As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, you will come across many myths and misconceptions associated with private ESL tuition. Here are seven of those myths and misconceptions.

1. You have no responsibility for minors. Unfortunately, this is absolutely wrong. From the moment you agree to teach someone’s child you will be in loco parentis (“in the place of a parent”) responsible for the well-being of the child. For example, if the child likes to ‘dive bomb’ the bed by jumping off the top of a set of drawers, you may be liable if the child seriously injures itself. Incidentally, if you are wondering whether this sort of thing really happens – rest assured that it does.

2. Only unqualified ESL teachers do private lessons. Undoubtedly, unqualified native English speakers do private ESL lessons because they do not have a TEFL qualification which would allow them to work in a school; however, a lot of qualified ESL teachers do private lessons, and most private clients will only employ qualified ESL teachers. Some clients seek private ESL teachers directly from the various educational institutions. 

3. You can’t make a career by purely working as a private ESL teacher. At first sight, it would appear that this is true; however, the fact is that there are hundreds of ESL teachers worldwide who work only as private teachers.

4. Teaching private lessons can never be as prestigious as working in an ESL school. That depends on whom you are teaching; for example, if you are teaching a president’s child, a famous actor, or renowned academic, it will be a lot more prestigious than working in an ESL school.

5. Doing private lessons is the way to earning ‘big’ money. Although private lessons often pay well, it is not guaranteed that you will necessarily earn a lot of money. If you are working in a Third World country, you are unlikely to command large hourly rates – even if your clients are relatively rich. 

6. Discipline isn’t really a problem. What is forgotten by many people who believe this myth is that the students are in their own environment: it’s their home. Consequently, when students, minors more often than not, decide to misbehave, it can be an extremely daunting task for the ESL teacher to control them; in fact, it can be much more difficult than at school – and the situation can be further exacerbated by over doting parents.

7. You aren’t answerable to anyone. As a private teacher you won’t have to justify yourself to a directors of studies; however, you may find yourself answerable to your employer – the parents – who can at times be extremely overly demanding and lacking in understanding.

1. You have no responsibility for minors. Unfortunately, this is absolutely wrong. From the moment you agree to teach someone’s child you will be in loco parentis (“in the place of a parent”) responsible for the well-being of the child. For example, if the child likes to ‘dive bomb’ the bed by jumping off the top of a set of drawers, you may be liable if the child seriously injures itself. Incidentally, if you are wondering whether this sort of thing really happens – rest assured that it does.

2. Only unqualified ESL teachers do private lessons. Undoubtedly, unqualified native English speakers do private ESL lessons because they do not have a TEFL qualification which would allow them to work in a school; however, a lot of qualified ESL teachers do private lessons, and most private clients will only employ qualified ESL teachers. Some clients seek private ESL teachers directly from the various educational institutions. 

3. You can’t make a career by purely working as a private ESL teacher. At first sight, it would appear that this is true; however, the fact is that there are hundreds of ESL teachers worldwide who work only as private teachers.

4. Teaching private lessons can never be as prestigious as working in an ESL school. That depends on whom you are teaching; for example, if you are teaching a president’s child, a famous actor, or renowned academic, it will be a lot more prestigious than working in an ESL school.

5. Doing private lessons is the way to earning ‘big’ money. Although private lessons often pay well, it is not guaranteed that you will necessarily earn a lot of money. If you are working in a Third World country, you are unlikely to command large hourly rates – even if your clients are relatively rich. 

6. Discipline isn’t really a problem. What is forgotten by many people who believe this myth is that the students are in their own environment: it’s their home. Consequently, when students, minors more often than not, decide to misbehave, it can be an extremely daunting task for the ESL teacher to control them; in fact, it can be much more difficult than at school – and the situation can be further exacerbated by over doting parents.

7. You aren’t answerable to anyone. As a private teacher you won’t have to justify yourself to a directors of studies; however, you may find yourself answerable to your employer – the parents – who can at times be extremely overly demanding and lacking in understanding.

Private ESL tuition myths and misconceptions

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1. You have no responsibility for minors. Unfortunately, this is absolutely wrong. From the moment you agree to teach someone’s child you will be in loco parentis (“in the place of a parent”) responsible for the well-being of the child. For example, if the child likes to ‘dive bomb’ the bed by jumping off the top of a set of drawers, you may be liable if the child seriously injures itself. Incidentally, if you are wondering whether this sort of thing really happens – rest assured that it does.2. Only unqualified ESL teachers do private lessons. Undoubtedly, unqualified native English speakers do private ESL lessons because they do not have a TEFL qualification which would allow them to work in a school; however, a lot of qualified ESL teachers do private lessons, and most private clients will only employ qualified ESL teachers. Some clients seek private ESL teachers directly from the various educational institutions. 3. You can’t make a career by purely working as a private ESL teacher. At first sight, it would appear that this is true; however, the fact is that there are hundreds of ESL teachers worldwide who work only as private teachers.4. Teaching private lessons can never be as prestigious as working in an ESL school. That depends on whom you are teaching; for example, if you are teaching a president’s child, a famous actor, or renowned academic, it will be a lot more prestigious than working in an ESL school.5. Doing private lessons is the way to earning ‘big’ money. Although private lessons often pay well, it is not guaranteed that you will necessarily earn a lot of money. If you are working in a Third World country, you are unlikely to command large hourly rates – even if your clients are relatively rich. 6. Discipline isn’t really a problem. What is forgotten by many people who believe this myth is that the students are in their own environment: it’s their home. Consequently, when students, minors more often than not, decide to misbehave, it can be an extremely daunting task for the ESL teacher to control them; in fact, it can be much more difficult than at school – and the situation can be further exacerbated by over doting parents.7. You aren’t answerable to anyone. As a private teacher you won’t have to justify yourself to a directors of studies; however, you may find yourself answerable to your employer – the parents – who can at times be extremely overly demanding and lacking in understanding.
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