Teach French Online: A How-To Guide

Teach French Online: A How-To Guide

With French being a compulsory subject up until GCSE level in most schools, and an ever-popular choice for exam students, French tutors are always in need.

Online tuition can be a flexible and rewarding career choice, especially with the plethora of online language-learning tools now available at your fingertips.

As students continue to navigate new exam and grading systems, and their schedules grow increasingly busier, online tuition has come to forefront of learning and educational support. With the growth of online teaching platforms and tools, there has never been a better time to start your career as in online tuition. This being said, it can be difficult to know where to start, so we’ve put together a how-to guide to help you get started as an online French tutor.

The qualifications you need to become an online French tutor

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need any specific qualifications in order to become an online French tutor in the UK. As you’re likely to be self-employed, it will be down to the client to decide if you are qualified enough to become their tutor.

The more qualified you are, however, the more valuable you’ll appear in the eyes of potential tutees. For example, as a French tutor, having an A-Level French qualification, and even more so a French degree, will really make you stand out as a qualified tutor. 

It also might be worth obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, particularly if you intend on tutoring students under the age of 18. This is not, however, a legal requirement.

The skills you need to teach French online

Photo of a woman working on a laptop

In order to teach French online, there are four key skill areas that you’ll need to have mastered. These are:

  1. Speaking
  2. Listening
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

These skills will allow you to help a variety of learners, from secondary school students to business professionals. Beyond these abilities, you’ll also need the following skills:

  1. Adaptable teaching style – As an online French tutor, you’re likely to come across students of all ages and abilities, so you’ll need to be an effective communicator, with the ability to adapt your teaching style to each student’s needs and learning style. You’ll also need to be able to dedicate your full attention to each student, or group of students, for the entirety of the lesson, and have a friendly but fair teaching style.
  2. Technical knowledge – Whilst you by no means have to be a tech whizz, it is important that are you able to set up your online teaching equipment and are able to comfortably navigate your chosen online teaching platform.
  3. Business knowledge - When you become a French tutor, you’ll automatically become a business owner – be that as a sole trader or as a limited company. It’s therefore very important that you familiarise yourself with the tax system and marketing best practices. There are many resources, such as accountants and local council business advisors, who can help you with these business aspects.

Choosing your target market

Once you feel confident that you have all the skills necessary to become an online French tutor, to next step is to decide who exactly you’re going to teach. In general, you’ll likely to get the most demand for tuition from GCSE and A-Level students, although there is often a lot of adult learners who wish to learn French for business or leisure purposes. 

It’s entirely your decision as to whether you choose a particular group of students to teach, such as GCSE and A-Level students, or whether you wish to teach a wide range of learners. The benefits of teaching a broad range of students, however, are that your work will be varied, and you’ll gain valuable teaching experience across a range of levels.

Setting-up and choosing your online teaching platform

hands typing on laptop

Now that you’ve chosen your target market, you can start thinking about your online tutoring set-up. The first thing to decide is which platform you’ll use for your lessons. There are two main options you can choose from:

  1. Online video platforms such as Skype or Zoom – These platforms are free to use, and come with the ability to share documents, chat, and screen-share, which makes them very handy for online lessons. Here’s a really useful video on how to teach French online using Zoom from Lindsay Does Languages:
  1. Tutoring platforms – Another option is to sign up to a tutoring site that has its own online teaching platform, such as MyTutor or Tutorful. While it can be handy to have access to both your clients and teaching tools in the same page, it’s useful to do some research as to any potential commission they may charge tutors.

After you’ve decided which platform you’ll use to teach online, you can finalise your teaching set-up. Some things to take into consideration are:

  1. Your teaching environment– it’s best to choose a quiet, well-lit area where you can teach comfortably and effectively.
  2. Your audio and visual set-up – it’s important to make sure that the sound and picture quality on your computer are of a good standard. You might also want to consider buying a microphone or headset, but these are definitely not necessary in order to teach well online.
  3. Getting to know your online platform– make sure you familiarise yourself with your chosen platform before you begin teaching, so that you’re able to carry out tasks such screen-sharing or sharing documents or links before your first online lesson.

Set Your Online French Tutoring Rates

Once your online tutoring set-up is finalised, you can begin to think about how much you’ll charge for lessons. As rates can vary so widely, it can be difficult to know how much to charge, so here are some tips to help you.

If this is your first time tutoring, it’s a good idea to do some research to see how much other online French tutors with similar experience to yourself are charging. You can do this easily with a Google search, or by visiting any of the tutoring sites that provide online French tutors. Once you’ve found a selection of tutors who have a similar teaching or educational background to yourself, you’ll have a better idea of how much to charge.

While there are no set industry-standard rates for online French tuition, it’s important that you don’t start out by setting your rates too low, in the hopes of attracting more clients. You’ll need to factor the time you dedicate to lesson planning, and the marking of any work you give your students, into your lesson rate, not just the hour or so you spend online with your student.

Finally, you’ll need to decide how you’ll receive payment for your online lessons. If you are working through a tutoring site or agency, payment is usually handled directly through the site, so you do not have to worry about organising payment with your students. Otherwise, you can decide whether you’d prefer to be paid through bank transfer or PayPal – just make sure that you use invoices and receipts to keep track of payments safely received.

How To Find Online French Tutoring Jobs

The last step in starting your online French tutoring career is to market your services. This is often the most challenging parts of being self-employed, so it might be helpful to have a read of our post, 7 Steps to Effectively Market Your Tutoring Business Online, which will give you some handy marketing tips for your business.

Hopefully, once you’ve established your online tuition business, students will come to you, but until then, you might want to take a look at tutoring jobs boards like the one we have at The Tutor Website. Finally, in order to maximise your chances of being found in your local area through online searches, you should think about signing up to our private tutor directory.

Here at The Tutor Website, we provide advertising to both in-person and online tutors through our tutor directory – so feel free to sign up and create your profile.

Natasha Saednejad

Natasha Saednejad is a French, Spanish, and ESL tutor in Surrey. A graduate of French & Hispanic Studies from King's College London, Natasha runs her own tutoring company in Surrey, NMS Tuition.

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