If you’ve followed me for any amount of time on this blog, you may be aware that I was studying with a Japanese tutor for some time. I haven’t actually seen her now for maybe 2 months due to a packed school/work schedule and a bit of laziness as a result of that schedule. I’ve also been saving some money (although she did give me a fairly good price). As I sit and reflect on the year I spent seeing my tutor, I am reviewing the pros and cons and trying to figure out if I should look for a new tutor, or simply not see one at all.
Pros: My tutor was a native Japanese speaker. She also charged a very reasonable hourly rate, almost half of what most Japanese tutors charge in the area. She worked fast and encouraged me to practice my Japanese and integrate it into my daily routine. She also became a good acquaintance I could comfortably chat with about Japanese culture.
Cons: I felt that she was impatient. When we were already way past a certain grammar point and I would forget it, she made me feel kind of dumb in her own way. She has laughed when I have forgotten certain hiragana characters… the easiest thing to learn, I know. She would try to challenge me with things that were beyond my comprehension, but I would just be completely lost learning JLPT 3 grammar, when I was really more like a 5. At times, she could not explain certain grammar points since she was a native and it simply came natural to her.
Conclusion? I just don’t know at this point. I’d like some opinions as to how I should go about this. Is every tutor this way? Am I just being too sensitive? I am already trying to study grammar on my own after purchasing Genki II, and it is not easy. However, it is not impossible to do. I feel more comfortable learning the grammar at my own pace. The flip side of this is not knowing whether I have grasped a concept correctly. It’d be nice to have someone to check my workbook activities and Lang-8 entries, someone that could thoroughly explain my mistakes in English. But I would want to see this person on my own time without feeling obligated to pay for their services week after week.
So, have any Japanese language learners had similar experiences? What do you recommend?