In this blog post, we will discuss a very important and often neglected topic of the professional development of an English tutor. A lot of time is spent on improving the English learners’ level of proficiency, whereas the skills of the tutor have the greatest impact on it. So how to develop and improve as a tutor?
Formalities, i.e. certificates, training, and studies
Exams are a form of challenge and are formal confirmation of skills. Certificates, training courses, and postgraduate studies are excellent and formalized ways to gain skills that are an integral part of professional development. However, it is important that they meet your expectations and are a challenge for you. Pay attention to this when you choose a course or study. Postgraduate programs often offer many types of specialization that can complement your teaching practice or take your career to a new level. If you want to teach Business English in corporations, then choose studies dedicated to this specialization or choose studies in your own language in the field of business English. When choosing a new way of development, consider whether it will have a positive impact on your English lesson, or rather whether it will be of value to your learners.
Traveling and working in English-speaking countries
Frequent travels to English-speaking countries mean that you surround yourself with English used by native speakers. This is the best way to improve your language skills and discover new words and grammatical constructions. The travels can be typically tourist or weekend trips, but they can also be profit-making. At a time when hybrid work has become the norm, new opportunities are opening up, making it easier to emigrate for work. In this way, you can, for example, conduct an English lesson in the United Kingdom. There are plenty of possibilities. You just have to look for them intensively and take your time for it. You can definitely save time by having precise expectations about working abroad.
Development of competence after hours
This is an extremely broad topic, but this challenge can be compared to preparing lessons for yourself. It is worth spending your free time watching TV series, listening to music, and reading books and newspapers so that you have constant contact with the language as often and as intensively as possible. However, it must be an active acquisition of knowledge, so note down newly learned words, form sentences with them and discover synonyms. Push your boundaries, practice your pronunciation aloud with a native speaker, or repeat words after watching a video e.g. on YouTube. Practice, read, learn about new language areas, broaden your horizons and add new topics to your area of interest.
Looking for professional challenges at work
The professional development of a teacher should primarily result from work. Every English lesson must be a challenge for you. Sometimes such lessons are caused by the course participants, and working with some groups is a real test of soft skills. However, if you are very ambitious as a tutor and still invest in specialized language courses, then decide to teach a specific professional group or choose a group that is at an advanced level so that you will be able to constantly test your language skills at an advanced level. Often, it is the doubts of the learners and the diagnosis of their mistakes that will allow you to discover your weak points and shortcomings. In this way, the preparation of lessons will be a challenge for you and will require you to look for new methods and ways of teaching.
Why is it worth taking care of your development?
Except for knowing how to grow professionally, you also need to know why you should do it. The constant pursuit of development allows tutors to feel satisfied with their profession and to find it appealing. It also means constantly exploring the language. This prevents professional burnout, which is a common and serious problem with a number of negative effects.