One of the blogs that I enjoy reading and one of our RV inspirations is Tynan. One of the things that Tynan advocates for and that I have begun to appreciate myself is the value of one-on-one learning. Classes and group sessions can be valuable for getting your feet wet and getting an introduction to a new subject, but having a tutor, mentor or coach can really jumpstart you to the next level. This can apply to almost anything – language, gymnastics, music, etc. Private lessons may not always be feasible due to financial considerations, but if you have decided to take the splurge, here are a few things to consider:
1. Check the instructor’s qualifications. What makes her an expert in this field? Don’t let affiliations with fancy associations fool you – anyone can join an organization to look more official. Ask yourself: How long has she studied the field? If it’s a language, is she a native speaker? Perhaps most importantly, has she taught the subject before and how frequently? Having a strong understanding of a particular subject and excelling in a certain field does not guarantee that the person at hand will have teaching skills, experience and know how to properly and effectively guide someone.
2. Set clear expectations. Be clear as to what kind of time commitment and pace you are looking for. Are you looking for a weekly 45-minute session or a daily hour session? Are you looking to take lessons for five weeks or five months? Make your expectations clear and confirm that the instructor will be local and available for the duration you are looking for. Nothing sucks more than missing sessions (and losing momentum) or having a teacher bail on you. It’s not always easy to find someone new.
3. Be as specific as possible. Choose a tutor whose focus is exactly in the area that you want to study. For example, if you are looking to study a language, confirm that the instructor is fluent in your dialect of choice. Or if you are looking to study voice, take the extra five minutes to determine if the instructor is classically trained or is a Broadway singer. Having an instructor whose experience is aligned with your goals makes a big difference.
By following these three guidelines, you’ll maximize your time and make faster progress with your instructor of choice. Good luck!