More and more young people are looking to get into teaching.
Certain candidates aren’t as young as the rest and turn to teaching after gaining experience by working in another sector.
Whether you want to teach in primary or secondary schools or as a private Italian tutor, there are several things you need to do to get there.
Sharing your knowledge, planning your lessons, helping your pupils succeed in their exams – being an Italian teacher isn’t easy, but anything is possible if you have the drive!
Becoming an Italian Tutor in the UK
At Superprof, we think that becoming a tutor is incredibly admirable.
Training to become a teacher demands long hours of study, passing exams and getting the relevant teaching qualifications before you can even begin to look for a position in a school or college.
To future teachers, this can look like a huge mountain to climb – and it certainly isn’t easy.
Working in the public sector may seem restrictive for some, even if this does give some people a sense of security. This can put many prospective candidates off teaching in state schools, but thankfully, there are plenty of other options.
You can send your CV to private organisations such as language schools.
These are institutions which provide supplemental instruction to school pupils outside of their formal education.
Pupils use these services for many different reasons. Some students get extra help for their language learning in school, while others enrich their academic career by learning a language alongside their studies.
It’s also worth looking at language clubs and associations. These are groups which get together in towns and cities all over the UK to socialise in a foreign language (such as Italian) and share in its culture.
As a teacher of Italian, you could prepare language or culture workshops to get students involved. One advantage of teaching this way is that the majority of your learners will be motivated, and so you will have no worry about them turning up to your sessions.
If you choose to opt for teaching in the public sector, bear in mind that Italian is usually only taught in a small percentage of schools in the UK, with French, German and Spanish making up most of the foreign language lessons.
However, the option to learn to speak Italian from scratch is available in some sixth form colleges and universities, so you may find yourself teaching older pupils than you first thought.
If you’re not sold on the idea of helping young students learn a foreign language, there are other options.
Becoming a private tutor and teaching people at home or via webcam is a good choice for those who aren't fond of the school environment.
No particular qualifications are needed to become a tutor, and you can be your own boss. This means having a flexible schedule and getting to know your students on a one to one basis.
The Ideal Educational Journey for a Future Italian Teacher
There are no set rules when it comes to the subjects you study at school before becoming an Italian teacher, however, certain subjects can make it easier for you.
Start simply by taking Italian lessons either at school or alongside your school studies.
If your school doesn’t offer Italian as part of the national curriculum, you can always teach yourself with online lessons or find a tutor who can teach you Italian outside of school.
It is essential that you get to grips with the basics of a foreign language as early as possible, as, at a younger age, our brains are more susceptible to learning new languages.
Once you have finished school and go on to sixth form or college, you should carry on with your Italian studies and take them to a higher level.
It is important that you sit exams for these, as certificates act as proof of your proficiency and keep track of your progress in a subject as well as opening up opportunities in the future.
The language exams you sit when you study Italian usually consist of reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking fluency tests, which are marked separately to give an overall grade for your language skills.
Putting in the hard work early on in your Italian learning will do you a lot of favours in the future, as you will be less likely to make careless mistakes.
This will also save you from re-revising basic grammar points and vocabulary, leaving you more time to focus on more complex language.
The next step in your journey to becoming an Italian teacher will be your degree. You need to have studied Italian at university (or to degree level) and be fluent in your Italian speaking before you can teach it.
Essential Experience Before You Begin Teaching the Italian Language
During your academic career, be sure that you don’t miss out on overseas experiences.
There are many ways you can take a trip to Italy to practice your Italian language skills such as finding a work placement, doing an exchange trip with a host family, and even studying abroad!
It is essential that you discover Italian culture for yourself whilst you practice speaking Italian with people who speak Italian as a native language. This kind of experience will stay with you throughout your teaching career and the rest of your life, as this is the first time you will be using your skills in the real world.
Speaking in Italian with native speakers will help you get to grips with tricky pronunciation and get used to different accents within Italy.
Pronunciation and accent is a difficult area for many language learners, and it is an aspect of learning Italian that cannot be neglected.
Just like in English, the meanings of some Italian words can change depending on how you pronounce them, so attention to detail is key!
Even if you’re not aware that it’s happening, your brain will remember different pronunciations and accents, even when you’re not really listening to them.
There are also many exceptions to pronunciation rules. These are far easier to learn from hearing native speakers than by reading from a textbook.
By travelling around Italy, you’ll also notice that the Italian you hear from native speakers sounds a lot different from the Italian you hear in school.
You may experience some difficulties in understanding it at first, but that’s completely normal! After a couple of days surrounded by real-life Italians, it will become a lot easier and you’ll regain any confidence you’ve lost.
You can get a head-start on this by doing some research on Italian slang words and the Italian phrases and expressions you don’t see in textbooks.
Using more common language in your speaking will also help you sound more like a native speaker and help your spoken Italian flow better.
So, what kind of Italian should you teach your pupils?
You should primarily teach a more formal version of Italian, however, it is always useful for students to know what kind of language to use in certain situations, so you could teach them a few slang words and common Italian phrases to use in their speaking.
Don’t leave it any longer - go and discover the language, culture and history of Italy as soon as you can!
Taking Italian classes is largely about a passion for Italy's language and culture.
By having experienced the richness of this culture for yourself, it will be easier and more enjoyable to share your passion with your pupils.
Offering Italian Courses From Home
If you don’t like the idea of early starts, working from home with Italian tutoring jobs is a possibility.
You don’t need any specific qualifications to be able to do this, and you could even be a self-taught speaker of Italian and still become an Italian tutor.
Lots of students, even those who do not yet have their Italian degree start out as Italian tutors, as it is a great way to gain teaching experience before committing to a formal teaching course.
The obvious advantage to tutoring is the flexibility.
As a self-employed worker, you get to choose your own hours as well as the level of teaching and format of learning program you would like to provide.
This means you can teach Italian for beginners, conversational Italian, help with GCSE Italian exam preparation by focussing on Italian grammar rules all the way up to providing a high-level lanugage course teaching the learner to speak Italian fluently - the choice is yours.
The hard part of private tutoring is getting your name on the market.
There are several simple things you can do to get started.
Firstly, you could post an advertisement on your local supermarket and corner shop noticeboards. A surprising number of people don’t immediately turn to the internet when they need to find a private tutor, so a poster or flyers in your local area could inspire someone to learn Italian if they’re not already considering it.
You could also use tutoring platforms such as Superprof. Unlike posting adverts around your town, platforms offer a sense of security between the tutor and tutee.
As a tutor, you can view a prospective student’s profile just as they can view yours before you agree to a lesson, taking the nerves away from meeting them.
To reach the necessary level of competence to become a teacher, you can make use of the many learning materials available online.
The internet offers just about everything you need to reach mastery in your knowledge of Italian, but it is down to how you use it.
Stay motivated, and you’ll have no problem!
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