It goes without saying that one-to-one lessons (or ‘man-to-man’ lessons as they are called in Japan) present a set of challenges that are unique. Whereas group lessons can rely on activities and contribution from the numerous participants, lessons with just one student place a lot more responsibility on your shoulders.
I find teaching one-to-one lessons to be quite enjoyable and rewarding. A good relationship has to be maintained with the student, and the specific needs of the student must be met if the lesson is to continue and thrive. Although you can achieve more in a short period, a lot more preparation is required.
Good teacher, good student
It’s useful to ask two things: what makes a good one-to-one teacher, and what a makes a good one-to-one student.
A good student will:
- Have clear learning aims
- Be motivated
- Be communicative
- Attend lessons regularly
- Use English not only in the lessons but also in any situation that presents itself
A good teacher will:
- Be well-prepared
- Be flexible in terms of long-term goals and lesson subject matter
- Be professional – it’s easy to let standards slip as you get to know the student, but good manners, such as turning off one’s phone during the lessons, are a must
- Review material regularly to ensure it is being retained
- Focus on the needs of the student rather than rigidly sticking to a curriculum
Granted, it demands more concentration, more forethought and in some ways more advanced abilities to teach in this style, but one-to-one lessons can be financially and professionally rewarding.