like their private language tutor.

Vary Your Tutor to Vary Vocabulary

If your tutor is older, you might not know the new words being created in the language, since those are primarily used by teenagers. Obviously, if you’re an adult, you don’t want to sound like a teenager, but in order to learn more about the language, you might want to at least be able to recognize those teen words.

Hire More Than One Tutor to Ensure Your Vocabulary is Up to Date

Also, if your tutor is someone who has been living outside of their native country for ten or more years, they might not be in tune with new words developing there. I have actually had this issue.

My tutor for over 200 hours was someone who had left Japan over 20 years ago, so I sometimes wondered if the words I was learning were up to date. A lot can happen with a language in twenty years.

I am not saying to change tutors every year, but it is a good idea to ensure you’re hearing your new language from many different sources. Over the years, I ended up using over 15 Japanese tutors. I saw what a huge difference this made for me.

One tutor spoke very formally and softly, while another tutor listened to me a lot and did not speak a lot.

And another teacher spoke during the whole class, speaking very quickly, which really helped my listening skills. She also used very modern language since she was still living in Japan, so I knew that I was really getting the most up-to-date vocabulary that everyday Japanese were using.

Use 2-3 Tutors to Make Sure You Always Have One

Another reason to have multiple tutors is that many part-time private tutors have multiple jobs. This means that they can fall off the planet from time to time, meaning, they can stop doing their side hustle: private tutoring.

It is a good idea to have 2-3 tutors so that if one does go away, you already have two others, and you do not have to pause your lessons while you find another good fit. This gives you time to fill the third tutor’s space, while continuing with your consistent weekly lessons.

Learn What Language Learning Methods Work for You BEST

After about two weeks with one Japanese tutor, I knew that it wasn’t a great fit, but that I was at least learning vocabulary from her, even if it was focused on rote memorization. After about six months with her, I started to wonder what other methods were out there, so I found another tutor that was very focused on grammar, but still in a bit of a rote way.

And then, I found a tutor who asked me hundreds of questions during the class, using pictures, and it was REALLY hard. That’s when I knew I was really learning, because I was having to understand her questions about the pictures, and then respond in a logical way.

So I definitely learned from the first two tutors, but I truly learned from the third one. It was great to go between all three of them and ultimately stick with the third tutor for about 6 years.

Now, I speak lower intermediate Japanese. I don’t think I would’ve reached this level if I had stayed with the rote (not like real life) method of the first two tutors.

Whether you stick with one tutor because he or she is fantastic, or you feel like shaking things up, we will always suggest speaking to as many people as possible in the language you are learning. Everyone speaks so differently, has different accents, and expresses themselves in different ways.

It is just plain smart to make sure you are prepared to speak to all those different people in the world that happen to speak the same language but in many varying ways.

If you’re interested in Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Mandarin lessons, you can find the perfect tutor for your learning style at TruFluency. Choose a tutor now and save 20% off your first month of classes with code TF20!