1. Communicate in advance

Communicate with the teacher before the session starts. Explain what you hope to gain from the class. Try to write in your target language, this way the teacher can get a glimpse of your level (at least in writing skills).


When you communicate with the teacher prior to the session, it gives the idea that you are a serious student. This gives the teacher an opportunity to prepare and personalize the class. Specify your strengths and weaknesses in your target language. Also, don’t have unrealistic expectations.



2. Prepare yourself

How can you prepare yourself? Anytime you have doubts, make a list of them so that you can ask your teacher. If you have any questions, homework, articles, etc. bring it to the class! This may sound overly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students forget to do this.


Also, don’t be afraid to ask tons & tons of questions! There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about wanting clarification. Don’t forget to also take notes during class. It’ll be very difficult to try to remember everything that was said.

3. Is homework helpful?

Yes! I encourage all students to do some type of homework. This will vary person to person. Some of my students complete an entire chapter of work for homework, while other simply define a few words to be discussed in the next class. Homework is a great way to hold yourself accountable for what you’ve learned.


If your teacher does not assign you homework, you’ve got two options. 1) Ask for it! Or, 2) make up your own homework. This can be as simple as using new words you’ve learned in class and trying to come up with a sentence on your own. In class, your teacher can correct these sentence. The idea of homework is to practice, with the idea of moving new information into long-term memory.

4. Be punctual & respectful!

Please arrive for class on time. Be mindful that your teacher may have several classes before or after yours. Mutual respect is very important.


Check your internet connection BEFORE the class starts. If you need to cancel, or be late, please inform your teacher with as much notice as possible. Otherwise…be ready to suffer the consequences. Make sure there will be no distractions. Every minute counts!

5. Give feedback

Be sure that you are HONEST with your teacher about your opinion of the class. Tell him/her what you liked the most and what you liked least. This way, future classes will get better and better. Discuss specific plans for future classes.

YOU are in control…after all, you’re the one paying!

6. Try different teachers

I cannot emphasize this enough! Every teacher is different. When you try different teachers, you’ll hear different accents, come across different teaching methods, and ultimately decide who suits you best.

Try professional teachers and informal tutors. Everyone has something different to offer. Take advantage of a trial session if a teacher offers it.

Explanation of words used in this article:

  • Glimpse (noun) = preview
  • Tons (adjective) = a lot; many
  • Assign (verb) = to give (a task)

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. Feel free to comment in the discussion and add to them from your own experience!


Hero Image by Chung Ho Leung (CC BY-ND 2.0)