What makes a great Spanish tutor?

“The first thing Gareth has to do is try to learn the language,” said Jonathan Woodgate last year upon hearing that fellow footballer Gareth Bale had signed for Real Madrid, the legendary Spanish club Woodgate himself had played for some years earlier.

“I made sure I went to lessons two or three times a week.”

Gareth Bale is one of football’s superstars, and last week news was released about his Spanish tutor.

Here’s how one online Spanish news source reported the story:

“Un futbolista comodín de Segunda División … llamado Michael Gómez Dobrott es el profesor particular de castellano del delantero galés del Real Madrid CF, Gareth Bale. Michael tiene 25 años, es californiano y juega en el Trival Valderas. Éste es el currículum de base con el que cuenta el profesor que enseña a Bale a comunicar en nuestra lengua durante tres horas a la semana.”

“A utility Second Division footballer named Michael Gómez Dobrott is the Spanish tutor of Real Madrid’s Welsh striker, Gareth Bale. Michael is 25 years old, is Californian and plays for Trival Valdez. This is the basic curriculum of the teacher that teaches Bale to communicate in our language for three hours a week. ”

bale spanish lesson
[Gareth Bale (right) learning Spanish – image: www.walesonline.co.uk]

No mention of this tutor’s language teaching qualifications!

But assuming for a moment that Gómez Dobrott is not a qualified language teacher, does this necessarily count against him?

What makes a good Spanish tutor in your opinion?

Here are some aspects to take into account:

1. Teaching experience

2. Experience of the student’s vocation

3. Teaching qualifications

4. Personality

5. Native speaker

Here’s my ranking, in order of importance:

1. Personality

2. Teaching experience

3. Teaching qualifications

4. Experience of the student’s vocation

5. Native speaker

Do you agree?!

(Yes, I selected Personality first. A great tutor is a great engager with the student).

See you next time,


Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee, home of the most comprehensive Spanish learning program for children ever to appear online

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

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