When we were younger we thought that the best teachers were those that would hardly give us any homework, the ones who would show us movies more often than usual, would allow us to nap while the projector was on. The best teachers, in our young mindset, were those who would just make their class easy breezy.

As we grow older, we know that is not that case. When learning a new subject, or language, like French, we need to be faced with all aspects of the subject, easy, tough, pleasant and not so pleasant. This will allows us to continue learning.

We don’t want a teacher that will only teach us the easy phrases of French, for example, how to say “yes, no, do you speak English?”, which by the way is “oui, non, est-ce que vous parlez anglais?”.

When learning a new language in your home country, it may be normal to be receiving the class in your native tongue.

It may be the most comfortable choice, but it may not be the best choice.

Why you may ask?

Well, you’re already studying a language that you won't practice outside of the classroom, so, the only practice you will get is when you’re actually in class.

When signing up for French lessons, the goal is to become fluent in the language, hold a conversation at some point and possibly watch a French movie without any subtitles, and understanding it of course.

Whether you are looking for an ideal French teacher for yourself or your children, there are some qualities that any great teacher will have.

A Good Teacher is Knowledgeable on the Subject

open books
Learning a new language can be hard, that is why as a beginner, you want to look for a teacher that has a passion for teaching French. Source: Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Now that we have established that not just anyone can be a great teacher, let’s look into the qualities that actually make one.

A good teacher is someone who has knowledge of the subject matter, and may we add, is passionate about the subject they are teaching.

When a teacher has a real passion for the subject they are teaching, it definitely shows, it’s like they come alive when they are discussing it.

The teacher’s shining attitude will jump onto his or her students and the students then become motivated, excited and eager to continue learning.

Any teacher who is passionate about their subject will strive to know as much as possible about it. This will include continuous learning, attending seminars, meeting other people in the field and keeping up to date with the new trends on the matter.

When you have a French teacher who is passionate about the language, this same teacher will have a larger knowledge on the subject and will lead to you having a greater learning experience.

A Good Teacher Creates a Sense of Community

Hands in the middle
Research has shown that students who attend classes with strong community are more likely to be academically motivated and succeed. Source: Perry Grone on Unsplash

As much as we may want to learn French, there are times where we find ourselves in a dead-end with the tougher topics; we may become frustrated when things get harder. This is when our great French teachers come in the picture.

Teachers are supposed to make us feel like we belong. A great teacher is usually warm, caring, supportive and understanding.

Any good teacher will have the ability to form strong relationships with their students. We spend hours with our teachers and when a good relationship that is formed, things just flow better, including teaching lessons.

A student who feels like they belong in the classroom will also be more confident in sharing his or her ideas, participating in class, asking questions and feel supported by their teacher and their classmates.

A Good Teacher has Communication Skills

a good teacher will have excellent communication skills
Teachers with good communication skills always make things easier and understandable for students. Source: Austin Distel on Unsplash

If a teacher wants to be an effective one, having good communication skills is key. A teacher is communicating every single day to students and even parents.

Imagine your child is signed up for a French class after school. You realize that your child has been getting bad marks in class, one after the other, and you want to know why. Every time you asked him or her how school was, they always replied “good”, so then, why the low scores?

A good teacher needs excellent communication skills in order to express concerns to parents. If their child seems unfocused in class, isn’t participating regularly or isn’t completing assignments.

Whether the teacher communicates with parents via phone, email or in-person parent meetings, communication skills are necessary.

Maybe this isn’t the case with you and these French classes are for you. Effective communication skills are still required for both you and your teacher.

Your French teacher may notice that your home assignments haven’t been the best compared to your other peers. It’s true that everyone is different and learns at their own pace.

A good teacher will understand this too, but they will also want to know if maybe the class material being taught may be too hard on you or even offer ways to help in order to bring you back to speed.

A Good Teacher has Planning Skills

A person planning
As a good French teacher or tutor, planning will keep you organized and on track while teaching. Source: Marten Bjork on Unsplash

A productive teacher needs excellent planning skills. This includes planning and organizing every single lesson for his or her students. Good teachers dedicate their time and effort to have their lessons planned in advanced.

When students walk into a classroom where the class has been planned in advance, then they have a sense of organization too.

Students learn better if their lessons, assignments, and objectives are clear. They know what is expected of them and can work better.

You also want a teacher that keeps a record of things, even if it means keeping a record of those not so great assignments you submit.

This way, the teacher can see a student’s progress and determine what each student’s strengths and weaknesses are.

Additional Things to Consider When Looking for the Perfect Tutor

L'arc de Triomphe, Paris
The construction of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was ordered by Napoleon, the French Emperor, in 1806 and completed in 1836 long after his death. Source: Marten Bjork on Unsplash

It's true that you cant interview your French teacher before walking into class, but there are other ways you can find out more about your future French teacher.

If you are signing up for face-to-face classes, you should be able to ask the administration department for background on teachers. How long they have been teaching for? What are the success rates on previous students’ exams, such as the DELF exam? What have past students commented on this specific instructor?

These are things that can easily be answered by a quick email or conversation with the admin department. This will also show that you are serious about learning.

If you are hiring a private French tutor via Superprof, there are many tutors to choose from, but not to worry; every tutor you will find through Superprof will have reviews.

These reviews include ratings and comments from previous French students. You can also read a bit about the tutor’s teaching background, style, and experiences.

Another advantage in using Superprof to find your perfect French tutor is that the first lesson with a new tutor will be free. This way, you can meet with the tutor first with no pressure of losing your money and you both get to know each other.

You can express your needs to the French tutor and find out if their teaching methods will work for you.

Whatever method you decide to go with to learn French, you should definitely research your potential French teacher first.

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A California native, reader and writer who is enthusiastic about traveling, cooking, cinema, and yoga.