Looking for a qualified German tutor in London for my son (14).(10 Posts)
Hello fellow mums,
I've been doing quite a lot of research on this online and can't seem to find a qualified tutor that we're happy with. We've had chats and trial lessons with several tutors from various agencies such as tutorfair, Owl tutors etc., but none of the tutors we found there were really that good and most of them weren't native German speakers, either. Do you have any recommendation?
Have you tried contacting the Goethe institute?
Last year, I was in your position and I couldn't find a suitable tutor for my son Steve. His German was in a really poor state and he really need a suitable German tutor, as he was about to take his GCSE in German. I tried the agencies you mentioned as well as the Goethe Institute - none of them offered us a tutor who was good enough. They all were mediocre and didn't really know what they were teaching, which was really frustrating. But then I found Jens Olesen. He has his own tuition company called "Olesen Tuition". You should get in touch with him and ask whether he has any availability right now. Let me tell you, this guy is busy, and we know why. After only three months of German lessons with Jens, Steve went from knowing almost knowing nothing to A* in his GCSE. Of course we were delighted. A few months later my second son Adam worked with Jens as well, as we want him to study in Germany (a cheaper and often better alternative to universities in this country, by the way). Like Steve, Adam only knew a few words of German, really. Having worked with Jens rather intensely for several months, Adam now obtained the C1 certificate at the Goethe Institut in London, which allows him to study in Germany. Do I need to say more? Jens is fantastic tutor, and he has a warm and kind personality and a good sense of humour to boot. Hope this helps.
I can't comment specifically on German tutors, but when looking for tutors in general, I'd avoid the agencies. Most tutors working via agencies will be young and inexperienced, the agencies often charging significantly more to clients than is passed on to the tutor. Experienced, well-regarded tutors will be able to attract enough work that they don't need to work for agencies and therefore work independently. Many are found by word of mouth, but if you don't get any recommendations, look for websites from independent (non-agency) tutors, which may often not appear until page 4 or later of a Google search, depending on your area. Ask for references, or to speak to previous clients, check DBS and qualifications, Google the tutor to see what else comes up about them and ask if you can sit in on lessons with the tutor (I'm always happy for parents to do this).
Not sure you're allowed to mention companies on here. I'm a qualified German tutor, although not in your area. I advertise on TutorHunt and FirstTutors. Both do ask for photocopies of qualifications and DBS. I always offer a free first meeting and show my certificates and references. I've never yet had anybody say I'm not suitable, although I don't know what other tutors are like. It's up to you to say what you want. Personally, I wouldn't go for the cheapest. I'm an ex-teacher and I would imagine anybody in the same situation knows what pupils are like and what is needed for exams.
The Olesen website looks good - if his claims on time taken to reach fluency with his method are true then it's worth the price! My DS is learning a different language with a native speaker I found on Tutorfair. She's a bit cheaper but has a clear thought-out approach for GCSE. She reckoned it's possible to do well in GCSE after a year's tuition (this is from scratch) but we'll see. I think a certain amount has to depend on the student! I would definitely say it's worth travelling for the right tutor as well so don't be swayed by whether they will come to you or not.
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