Angelika’s been a language teacher and tutor for years. She took time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions about her journey.
I met Angelika on Empire.Kred many years ago. Empire.Kred, “is a fun game built around social media using virtual currency.” You can use invest in your friends and vice-versa. I found the platform years ago and still use it today.
Eliot: Can you tell me about yourself and how you became a language tutor?
Angelika: I grew into it 😉
I qualified as a social teacher in Germany, then, after I moved to the UK, studied to become a primary school teacher. Somehow, I ended up teaching German at a secondary school, and since 2006 I have worked for myself.
Eliot: Which languages do you tutor?
Angelika: Although for a few years I also taught English as a foreign language, I now only teach German.
Eliot: How easy is it to find people to tutor?
Angelika: It was really hard in the beginning, but nowadays I don’t need to look for students, they look for me!
Eliot: Can a person tutor remotely effectively?
Angelika: Absolutely yes! I have been doing it since 2009, and since the start of the Covid19 lockdowns, I only teach online.
Eliot: How is the experience of tutoring in-person different versus remote?
Angelika: I like using board games in lessons, especially when I teach children. That’s one of the things I can’t do any more, and I have to find other ways and games to make the lessons fun. Also, singing together is tricky online. As everybody’s internet speed is different, the only way to sing together is to sing with a video, and everybody is on mute. It works but isn’t as good as being together for real and singing.
Apart from that, everything else works really well, whether on or offline.
Eliot: How long does it take you to prepare for a session?
Angelika: It varies how long the lessons are (I have students for 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes) and what the topics are. Sometimes it goes really quick, and sometimes it takes quite some time.
Eliot: How do you track the progress of your students?
Angelika: When I prepare students for exams, we do some tests every so often to ensure they are on target. With my adult students, it’s slightly different as they aren’t interested in tests and exams. Then we just make sure they improve as they wish to improve.
Eliot: Which tools do you use to tutor your students?
Angelika: We usually follow textbooks which both the students and I have, plus online resources or my own to reinforce what the books teach.
Eliot: What’s your ideal student, and how do you find them?
Angelika: My ideal student is the one who WANTS to learn German (That’s why I don’t teach in schools anymore).
Eliot: Do you have any hard and fast rules for correcting students?
Angelika: I correct all their writing, but when they speak, I let them speak with very little interruption. While they are in the mood to speak, I don’t want to stop them, but I do mention any major pronunciation or grammar mistakes afterwards.
Eliot: What are the goals of your students?
Angelika: I.e. become fluent, pass a standardized test, or etc.
That depends. I’ve had students who wanted to pass exams, others wanted to move to Germany or needed it for work. But I also have students who want to learn just because.
Eliot: Are there any online resources that you consistently recommend to your students?
Angelika: As my students vary so much in age and ability, it’s difficult to name them all, but I always recommend the following dictionaries: dict.leo.org, dict.cc, linguee.com
Eliot: Have you created any tools to help people learn? If so, what did you make?
Angelika: Yes, I have created online courses and written books and planners for German learners
Eliot: Do you encourage your student to practice between sessions using apps like Duolingo or Mango Languages? If so, why?
Angelika: Yes, especially, as I often work with students who teach themselves and only have lessons with me when they cannot continue on their own. I also encourage all my students to find activities which are fun for them (apps, YouTube, books, games …) for extra learning.
Eliot: What advice do you have for someone that wants to become a language tutor?
Angelika: If you want to work for yourself, be prepared to learn about social media and marketing. The love of teaching is not enough to get students.
Eliot: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself before you started tutoring, what would it be?
Angelika: “Ignore the imposter syndrome. You can do it!”
Eliot: If people want to learn more about your work or want you to be their tutor, how should they contact you?
Angelika: My website is www.angelikasgerman.co.uk, where they can also find out about the books I’ve written and courses I’ve created. They can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
I really appreciate Angelika for her time. She immediately agreed to my offer and was super supportive. We need more people like Angelika in this world. She’s genuine and shared her perspective. If you’re thinking about becoming a language tutor, it’s definitely possible. Angelika is a great example!