In Europe, there are 100 million native speakers of German. Are you one of them? Would you like to become a private tutor? Firstly, before you start, there are three golden rules:
You have to be passionate about language learning and wanting more German speakers in the world.
You have to be an educator who loves passing on knowledge and foreign language skills.
You have to want to make some extra money or try out teaching.
In short, if you want to become a German teacher, you have to want to become a German teacher.
The private tutoring market in the UK is booming. More than a third of students receive private tuition at some point in their academic careers and the industry itself is valued at around £2bn.
However before you become a German tutor and start sharing your knowledge of grammar, you've probably been thinking about all the different qualifications and which ones you'll need to get started.
You could say that nobody’s born a German teacher, you have to become one.
The Skills Needed to Become a German Tutor
If time's on your side, you're probably wondering if you're even old enough to start tutoring jobs (lucky you!). In the UK, there isn’t really a specific minimum age for teaching private tutorials. However, there is a minimum age for working. If you're old enough to work in the UK, you're old enough to be a tutor.
You're probably also wondering whether your German's good enough to be a tutor. If you want to teach your students German, you’re going to need to know more than just a few German phrases, you're going to have to be almost fluent in your second language.
Students are going to want to know what level you are. Once you’ve finished your adverts or put your profile for German online tutoring jobs, you’re also going to have to prove to them that you’re good enough at the language to teach German lessons.
We’d therefore strongly recommend against just putting phrases like “I love German” on your profile since you’ll run the risk of never being contacted.
It’s generally understood that anyone with a degree in their given subject has the necessary level to provide academic support in that given subject. However, even if you do have a degree, it won't hurt to brush up on your German grammar before you get into teaching.
On the other hand, don’t worry if you don’t have a degree! You can still offer private tutorials in your second language on Superprof without a degree.
Either way, you’ll need to know precisely what your level in German is before you get started and be able to prove it to your students.
In terms of the types of teaching and students you’re going to teach, certain qualifications might be indispensable.
Teach German for School
Academic support is the most common type private tutorial since the typical learner is in school studying their GCSEs or A Levels.
The tutor’s level in German will depend on the level they’re teaching, of course.
If you’re a sixth former who’s highly skilled in German, you could offer basic German tutorials to younger children and even help GCSE students with their German speaking exams, etc. That said, you can't just stroll into class! You need to make sure that all your lessons are carefully planned.
In fact, the same goes for whether you’re teaching others how to speak German while you’re at university or full time. You should always be prepared1
Nevertheless, it goes without saying that certain German qualifications are far more beneficial than telling your future clients that you know all the best German words. Don’t forget to take a German level test in order to add your level to your private tutor CV!
The TestDaF seems to be one of the best to work out your level and that of your student. This test is aimed for those who would like to study in Germany but it’s also great for anyone wanting to find out their level in German. The test is complete and widely recognised.
You can test your comprehension (listening and reading) as well as production (writing and speaking German).
It’s based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The highest level on this scale is C2, proficiency.
This is because you don’t technically need a technical vocabulary but instead a good overall score to teach German for school.
The test takes place twice per year. In April and in October. If you’d like to sign up for the next exam then you’re going to need to get in touch with your nearest Goethe Institut.
The Goethe Institut also offers other level tests for various CEFR levels. The “Geothe-Zertifikat” covers the largest number of CEFR levels. Unlike the TestDaf, these exams only cover comprehension. The C2 is the broadest of these exams as it includes three qualifications in one.
Don’t forget to put the results of these tests on your posters for private tutorials. Since these exams are respected and trusted, they’ll play an important role in developing the relationship between you and your students.
Don’t forget to add your other experience with German (language stays, studying German, your A Levels, etc.).
Provide Professional German Tutorials
Would you like to give German tutorials to professionals or those wanting to have international careers? There are plenty of professionals who need to learn how to speak German as part of their job and require specialised German vocabulary.
How can you find these students wanting to learn German online?
To teach such a specialised German course (which will usually be in the evenings), some qualifications will be more useful than others! You won't be teaching students the German alphabet, you'll be focusing on how to learn to speak like professionals do in German speaking countries.
The Widaf test was created especially for business’ needs. The score equates to the candidates abilities speak German professionally.
The Goethe Institut certificates and the ZBD and PWD tests evaluate the candidate’s written and aural comprehension in a professional environment.
However, only the PWD is recognised by businesses since it certifies an advanced level of German. The last exam for those who want to be certify their level in German is the GDS (Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom). It’s also the most difficult.
If you pass this exam, it indicates that your German is of a level similar to a native speaker’s. It’s higher than the CEFR C2 level.
If you want to sit (and pass) this exam, don’t forget that this will allow you to be a teacher... in Germany!
If you don’t want to pack your bags yet, remember that it’ll also be a massive feather in your cap.
This is why you shouldn’t wait to pass a German exam and start providing private German tutorials at home. They’ll also allow you to find students more easily and command a higher rate for your lessons.
German Teachers in the National Education System
Many teachers working in the national education system want to provide private tutorials.
Are you a German teacher in a school wanting to earn some extra money at the end of the month and help your students achieve academic (or professional) success? You'll need to know what price to set.
You’re in the perfect position to provide private language tutorials since your day job requires the necessary pedagogical tools.
Your PGCE will be highly sought after. Make sure to mention it on your advert!
Don’t forget to mention all the years you’ve been teaching too. If you’ve taken part in any specialised training sessions, you should mention them.
Don’t forget to be completely open and transparent with your German language abilities. It’s up to you to choose your rates, too.
Native German Tutors
Is German your mother tongue? This has to feature on your business card!
If you’re learning German, there’s nothing better than practising with a native Speaker, especially when it comes to speaking.
However, you need to also consider the pedagogic elements of your tutorials since being an expert in a subject doesn’t necessarily make you a perfect teacher.
If you’ve experience working with children, it’s also a great help. Make sure to mention that on your advert, too.
Every single one of your experiences that relate to teaching should be mentioned.
Were you a German language assistant when you studied abroad? Were you a German language au pair for children studying the language?
Once again, put these on your advert!
Now you’ve got everything you need to become the German private tutor you dreamed of becoming: qualifications, motivations...
You just need students! Once you start providing quality German tutorials, you’ll see that word of mouth does the rest!