How To Find Private English Students

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Are you trying to make some extra cash or getting a feel for teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) but you don’t know how to find private English students? Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

Why should you have private English students?

Teaching private English students is probably more common than you realise. Some teachers are not 100% surethey want to commit to a life of teaching English, so they give private lessons to try it out. Others perfer to try out their teaching skills on one student before they are faced with a class of 30. And many TEFL teachers make use of private English lessons for extra income.

Having private English students is a convenient way to get valuable teaching experience, get comfortable teaching and earn a bit of extra cash.

how to find private English students

Who are private students?

Many people who want to learn English are working or studying full-time. They are not able to or don’t want to commit to a language course. It is not easy for them to make time to attend classes but they still want to learn the language and brush up on their English skills. Fitting into school schedules can be tricky. Or sometimes students would rather have one-on-one lessons than learn English in a classroom situation, so they decide to try and find a private tutor. Private students can be found in-person or online.

How to find private English students

Word of mouth

As you can imagine, advertising is key. If you are already working for an institution or a school, you might not be allowed to offer private lessons to your students because that would be taking business away from the school. (So be sure to check this!). However, creating a reputation for yourself among the students you teach opens yourself up to good word-of-mouth recommendations. Even if you can’t teach Galina because she’s in your Intermediate class, there’s nothing to stop you teaching her cousin, Irina.

The internet

Besides word-of-mouth, you can make use of websites to advertise your services. Gumtree is a common one for teachers to advertise themselves. LinkedIn is another good way to promote your services. As with any online activity, 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 are going to be – just to be on the safe side.

A personal website

It’s also a good idea to set up your own website. This can be done quite easily on sites like WordPress and Wix, and usually for free. On your website you can introduce yourself, share your experience and provide contact details. You can add blog posts if you like which can show your knowledge on all things English. Once you’ve had a few students, you can ask them to write testimonials for you. All of these things will help potential students trust you – and be more likely to hire you!

Be active on social media

Establish yourself as an expert on social media. Contribute to threads and posts in Facebook groups or Reddit, illustrating your knowledge as a TEFL teacher. Answer questions related to English usage and grammar. People will become familiar with your name, and students will have  you top of their mind if they are looking for private lessons.

Go old-skool

In your area, make use of age-old advertising methods like jobs boards or community boards at your local shopping centre, community hall or library. It might seem old-fashioned, but you’ll be surprised how effective a good ol’ notice can be.

How do private English lessons work?

Well that’s the beauty of private students: it can work however you want it to. Whether it’s in the evenings after work, or during the mornings or afternoons, your lessons can be whenever you choose. The rate you charge must be negotiated between you and the student, but this is also flexible. It might be tempting to be suer cheap, but your rate should take into account the length of the lesson, the preparation required and the venue of the lesson.

It is also common to offer a free trial lesson to private English students. This is for both parties – for the student to know that you are a serious teacher and for you, so that you know what is expected of you and are happy with the arrangement. When the first lesson has been concluded and the details have been finalised, you are set to start your lessons.

Remember, private lessons can be done face-to-face or online. If your private students are in the same city, it can make sense to meet up in a coffee shop or workspace for lessons. But if it’s more convenient, there’s no reason not to take your lessons online.

how to find private English students

Our to tips to find private English teachers

  • Be confident. Selling yourself can be quite uncomfortable. But let’s be real, if you’re not confident in your teaching then why should a private student trust you?
  • Be mindful with your pricing. If you are starting out and are new to the field of TEFL, don’t overprice yourself. Students will pay a higher rate for an experienced teacher with a good reputation so be careful not to overcharge. In the same vein, you should never short change yourself, so your hourly rate should be better than that of the hourly rate you’d be paid for teaching in a school or language centre.
  • Cancellations happen. Private students are notorious for either cancelling or just not showing up at all for their lesson, which can be frustrating as a tutor. Have a clear cancellation policy along with your hourly rate. There is nothing wrong with charging for any lessons that may be cancelled if that is agreed upon in the beginning.
  •  Consider bundles. Selling bundles of lessons can be cost-effective from a student’s perspective and reassuring for the tutor. Students can pay upfront for a set number of lessons, which not only safeguards you against cancellations but also gives you a sense of financial security for the month ahead.
  •  Specialise. Specialising will help you stand out from the crowd. General English teachers are a dime a dozen, but teachers of exam English or English for Special Purposes are harder to find. Even better, you can charge a higher rate for specialised lessons.

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

Don’t forget, the best way to market yourself is by getting an excellent qualification behind your name. A Top-up Course from The TEFL Academy looks good on anyone’s CV – just saying!

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