Private Lessons and Other Classes

So recently I’ve been in talks with another, intermediate-level, Chinese learners group, investigating whether we might merge our groups. On Thursday, we met with a potential teacher for their continuing studies in the fall, and I began to more seriously consider the thought that had occurred to me on Monday, about teaching $language (or $instrument) to small groups of students, more formally (similarly to a piano teacher, getting paid), because the people in our conversation group seem to be primarily those who grew up with Chinese spoken in their households, and then some people with a moderate amount of experience and some with almost none, and the people with almost no experience might benefit from some introductory material, after which they could join the more intermediate group’s lessons.

I’m wondering how much interest there might be in such language/instrument teachers. Certainly there would probably be interest in piano/violin teachers, but I don’t really know how much people might expect to get out of private language instruction, nor how well that would work. Should I join a preexisting educational/tutoring organization and teach classes through an infrastructure that is already set up? Should I consider organizing a group of people experienced in something, and mostly act to pair up interested learners with experienced teachers (while being in the pool of experienced teachers myself)? Should I try to do this as a private instructor, as piano/violin/voice/etc teachers do?

I guess I haven’t really figured out why I want to do this. If it’s purely an interest thing, it might be somewhat fleeting, as with “Learn Asian!” Sure, I taught it for two years, but towards the end of the second instance of the class, I began to realize that I had lost some interest in it. Perhaps I lost interest because people expected things from the class that I wasn’t ready to offer. Perhaps I lost interest because I kept wanting to tie it into cultural observations of the languages, but I didn’t feel like it was really my place to inject my opinions (nor did I really want to express my opinions to a bunch of random people); this last possibility really only occurred to me last night. I’m not sure where I want to take “Learn Asian!” from here. I don’t know if I want to teach it again in an altered form next IAP, or stop teaching it altogether. I’m not sure whether I want to continue teaching or expand my “Introduction To Japanese” class for next IAP, either.

So many questions. Fortunately, there is totally time to figure things out. I would also be interested in hearing from people who might be interested in the IAP class or private lessons what your thoughts might be.

  • By Cesium, May 23, 2010 @ 00:49

    From what I heard over IAP, I thought the whole point of Learn Asian was your opinions and observations. But then, I never actually managed to go. Whether or not it was, I would love to hear some of that, since you have a fairly unique perspective (at least among people I know).

  • By Zek, May 23, 2010 @ 11:19

    Certainly it involved my observations and some of my opinions, but on the linguistic aspects of the languages — structure, phonology, writing systems, etc — and *not* on the cultural aspects. (Discussions about culture of East Asian countries can get awkward/heated if you’re not careful.)

  • By Kevin Riggle, May 26, 2010 @ 21:14

    I’d be interested in small-group beginning Chinese sessions.

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