If you are a self-studying English learner, you probably know that self-study has both pros and cons. What are the pros? Of course, the first one would be the flexibility, as you can study anytime you want, at any place you want. Then there is independence, as you are the one to decide what and how to learn. And finally, self-study is cost-effective: the money you save by self-studying can be spent on good-quality English materials.
However, there are also cons to studying on your own and not having an English teacher. Independence can backfire when you are not sure about something, when you get confused, and if you don’t know what and how you should practice. Choosing the right learning methods and materials can also be challenging if you do it on your own. And finally, self-study requires a lot of motivation and self-discipline. Many students find it challenging to keep up with their learning routine when they study on their own.
Below, we’ve listed 4 signs that most likely show that you need an English teacher to study with. These 4 indicators are to be considered if you have already learned English on your own and when you are ready to take your knowledge to the next level.
If you take studying English seriously, you should consider all of these factors. And if you recognize yourself in any of these, it’s probably the time to tell yourself “I need an English teacher” and you should invest in a qualified teacher to help you improve.
The more you learn, the less you understand
When you learn anything, the more content you absorb and practice, the better you should understand it. It’s natural – with time, your knowledge expands, therefore your understanding of the subject improves too. Moreover, with regular practice, you improve your practical and theoretical skills.
But what if that’s not the case for you? At first, self-studying is easy, but the more you do it, the more difficult the lessons get. Over time you start stumbling upon complicated concepts that seem to have no explanation whatsoever. You don’t see the difference between Past Simple and Present Perfect Simple. You have no idea what’s going on anymore and learning English makes you sick and tired. Don’t let that discourage you – you simply need an English teacher to help you get back on track and explain the things you find hard to grasp.
You can’t tell if you are making mistakes
This may become another source of frustration for self-studying students. If you study by yourself, you probably have a textbook with an answer key. Unfortunately, the answer key section usually doesn’t have any explanation why is this a correct answer. Or, what’s more vital – why the answer you came up with is incorrect. And problems start to pile up when you keep making the same mistakes frequently. How do you know what’s wrong with your answers?
In addition, your English mistakes might not even be noticed by you. If that’s the case, you will keep making the same mistakes over and over. Most likely, they will stay in your long-term memory as a correct way to express yourself. At this point, it will be extremely difficult to re-learn those rules or grammar structures. If you are not sure whether what you’re saying and writing is correct or not – consider taking a few lessons with an English teacher.
You lack motivation
With so many motivational quotes popping up on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, you might think the whole world is motivated to achieve great things 24/7. That’s a big misconception. You are a person, not a robot. It’s normal to feel lack of motivation to study, especially if you have been studying English on your own for a long time. Being a beginner student is easier, because you progress quickly, and the motivation is always there. However, once you reach an intermediate level, the path to becoming an advanced English speaker is long and daunting. The progress you make is slower, and sometimes it may take weeks or even a month before you feel an improvement. It’s not surprising that intermediate students are prone to a studying burnout.
If that’s your case too, then you need an English teacher. Most of all, because your teacher will give you a structured lesson plan, making your studies smarter and your progress quicker. If you lack motivation, share this with your teacher. A good teacher should be a good observer, so by observing your progress and learning routine, a good English teacher will be able to come up with a study plan and ideas on how to get your motivation back on track. They won’t let you give up, that’s for sure.
You lack consistency
The flexibility you have when studying on your own can turn out to be a drawback. If you can study anytime you want, when will you do it? “Anytime” can either mean every day (which is great!) or once a week (which, isn’t enough if you really want to master English). Flexibility might also lead to situations where you don’t prioritize English. There is always something more important to do, if there is no one to supervise your studies.
To become proficient in English, you need to be consistent and there is no other way around it. Even if you are motivated, with no consistency and no proper lesson plan you might not live up to your potential. You should study at least 3-4 times a week, or preferably every day – even 30 minutes is fine! The bottom line is that you need to stick to a learning routine if you want to achieve great results.
If you have trouble with the consistency of your studies, ask a teacher for help. They will be able to provide you with quick exercises and tips on how to squeeze in 30 minutes to study English. And let’s not forget to mention that deadlines can also be motivating! When you know that you have to prepare your lesson and do your homework by a specific day and time, you will have a motivating deadline and a reason to do it within the established time frame.
Do any of the points above remind you of your situation? If yes, consider working with a professional teacher and have a look at italki’s English teachers to find your best match. All English teachers on italki offer online classes that you can take at your own peace and according to your own learning routine. If you decide to learn English online, you will keep the flexibility aspect of self-studying, because you can study at any place and at any time you want! And thanks to the experienced italki teachers, you will be provided with a personalized lesson plan, tailored according to your English level and your interests. You will learn at your own pace, but with the help of a professional teacher, so that your English learning will be more enjoyable and effective.