The private tutoring business in Australia has grown consistently over the past years, becoming a billion-dollar business that provides teaching in a variety of subjects to thousands of students around Australia.

From Melbourne to Sydney, you can find tutors in any subject from Japanese and French to History, Economics, Chemistry and more at the drop of a hat.

While it's wonderful that there are so many English tutors available to help students reach their potential in their studies, for parents trying to find a tutor for their primary school child, or an adult student wanting to learn something new, the high amount of choice can become overwhelming pretty quickly.

That's why it's important to know exactly what you're looking for before you start your search for tutors!

Having a clear idea of the type of teacher you're looking for can help filter out the ones that don't quite meet your criteria as a student, making the search much more bearable.

Considering factors like the specialisation, for example, if you're looking for an English language tutor, do you need someone who has experience teaching grammar, literature, ESL, business English or essay writing?

Or perhaps you're interested in CLIL learning, where pupils learn about sciences like biology, physics and chemistry or maths, accounting and more in English, to boost their knowledge of both the language and another subject.

In any case, looking for English tutors in Australia for private tutoring doesn't feel like it takes years. Read on to find out how simple it can really be!

How a private teacher can help their students

Before thinking about what to look for in a tutor, it's good to consider why a private teacher can be helpful in the first place.

More and more people in Australia, from parents of primary and high school pupils, to university students, are turning to tutoring to help their kids reach their academic potential, but why? And is it really effective?

Well, studies by the Evidence for Learning, a research branch of the University of Melbourne, shows that one-on-one classes or small group lessons can have significant impacts on learner's assessment results, especially in younger years.

A private English tutor can help primary, high school and university students alike, in key areas like writing, literature, ESL and much more.

They can provide materials tailored for specific students, based on VCE, HSC or another curriculum that complement their school studies.

They'll also assess each individual student to find gaps in their English education history, or identify particular areas where they are struggling.

Private lessons can give a student the opportunity they need to revise and become confident with the topics they are studying throughout the year.

Some subjects to consider before starting your search for an English teacher

Online lessons are comfortable and engaging
Online lessons might be the best learning option for some students- Image by Katerina Holmes - Pexels

Online vs in person English tuition

Whether you're looking for tutoring in science, maths, language, ESL or a variety of other subjects, a key consideration as a student is whether to do English classes online or in person.

There are advantages and disadvantages in both scenarios, and what's right for you or your child will depend on many things.

First, if you live in a rural or difficult to reach part of Australia, online tutoring could be useful, as you don't have to travel long distances to cities like Melbourne or Sydney to have a good tutoring experience.

You get to work from the comfort of your home and all you need is a good connection and webcam to start learning!

Online classes are also a great way to integrate technology into classes and can be really fun and engaging for both children and adults alike.

Tutors can take advantage of all the amazing online resources that are at their fingertips.

Of course, there are some downsides.

Pupils can get restless while sitting and staring at a screen, and they may prefer to read physical materials.

In person classes could also be more appropriate for kinaesthetic learners, who need to touch and move to learn easily.

The where and when of your English lessons

Another important factor to consider is when and where you want to do lessons.

If you choose to do English lessons in person, you need to decide whether you prefer the tutor to come to you.

Welcoming a private teacher into your home is sometimes a great way to create a comfortable and relaxed learning environment.

Students, especially in primary years, often feel more comfortable in their own space and are more likely to enjoy classes.

You can take private lessons anywhere you like
Taking private lessons outside could be a fun way to engage and learn- Image by ThisIsEngineering - Pexels

You might decide that you prefer to go to a public place, like a library or cafe to do your lessons.

This will involve choosing a place that is convenient for both you and your tutor and has all the amenities you need, like wifi and private spaces.

Then, you need to think about how often you'd like to do classes, and for how long.

Some tutors are only available at certain times of the day, or only take on pupils for a minimum of two hours a week.

If your primary goal is just to improve your general ESL education over the year, fewer hours might be appropriate, but if you're working to a deadline like a VCE exam, you might want to have lessons more frequently during the year.

The hourly rate of your English teacher

Not every family has an unlimited accounting budget, so knowing what you're willing to pay can make your search much easier over the year.

Tutoring costs can go from as little as $15 an hour to $200, depending on a range of factors, like teacher experience and specialisation, travel costs and type of class.

While your first instinct may be to go with the ESL teacher that costs the least per hour, keep in mind the other criteria you're looking for.

Great tutors are a valuable resource and can really support a student in their education over a year, so think carefully about how the cost might be related to the quality of the lessons.

Are you looking for specialist English tuition?

Private teachers can specialise in a range of fields
You might be looking for a teacher to help you get the best ATAR in your VCE exams- Image by Scott Graham - Unsplash

Of course, you might be looking for a tutor to help with language learning in a specific area.

English is a large field, and tutors can specialise in anything from helping young learners to read, to essay writing to teaching grammar for ESL.

If you're looking for exam preparation classes, read their profile carefully to check which exams tutors have experience with.

A tutor in Melbourne might be an expert in VCE, while a teacher in Sydney will be well versed in HSC preparation.

Either way, having this extra support in the final years of their high school education can help pupils feel confident and get the highest ATAR possible.

Or you might be looking for someone who specialises in education for pupils at primary or high school with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) like dyslexia.

These difficulties can make skills like reading and writing difficult, but a tutor who has the right experience can help their pupils overcome these obstacles.

Whatever you're looking for, trying to find a teacher who has specialist experience will be the best way to make sure you're getting the most out of your tutoring.

How to contact a private English tutor

Now that we've covered the most important factors when trying to find the best tutor and how private English tutors can help, let's talk about how we can contact the perfect teacher for you or your child.

Online profiles have a lot of great information, so first make sure you read everything carefully to see the English teacher matches your basic criteria.

Then it's time to make contact!

Whether by phone or email, be friendly and polite, but don't be scared to ask the questions you need to see if the tutor is right for you. If you need some help, here's a quick checklist of questions that could be helpful:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your English teaching history?
  • What age group do you usually work with? Primary or high school? University?
  • What kind of language teaching qualifications do you have?
  • Can I speak to any of your previous pupils or find some reviews?
  • Do you have any specific specialties in English education?
  • Do you prefer to deliver lessons in person or onlineWhy?
  • Where do you usually deliver lessons?
  • What is your cost per hour? Do you have additional travel costs?

Having a checklist like this next to you to read when you first contact a tutor means you won't forget anything, especially if you're on a phone call.

So now you know all of the things you need to consider, take a moment to think carefully about exactly what you want from your English tutor.

It's a good idea to write it down, so you don't get distracted or confused when you start your search.

Once you've found a few good candidates, you can contact them and get started with lessons!

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