How to find private EFL students – a practical guide

How to find private EFL students – a practical guide

If you want to find private EFL students and you are an accredited TEFL teacher, you have come to the right place.

A TEFL teacher’s career can be overwhelming yet rewarding. Many new teachers are unsure about it. They’re uncertain of their ability to teach or terrified at the thought of standing in front of a class of 30 faces staring back expectantly. Testing your teaching skills on students one-on-one can be an excellent way to decide if you have a knack for teaching English as a foreign language online. Private lessons are convenient for gaining valuable teaching experience, developing confidence, and earning extra cash.

Who are private students?

As with people who want to learn another language, many private students work or study full-time and cannot commit to classes or a language course. This is because they have little time, and fitting into school schedules can be difficult. Other times, students would rather have one-on-one lessons than learning English in a classroom setting, so hiring a private tutor is a more flexible option.

How do I find private EFL students?

If you want to find private EFL students, advertising is the key. If you work for a school, they will more than likely have a clause in your contract disallowing you from giving private lessons to their clients. This is just fair. The students you teach and have met through the language school employing you are not your clients. They are not your students because you did not find them. It was the school that found them. This is also unprofessional, and you will get a bad reputation as someone taking business away from the school. Creating a reputation for yourself amongst international students who want to learn English opens you to word-of-mouth recommendations. While you may not teach Alvaro because he’s in the English class you’re teaching for the school that employs you, there is nothing to stop you from teaching his friend, Isabel.

The internet is your best friend when it comes to free advertising as there are loads of websites on which to advertise your services. Gumtree is popular with teachers, and Superprof is becoming very popular for private tutors. Always be careful about students you find in this way. When you meet them initially, meet them in a public place and let someone know where you will be. I wouldn’t also give personal details like my home address

How do private lessons work?

The great thing about being a private tutor is that you’re in control of your time and when and where you teach. Whether in the evening after work or during the mornings or afternoons, you can plan your online classes around your other commitments. When charging a rate, agree on a price that is good for both you and the student. Take into account the time spent on travel, preparation and the duration of the lesson

Many teachers give free trial lessons so both parties can see if the expectations are met and you are comfortable with one another.

Important matters to consider

Be practical with your pricing

If you are starting and are a new TEFL teacher, don’t ask for unrealistic rates. Don’t overprice yourself. Students will pay a higher rate for an experienced teacher, usually with references from current or past students. As you build your reputation, so can you raise your rate. On the same line, you should never undercharge yourself. A good formula is to charge a better rate of what the students will be paying for classes in a language school.

Cancellations happen

Private students are notorious for cancelling or not showing up for their lessons, which can be frustrating as a tutor. Have a clear cancellation policy along with your hourly rate. Most experienced EFL teachers work on the 24-hour cancellation. Students must give the teacher a 24-hour notice when they want to cancel a class. If they don’t, they pay for the lesson they did not attend. As this is easier said than done, experienced teachers charge students in advance. If they want four classes, they pay for them before the teacher starts. There is nothing wrong with charging for cancelled classes, but you must agree on a start.

Consider bundles

Selling bundles of lessons can be cost-effective from a student’s perspective and reassuring for the tutor. In addition, students can pay upfront for a set number of classes, which safeguards you against cancellations and gives you a sense of financial security for the month ahead.

Private EFL lessons aren’t for everyone, and there is a lot of work behind the scenes when preparing lessons for private students. Tailoring a class to an individual is a lot harder than teaching a group of people who may share common interests. You will need to source your materials and construct your syllabus. Still, the freedom of working your hours can make up for this extra bit of work and preparation. Some teachers rely entirely on private students. If you want to increase your TEFL experience or supplement your income, becoming a private tutor may be just the thing for you.