So you speak English and you've decided you want to teach private German tutorials to English speaking students. You’ve mastered your second language or you're a native speaker and a teacher with a passion for passing on knowledge. The choice to start teaching private tutorials, either online or in person, was an obvious one.
Becoming a tutor and earning some extra money with some German tutor jobs as you teach others what you know about the language and culture is a great idea. However, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before you start advertising your tutoring services:
- How much will you charge per hour?
- How do you get the word out to every potential learner?
- How do you make learning a language interesting for students?
In the beginning, you'll probably feel starting a tutoring job is really complicated. However, if you take your time setting everything up, and just go step by step, you’ll quickly become the most in-demand German tutor in town.
Qualifications and Skills Needed to Teach a Foreign Language
Before you work out your rates for online tutoring jobs, you’ll need to find out what qualifications you’ll need.
There aren’t any specific teaching qualifications you need to be a private tutor, however, you should be able to provide proof of your language skills (knowledge of German phrases, vocabulary, verbs, pronunciation, speaking fluency, reading level and so on) otherwise you’ll have a difficult time finding students.
Proof of your language ability may be shown through your secondary or university education certificate or evidence of language exchanges or homestays you've been on. You may also have developed some teaching skills through prior tutoring experience, or even be attending teacher training.
Skills and knowledge needed for German tutor jobs
When you create your first advertisement, you’ll need to specify your level in German. Are you fluent, bilingual, advanced or conversational?
If you only studied German for a year in secondary school and then dropped it, you’re going to struggle to find students.
While there are no hard and fast rules for what level you should have, a German degree is usually a good benchmark.
Find the latest online tutoring jobs here.
Maybe you have a good speaking or reading level but don't have an official degree to back it up? What should you do?
As you're putting together your first advertisement for German tutor jobs, consider these questions and put relevant responses into the ad.
- How many years have you studied German?
- Did you study German language courses at university or a language school?
- Is it your native language?
- Have you lived in Germany, Switzerland or another German speaking country?
- Is German your mother tongue? Are you close to speaking proficiency or fluency?
Knowledge and Understanding of German Culture
A language is not just words. It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It's all embodied in a language.
~ Noam Chomsky ~
To get a well-rounded knowledge of a language, you have to understand and experience the culture. Ideally, the best tutors of German, (or any language for that matter — Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese or Japanese), will have at least visited, if not lived, in a country where the language is spoken. Immersing yourself in a culture is the best way to understand it — and if you understand it, you are better placed to begin teaching it.
However, not all tutors will have had the luxury of in-country experience, so the next best thing to do is to befriend a native speaker of German who is happy to perhaps participate in a language exchange with you — your English for their German. Share food, watch movies together, go to exhibitions — there is no end to how you can experience a little culture without leaving Australia.
The immigration history between Australia and Germany is solid and has formed an ongoing legacy by which every Australian can experience a little piece of Germany.
German settlement in Australia dates back over 180 years, to 1838, when the first shiploads of German immigrants arrived in Australia, settling in South Australia. Many settlements sprung up, including Klemzig, a village near Adelaide; Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills; and the Barossa Valley. Many of these immigrants were winemakers and were responsible for the development of the thriving and world-famous wine industry of South Australia.
Other German food that made its way onto dinner tables in Australia include the many types of German sausage and Streuselkuchen — a typical, everyday cake that is commonly known in South Australia as 'crumble-top' cake.
Of course, as with the language and vocabulary of Chinese, Spanish and Italian migrants, a number of German words are common in Australian English. Specifically, in many German-settled parts of South Australia, words with a German history have been incorporated into a colloquial way of speaking:
- a 'butcher' is a 200 mL beer glass (known in other parts of Australia as a 'seven' [ounce] — possibly derived from the German word, becher, meaning cup or mug
- fritz is used for a type of sausage, known in other parts of Australia as 'devon'
- kuchen is often used for 'cake'
In the Barossa Valley, it is not uncommon to hear locals say, 'Are you coming with?' — thought to have come from the German structure, 'Kommst du mit?'
Visiting some of the German villages, attending festivals and speaking regularly with a native speaker is a great way to improve your cultural knowledge, which, in turn, will benefit your tutoring students.
Where Can You Work as a Tutor of German?
Teach German to school students
If you can speak German and have a sound knowledge of the language structures, you can provide academic support for school students who are learning German without needing teacher qualifications. Nevertheless, you still have to prove to your students your experience with the German language isn’t less than theirs.
If you’re studying German at senior secondary level, your skills, knowledge and level of proficiency should be good enough to teach German to primary school children and other beginners but you’ll probably find it difficult to teach students who are at an intermediate or advanced level new phrases or vocabulary.
If you'd like to improve your overall proficiency with German, why not study for a proficiency level test?
The Goethe-Institut exam, for example, is a recognised German language exam. You can test your comprehension (listening and reading) as well as production (speaking and writing). This is a well-rounded exam that can evaluate your general level in German. The ACT German School, in Canberra, is one of two external examination centres in Australia (the other is in Perth, Western Australia) for the Goethe-Institut exam.
There are two campuses for the Goethe-Institut in Australia, one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne. Go online to find out more about the Goethe-Institut and the qualifications they offer, including the Goethe-Zertifikat which is widely recognised.
