Chinese is a complex language that attracts more and more people every year.
Spoken by more than 1.4 billion people, it is one of the most spoken languages in the United States of America!
It is the symbol of a fascinating culture that attracts many people on a daily basis. Many young people have turned to China for better opportunities with promising companies.
Learning Mandarin has become a real asset for future generations.
- But what path do you need to follow when you want to become a private Chinese tutor?
- When should you start learning the language and where should you start?
Here are some answers to the questions you might have before giving private Chinese classes.
Is It Absolutely Necessary to Have a Diploma if you Want to Tutor in Chinese?
While it is essential to have a diploma and a doctorate degree to become a National Education teacher, if you are a private tutor you do not need such a diploma.
Is this a bonus for those who do not like to study?
Not quite. You should still think about a degree. Even if the degree is only rarely requested, it can still be a plus to prove to your students what level you have acquired.
It can make sure you have an amazing clientele for your Chinese classes.
In any case, you will need to work on the theoretical aspects of the language - such as phonetics, vocabulary, writing...and you will need to know how to retransmit them.
As a private teacher you will also need to know the ins and outs of the study program the students have at school. Maybe you're looking for jobs for ex teachers? Well, tutoring could provide the answer.
Most of your Chinese language students will expect you to know how to guide them and help them in the following ways:
- To know what tone to use,
- To know how to count,
- What vocabulary to learn,
- How to write Chinese characters (pinyin),
- Using the pinyin.
You can either be a self-employed tutor or be part of a tutoring organization.
These associations are often located in the city and offer Chinese language learning via group or individual classes (Chinese classes in New York City).
Each organization has its own rules and decides whether a degree is necessary for a tutor to get hired.
If you want to work on your own, you can post ads on platforms like Superprof. You will need to create a profile and show your resume, but no degree is required for you to be a part of the organization.
Many students also choose to become a private tutor in order to gather teaching experience or to make ends meet.
Some organizations may however ask you for a degree. These are after-school support organizations such as Acadomia for example.
Discover how to set up your Chinese language tutoring classes...
When Can We Start Learning Chinese at School?
Vocations and passions sometimes start at a young age. How can you start learning Chinese from an early age at school?
Mandarin is becoming one of the most studied languages after French, Spanish, and German. Only very few schools offer Chinese at the primary school level. Often, Spanish is most popular but Chinese is becoming very loved.
There are exceptions that offer Chinese for primary school students. This is the case of George H. Lindsay Elementary School in New York.
It's a bilingual program. But what exactly does that entail?
Here is how national education defines bilingual education:
Bilingualism as implemented in primary school welcomes Chinese and American students in the same section. Students have at least three hours of instruction in a foreign language a day. The sections have three objectives:
- To facilitate foreign students' integration into the American system in the long run,
- To create a framework that allows American students to learn a foreign language in the presence of native speakers,
- Promote the transmission of the cultural heritage of the countries concerned.
Bilingual education is a real opportunity for all students to grow an open mind and gather knowledge that can help them all their lives.
Discover how you can find students for your Chinese lessons!
These bilingual classes can be continued all throughout high school. However, for those who have not had the opportunity to take a bilingual class when they were kids, it is possible to start studying Chinese in middle school.
Once you're in middle school, or even in high school, Chinese may be offered as a foreign language.
Today thousands and thousands of students learn Chinese in high school. It's a great opportunity for students to develop skills which will be greatly appreciated by companies.
If there are no schools near you that offer Mandarin, it may be useful to check with private language institutes whether they offer the language. These institutes offer weekly classes in the language. They make it possible to follow language courses parallel to your education.
These institutes are also an opportunity to take more time to discover Chinese culture. An important element if you are thinking of becoming a teacher afterwards.
What Chinese College Degree Should You Pick?
A high school diploma is not always enough to become a Chinese tutor.
In addition, some may not have had the opportunity to learn the language at school. University is a way to get everyone up to speed.
However, you will have to work a lot on your own because college requires a lot of extra work. No one is behind you to tell you what to do and when to do it. No one is even going to force you to come to Chinese class.
It takes a lot of motivation to get there.
- But you must also choose the path that suits you best. A BA or an MA?
- Which of the two will help you tutor in Chinese in the best way possible?
Getting a BA in Chinese allows you to have an international career in an international company and serving trade, mediation, and specialized translation...The curriculum is geared towards learning the technical vocabulary that is used in the professional world.
On the other hand, the BA route (Language and Literature study) leads to teaching or research. It is a good degree if you are looking to become a private tutor in Chinese.
But what will your curriculum look like?
The focus will be on the history and literature of a language in order to help you understand the way the language operates and the thinking experienced by its speakers. Courses involve text translation and comprehension, as well as some work on oral expression.
These are the things you must know if you are looking to become a private Chinese tutor.
You should think about giving private lessons at home during your studies. This professional experience will also teach you the basics of the profession. Being a teacher is as hard to learn as Chinese. It takes time to be a good teacher.
Take a few hours a week to give tutoring classes to students who want to better their language skills or start Mandarin classes.
Tutoring in Chinese while you are at university allows you to apply the knowledge that you are acquiring in the discipline.
Organize conversation classes and drop ads everywhere. A perfect student job for a future teacher!
Join the discussion: how much can tutors earn by teaching Chinese?
Living in China Before Teaching Chinese Back Home
Have you thought about studying Chinese in China itself?
This experience could be a big plus on your resume but is also a golden opportunity to discover the Chinese culture by yourself and speak with native Chinese speakers.
Immersion is often the best way to learn a language and remember vocabulary. Once you are in China, you will need Chinese words to express yourself. The brain tends to retain much more when the words are linked to survival...
But how should you go about this linguistic journey?
There are many different ways to go about the journey. It is possible to become an intern for example, study directly in the country, go on a language study trip, or even go abroad for a while and find a job there.
Today, it is becoming easier for young people to spend some time abroad during their studies. There are scholarships to help students have access to this kind of experience. China has agreements with many institutions in the United States, including some of the country's most prominent universities.
If you aren't able to make the trip during your studies because your budget is too limited, it is also possible to become an au pair. In exchange for housing and food, an au pair takes care of the family's children during the week. This is a solution for going abroad on a budget.
Some people teach English as a second language (ESL) in order to earn an income abroad and gain experience while learning the language of the country they are visiting.
Your plans will be made according to your situation and means.
Be aware, however, that when your goal is to teach a language, it is strongly advised that you spend some time in the country and immerse yourself in the culture as to transmit the language much more easily to students.
And let's not forget that language often forms a young student's mind. Understanding Chinese culture is also a way to better understand the Chinese language. Kung-fu lessons, an introduction to calligraphy, studying Chinese medicine, but also, understanding life in the big city or in the country's countryside are all part of becoming a language teacher.
So go ahead! These are all important parts of becoming a tutor or language teacher! Don't forget these important steps too:
- Handling day-to-day needs, such as preparing lesson plans and correcting student work
- Obtaining special language materials and programs for your classroom
- Organizing special events related to your language and culture classes, such as dance performances, cultural displays, target-language dinners and other events
- Planning and attending parent-teacher conferences and administrative meetings
As a language teacher, you may travel from classroom to classroom, or you may have your own room, depending on your school or district size. A growing trend in public and private education today is language immersion schools, where students attend all or some core classes such as math, social studies and language arts in another language all year long.
Have a look at this guide of everything you need to prepare to give Chinese classes...