Private and Small Group Teaching Guide
Nov 25, 2008 Tutoring/Home School 1819 Views
Private classes are a great way to supplement your income. And you'll find that at first it's a bit difficult to get classes, soon you'll have to make a waiting list for all the students who want you to teach them. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when teaching privates in order to be as professional as possible. Take a look at the tips below.
How to Advertise
- You might want to consider your niche, is it going to be business people, kids, remedial English, exam prep? According to that, you can advertise to target your niche. However, there are a couple of good places to advertise, no matter what your target group is. First off, advertise in the local paper, such as El Comercio. If possible put information regarding how many years of experience you have, your educational background, certification, native speaker (if applicable), what you teach (General English, Kids, Business English, ESP, etc), maximum number of students in a group class (if you teach group classes), and don't forget contact information, whether it be a phone number or email, make sure you put something down so that people can contact you.
- Another good way to advertise is through the net. There are a couple of ways you can do that. First you can post on sites such as Expat Peru, Living in Peru or Craig's List or you can create your own webpage. There are plenty of free hosting sites such as Word Press or Blogspot. Keep the information simple and try to have it in both English and Spanish. You'll want to include everything that you would include in an advert in the local paper and can also add more things, such as prices, available times, photos, or information about discounts.
- You might also want to make fliers and hand them out at schools, universities or businesses, depending on your target market. Posters are another option, and a bit nicer looking than fliers.
- Don't forget emailing. Lots of schools have a list of tutor, try emailing some cshools near you and ask to be put on their tutor list. You could also email heads of language centres at universities, or local businesses. You can also email friends that you have here in Lima, they might know someone who wants to take English classes.
- Going in person is your best bet. Fliers, posters and emails are great, but you might not get much response. Try going to a few places in person and let them know that you give private and/or small group English classes. Don't knock yourself out going to many in one day, but rather try to go to two or three a day.
- Word of mouth is a great way to advertise. You should give out your business card to everyone and anyone that you meet and a couple to your students so that they can give them out to their friends or acquaintances.
- Business cards are indispensable. Make sure they state that you're an English teacher (native if applicable) and have a contact email and phone number. One thing about emails, make sure it's professional, your name or an email with "teacher" or "english" is much better than some cute nickname your friends might have for you. They don't have to be elaborate, simplicity is the best. It's your choice whether you want them in English or Spanish. Or you can get two sets, one in English and one in Spanish or put both languages on one card. I use English since most of my students don't speak Spanish. Give them out to people you meet and give a couple out to your current students, most of the students that I have were referred to me by my students.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Make a contract. You need to let your students know about your cancellations, being late, payment, and discounts. A contract doesn't have to be complicated or have tons of legal information. Just set the guidelines, so that both parties are clear about what's expects.
- Ask for upfront payment. Although I don't always to this, it's for the best. Although it doesn't happen very often, some people will come for a month and then stop coming when it's time to pay. Whether you ask them to pay a class, a week, or a month ahead of time, I recommend asking for upfront payment until you feel that you can trust your student. Along with payments, you should give some type of receipt. Giving receipts shows people that you're serious about what you do.
- Decide where you're going to teach. If you're not going to teach at your home, make sure students know that you will be going to their home. And figure out how far it is from your place. Guia Calles is a good place to find out where things are in Lima. You might want to offer lower prices to those who are closer to your house if you have to travel. If it takes you an hour to get there and back for a two hour lesson, divide what you make by four hours, because that's how many hours you're travelling and teaching. So the further you have to travel the less you make per hour.
- It's the little things that are important. Remembering students' birthdays goes a long way. Likewise if you're teaching at home, having a nice atmosphere, plants are nice, and offering something to eat, a small snack, or something to drink, non-alcoholic, will separate you from the rest.
- Know your prices. You need to know how much you're going to charge and what kind of discounts you're going to offer. To give you an idea, for general English, the going rate is 30 to 60 soles. If you want to charge 45, ask for 50 because people will often try to talk you down and if they don't, then congratulate yourself on making 5 extra soles. If you're teaching intensive English, ESP, exam prep, or Business people, you might be able to charge up to 100 soles. Keep in mind that you better know what you're doing, be highly prepared for class and have the experience and qualifications to be able to justify charging so much.
- Don't steal students. If you're working at an institute and you're looking for students, don't steal them away from the institute. However, if you want to teach kids and the institute targets adults, there's nothing wrong with giving lessons to your student's children. You can still give business cards to your students, just don't try to entice them away from the institute, it's not professional and doesn't look very good.
- Remember that private students are a great source of extra income, but you also have to prepare for the class. Make a rough syllabus and talk to your students to ask for feedback.