Provide professional German tutorials
There are plenty of tutors offering professional German private tutorials. These are often aimed at adults wanting to improve their international career prospects by learning a language and becoming fluent enough to function in business with native speakers. They will be in need of your help since being able to speak the language of one of Europe’s most powerful countries is hugely beneficial when it comes to business.
Prove your professional German abilities and make yourself stand out by taking advanced level tests that are more specialised than the general ones mentioned previously.
The PWD (Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch International) is a high level business German examination recognised by companies and the GDS (Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom) is the most advanced professional German qualification. In fact, the GDS allows you to teach German classes in Germany. Both are offered by the Goethe-Institut.
There are plenty of qualified school teachers who provide after-hours private tutorials in order to earn some extra money. If this applies to you, don’t forget to mention how many years of experience you have!
Decide on Your Private German Tutorial Rates
Working out a fair rate isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There are several factors you need to consider for your German tutoring prices.
Understand the academic support market
Don’t hesitate to check out the competition and find out how much other German tutors are charging. Decide where to position yourself.
Check out dedicated academic support forums and classifieds to find out the average rate for German courses. Have a look at foreign language schools and see what they’re charging for their German language courses, too. This little bit of background research will put you in a good position to work out what a fair rate would be.
Set your rates based on your level of German
By looking at the rates charged by other tutors, both online and face-to-face, and matching these with their level of experience, you’ll see what the going rates are, according to your German language level.
For example, in Sydney, native speakers tend to charge from $40 an hour. Tutors who are still students themselves tend to charge less than that, while trained teachers will charge more.
You also need to take each student's level into account and how good they already are at speaking German. If you’re teaching primary school children, you can’t charge as much as you would for Year 12 students.
Work out your running costs
It would be silly not to consider your running costs for German tutor jobs.
First of all, work out how much it costs you to travel to and from your tutorials since private lessons normally take place at the student’s home.
You’ll therefore need to define an area you’ll be willing to travel to and work out your travel costs.
The cost of basic supplies should all be taken into account. This includes pens and printing costs, or even your internet usage if you're providing online tutoring.
Given that you also need to declare your earnings, you also need to take tax into account.
Once you've considered all of these factors, you'll be closer to deciding upon your hourly rate.
Choose the right organisation
Finally, the organisation you choose to work with will affect the price of your private tutorials. If you work for a tutoring agency, your rate of pay will be preset.
However, you may decide become a private German tutor, which means you determine your rates.
If you want to set your own rates, but would like the support of a tutoring platform, there are several to choose from online. Certain sites require a predetermined number of years of experience, or even teaching qualifications. Some require a cut of the amount for every hour taught.
There are organisations that don’t charge any fees to aspiring private tutors. Superprof, for example, doesn’t charge any commission on tutorials.
Finding Students when You Become a German Tutor
Now that you’re ready to put together an advert, it’s time to start making yourself known as a private German tutor.
Students wanting to learn German usually search things like 'free German lessons, 'intensive German classes', 'learning German for free', and 'learning German online'. Even if you don’t teach online or for free, you can still find students.
Use the internet
The internet hasn’t stopped growing and you really need to be on it to find students who want to learn German.
You can sign up for tutoring jobs in your city, through websites or even on classifieds sites. You can even create your own website advertising your German tutorials.
Social networks can be used to help spread the news, too.
Network in your town
Look for German cultural institutes or community centres and get to know the people there. This will help you create a network of native speakers of German as well as people with an interest in Germany — and you will likely find more students.
Why not get in touch with the German teachers in your town? They can send struggling students your way and it’ll help them keep their pass rates up.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of advertising and it still works. Make sure everyone knows you’re a private German tutor.
Your friends and family will be your best promoters! You can bring it up at a family meal or on a night out with friends. If they hear about someone looking for German tuition, they’ll be sure to mention you.
Prepare your German Tutor Jobs
Once you’ve decided upon your rates and found some students, it’s time to prepare your tutorials!
Establish a list of goals for each student
Each student has different needs. You have to tailor your tutorials to them.
Decide together on the skills they’d like to improve.
Do they need to work on their speaking? Do they need to master German grammar?
It takes time to learn a foreign language and it’s your job to make them want to put in the effort to learn by giving them clear and defined objectives.
This will help you to prepare German exercises specifically for them.
Explain each tutorial’s objectives
Before each tutorial, clearly outline the lesson plan and its objectives by spending the first 5 minutes of the lesson explaining the skills you’re going to work on and the rules they’re going to learn.
Prepare your tutorials in advance and make sure you’re organised.
Distance yourself from school
Tutorials shouldn’t be like classes in school. You need to distance yourself from learning at school by making your tutorials animated and enjoyable to keep your students interested.
Everyone works better when they have fun. Make your lessons fun by using a variety of resources like German films, music, and YouTube videos to get them interested in German.
Provide a summary after each session
Many tutors provide a summary after each session. This is a great way to get the student involved in their own German learning and keep them aware of their progress.
Don’t hesitate to recommend extra activities, films to watch, and goals to work on before the next session.
A motivated student will want to learn even more.
The platform that connects tutors and students