How Do I Become a Mandarin Tutor?

A.M. Boyle
A.M. Boyle
Mandarin Chinese.
Mandarin Chinese.

In order to become a Mandarin tutor, you must have a solid knowledge and understanding of the Mandarin language. In addition, you should have an understanding of certain teaching basics, such as curriculum preparation, student evaluation, and class management. Experience in teaching is very helpful but not required. Aside from the practical skills, if you wish to become a Mandarin tutor, you need to develop a way to find and screen prospective students.

The Mandarin language encompasses various dialects, primarily from the southwestern and northern areas of China. It is one of the most prevalent and influential languages in China and the surrounding regions. Nearly one billion people speak it as either a first or second language.

Unless you are lucky enough to already speak Mandarin fluently, your first step to become a Mandarin tutor is to learn the language. You can do this through a language program or by having your own private tutor, but many experts recommend studying the language abroad in the country of origin. If you have the time and means available to travel, spending at least a year studying the Mandarin language in China is probably the best way to learn the language thoroughly enough to be able to teach it.

Knowing how to speak the language is only part of the battle if you want to become a Mandarin tutor. You also have to develop your skills as a teacher. There are many courses and programs that you can take both online and in person in order to earn a teaching degree or certification, and quite a few of them are geared toward foreign language instruction. Whether you plan to teach students one-on-one or tutor an entire class, it is important to know the basics involved in teaching.

As a Mandarin tutor, you’ll need to develop a curriculum, which involves designing step-by-step lesson plans to suit your particular course schedule. You’ll have to develop testing and assessment procedures to ensure that your students are actually learning the material. This not only includes in-class testing but also homework and other projects that you can use for grading.

The curriculum developed depends in large part upon your intended students. For instance, if you hope to become a Mandarin tutor only for select, one-on-one adult students, the lesson plan you develop could be very different from the one you might devise for a large class of mixed-age students. Consequently, it is important for you to consider what type of students you intend to teach before you embark upon your quest to become a Mandarin tutor.

While most teaching and language skills can be learned, there is no substitute for experience. You might consider serving for a time as a student teacher before tutoring on your own. In this way, you can pick up teaching tips and techniques that are not written in a book but learned only through practical experience.

Once you have acquired the skills necessary to become a Mandarin tutor, one important step remains: You need to find prospective students. Consider advertising at local colleges and universities and taking out ads in your local papers. Social networking sites can also prove invaluable in finding potential students. Become a member of different forums or other sites that might attract people with a particular interest in the Mandarin language, and make sure the other members know of your desire to tutor. Over time, experience and word of mouth will hopefully bring you plenty of students who want to learn the Mandarin language.

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Discussion Comments


I'm looking for a Mandarin tutor. I've lived a year in China and have learned a bit of the language and would like to find someone to help me become fluent. If anyone is fluent, let me know!

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