Finding the right teacher for Spanish classes

Spanish classes are a great way to learn a beautiful language in the shortest amount of time possible, but any class—regardless of the subject—is only as good as the teacher providing the instruction. He or she should be dedicated, motivated and fully certified to bring to the classroom the best instruction possible.


As a student, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your dollar’s worth from your tuition. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions before signing up for Spanish classes; it’s your money and you have a right to know it’s being spent on the lessons you really want and need.


First off, make sure your teacher or tutor is fully qualified. Spanish isn’t physics, so a PhD in the language is hardly required; a good working knowledge of Spanish, coupled with a reasonably understanding of classroom dynamics is usually enough to make for a qualified teacher. If you’re intent of finding a state-certified instructor, you should know that the qualifications for certification vary greatly from one area to another. Also, certifications are often doled out according to level—someone teaching beginning Spanish classes may not need to pass the certification of a fourth-year teacher, for instance.


Someone teaching Spanish online, which many do these days, may have no certification whatever. The same may hold true of instructors providing online tutorials. This doesn’t mean those teaching lessons online are not certified, but you should be aware this is a possibility. Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions and check credentials, even for online Spanish classes.


Not surprisingly, teaching Spanish at the high school or college level will almost always require a formal degree, both in the language and a Bachelor’s degree in education. Spanish is a highly structured language with many grammar rules which, if not taught effectively, can impair a student’s ability to communicate effectively, so a qualified teacher is a must.


Another question to consider when choosing a teacher is what dialect you wish to speak. Many new students aren’t aware that Spanish comes in many dialects; the differences between Spanish spoken in Madrid and that spoken in Mexico City are so divergent as to be almost unrecognizable as a single language, especially to those new to the language. If you’re learning the language for an upcoming vacation, business trip, or even permanent relocation, it’s best to seek a tutor who teaches the dialect you will most often encounter.


Still another factor to consider is location. If you’re seeking face-to-face or traditional classroom lessons, you will of course want a teacher or classroom location that is close enough at hand that the lessons will fit in with your schedule. But even if you’re taking lessons online or via Skype, you’ll want to consider location. If you live in the United States and your instructor resides in Sydney, Australia, one of you is going to have to be taking or giving the lessons in the middle of the night. You may want to find an online tutor nearer your local time zone.


Good teachers are available almost everywhere. Find the one that’s right for you.

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