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The steps required to become a Spanish tutor can vary widely, depending upon the type of tutoring you wish to do. Those who want to tutor independently may not require a high level of formal training, while those who prefer to work for a language education program may need to obtain formal certification. Before beginning to tutor, however, you will in most cases need an advanced level of competence in speaking, writing, and comprehending the Spanish language as well as an ability to construct and carry out lesson plans that suit your students’ needs.
Obtaining the language skills needed to become a Spanish tutor can be achieved through many routes. You might begin to study Spanish as part of your primary or high school education, and strengthen your proficiency in college by continuing to study the language, perhaps even majoring in it. Alternatively, you can pursue a more independent path to learning Spanish, hiring a private tutor or purchasing language-learning software, taking evening or weekend classes at a local community center, or enrolling at a private foreign language institute. If you are raised in a multilingual environment in which you are regularly exposed to Spanish, you may achieve fluency in the language without any formal training at all.
Language mastery is only one of the criteria necessary to become a Spanish tutor, however. Also crucial is an understanding of the principles of foreign language teaching. The object of your lessons will vary depending on your individual students’ goals; a businessperson studying the language to facilitate work-related travel, for instance, may want you to focus on corporate vocabulary, while a high school student might need help with an exercise like translating a passage of Spanish literature. As a tutor, you should be able to adapt to your students’ needs, devising lessons that will promote their improvement.
Again, the methods by which you might obtain these teaching skills can differ. Perhaps the most obvious option would be to take classes in education, whether as part of your college course or on a part-time basis. This route may be best for those who wish to become a Spanish tutor at a school or foreign language institute, as these types of organizations may require their tutors to have some form of teaching certification. If you would prefer to tutor independently, you will likely have less need for formal qualifications. In this case you might develop your teaching skills by studying books on foreign-language education and by utilizing Spanish textbooks as a template to help you develop lesson plans.
Once you have attained competency in Spanish and gained an understanding of the educational process, you can begin to search for tutoring positions. If you are seeking formal employment you might browse classified ads on the Internet or in your local paper. You might also consult someone already working in a tutoring position to find out how she secured her job. If you would like to be an independent tutor, you should think of creative ways to announce your services to potential clients. For instance, you could post an advertisement in the student paper of a nearby university, or leave fliers at a company known to conduct business in Spanish-speaking countries.
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