How To Become A Freelance English Teacher
For years now English teachers have been in demand in almost every country in the world where English is not the native language. The good part is jobs have always come easy for native English speakers. The bad part is the pay is relatively low compared to Western standards. However, becoming a freelance English teacher can earn you a much higher income.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
When you begin your freelancing in a new country, it's important to be familiar with the culture and customs. Spend some time researching the country and its people. It helps to know a few words and phrases. Also, research the average pay for employed English teachers as well as freelancers. Most information is readily available on the internet. Go onto related forums and read articles about people who have done it.
SET YOUR BUDGET
Decide how much you will need to live. This is where the research comes in handy. You will typically need a little extra to get started. It may take 6-8 weeks to start developing a regular income. Conservatively speaking, set aside two months worth of expenses. There's nothing worse than having no money in a foreign land.
START ADVERTISING AND NETWORKING
You can start doing these weeks before you even arrive thanks to the wonders of social networking websites. Use sites such as Facebook to find people who are teaching abroad. Also, search for websites that are dedicated to teaching abroad. There are many generic and country specific websites on this topic. If you work hard enough and have a bit of luck, you might even get some students the week you land.
Once you do arrive, start advertising and networking as soon as possible. It could take a few weeks to develop a base of students. I recommend putting up posters around schools and using email to contact schools who have students who might need outside tutoring. You can even list yourself on Craig's List or other local classified ads.
Many teachers start by at an English school and freelance part-time on evenings and weekends. You have easy access to students that way. You get to know other teachers and build a network that way.
BUILD A REPUTATION
This is probably the most important part because a bulk of your business will come from referrals. This is where the research you have done about customs comes in tender. If you know how a country's students typically learn, you can cater to that environment. If you are a good teacher, you will have many students. If you do your job well, you will have a full schedule within six months. You will have more students then you can handle.
QUALIFICATIONS & LEGALITIES
Generally speaking, students & parents want you to have teaching credentials such as a teaching degree plus a foreign teaching certification such as CELTA. Also, they want you to be a native English speaker. In practice, you can get work both freelance and at a school without these qualifications, but it is a good foot in the door and you get jobs easier.
It is important to note the legal ramifications of freelancing. You provided to have a work permit and / or reporting your income. Many teachers freelance without doing this. If you get talked, it could mean deportation and you could be banned from the country. That is why many teachers will teach at a school for the work permit. Research the laws in your country of choice.
In the end, one could make a career in teaching English. Teaching can be very rewarding. With freelancing you have the opportunity to set your own hours and earn a higher wage. Best of all, you can live in many different countries and experience many cultures.
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Written by Magnus Leven
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