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Create Your Own Teaching English Job

Connor Davies offers tips for TEFL teachers who dream of self-employment.

Once you have completed your English teaching certificate, the world is your oyster. You’ve just got your ticket to travel the world, explore new countries, and earn a good living along the way—what could possibly be wrong with that?

But enthusiasm can start to wane when all of those job applications lead to nothing. You might even start to wonder whether you’ll ever be able to find the teaching position you’ve been dreaming about.

But rather than endlessly applying for jobs in schools and teaching institutes around the world, have you ever considered bypassing the job search altogether and finding your own students to teach?

The Benefits of Finding Your Own Students

The main benefit of teaching in a self-employed capacity is that it allows you to charge a premium for your classes rather than having a language school take a cut, and that can make a huge difference to your quality of life.

You can also teach in comfort in the environment that best suits you (like your own home) without having to travel to classes. You can even choose your students to some degree so that you do not have to put up with any more nightmare lessons.

You may worry that it does not have the same security as working for an employer, but once you begin to find your own students you’ll forget about this soon enough because you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself.

What You Need to Start Giving Private Lessons

You actually need relatively little in order to set yourself up as a self-employed English teacher.

You should still have some kind of certificate or training such as a CELTA, although this is not mandatory. But if you do have a recognized certificate then this may help you to find more students, and you will probably feel more comfortable in your abilities.

You will also need some teaching materials, but a few text books, magazines, and a laptop can go a long way. You may not even need these if you focus on providing conversation classes.

Apart from that, enthusiasm and persistence are about all that you really require, especially in the beginning when you may have a few doubts about your own abilities.

How to Start Finding Students

So onto the hard part: Finding your students.

Despite being the most daunting part of the process for most teachers, this part really isn’t that hard at all.

It is amazing how powerful word of mouth is, and I always recommend this as your most important marketing tool. It takes a little while to get going, but by simply mentioning what you do to every new person you meet and handing out a business card, you’ll be surprised by just how far word will spread. If you are living in a country where English is not the first language, this is often the only marketing you will need to do.

It is also a good idea to print up some flyers and stick them around your local area, pay for some adverts in the local press, and consider placing free ads in online advertising sites.

Consider All Your Options when Teaching

If you are not comfortable with the idea of working for yourself then you may want to start teaching a few students privately on the side whilst working for a school or company, and there is nothing wrong with that (it’s what I did, actually).

But there is no absolute need to do this, and if you are up for the challenge you can start teaching privately as soon as you have completed your TEFL training.

Self-employment may not be for you, but don’t just dismiss it because you don’t feel that you are capable of providing your own lessons. If you want to be a teacher, this is one of the best ways to start making a good living from it without having to ever worry about applying for a job.

Written by Connor Davies for EnglishClub | June 2012
Connor Davies lives in South America where he enjoys a location-independent existence working as an English teacher and freelance writer amongst other things. To find out more about how you can make a living from anywhere in the world, you’ll find all you need to know—and a free ebook to get you started—at Aspirations Abroad.

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