I hope I can explain this well and that I’m in the right area. I have been learning Japanese through WaniKani and it’s been great. I posted recently as well for grammar help and found Cure Dolly who has also been a savior as well. Now I would also like to add an Italki Tutor to the list. However I have tried previously several times and it’s ended very poorly.
I am disabled and because of that I have issues with my anxiety and interactions with people. I struggle immensely with communication. I get very nervous and it usually ends poorly and looks like I’m not trying or are just frustrated when I’m really trying very hard but I’m so nervous I just struggle. I hope that makes sense. But I do need a tutor to help with pronunciation and gaps in my learning.
I want a tutor that is easy going and is able to joke around to break the ice. It puts me at ease. I do also want structure as well with ‘homework assignments’ so that I can also have a solid goal weekly/bi-weekly to work towards so I am not stagnating because of my depression or feeling like my disability is holding me back.
I don’t know if this might be asking too much. I hope it isn’t. I know I am…a lot. I’m sorry. I also know that I can do trials with tutors to see if I like them, and I will, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? I would greatly appreciate it.
I think it might be helpful to look in the „professional teachers“ section on italki. They are more expensive than the community teachers, but they often have a teaching education and many of them provide structure in their classes, e.g. by following a book and/or giving homework and so on.
Also, I think it would be super helpful for both of you if you could get in touch with the teacher (in written form) before the first lesson and if you could describe very clearly what you need and expect from them, maybe similar to how you described it to us. And then you could ask them whether they are willing to provide this to you. This way the teacher may be more able to prepare the lesson so that it suits you best.
Just an idea, maybe you could also agree on a special „code word“ that you could type in the chat if you feel blocked and cannot respond? I don’t know if typing would be doable for you in those situations? I‘m thinking of something simple like „help me“ or the like, so that the teacher knows you are not disinterested and need some support or nudge to be able to ease up again. Might that work for you?
Having said all that, it might still be a bit of work to find a teacher that will truly suit your needs, and there might still be some frustrations ahead of you, but my gut feeling is that if you’re really open about your situation and your needs, chances are that you can find a matching person after all
If you can possibly let the teacher know about your disability before the lesson, that will improve your chances of getting a sympathetic response when communication problems arise, as they inevitably will. If you say nothing about it, it may take the teacher by surprise when communication breaks down, and cause the teacher to misinterpret your reactions in a negative way.
You may feel that it is awkward and embarrassing to share such personal information, but managing expectations can work to your advantage. It is much better to prepare them to expect the worst, so that they are pleasantly surprised if you manage to say anything at all.
This is a couple of weeks late, but in case you haven’t found a tutor yet, I highly recommend Mizuka.
Apart from being an incredibly gentle, patient and kind teacher, she is also a certified psychological counselor.
I’ve been taking lessons with her for a year and cannot recommend her highly enough. We normally do 30 minutes of conversation practice and then 30 minutes of new grammar and checking the previous weeks homework. Her English is very good, so she will be able match the conversation to your Japanese level easily.