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Anyone have experience organizing private lessons?

 
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Sionnach



Joined: 03 May 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:53 pm    Post subject: Anyone have experience organizing private lessons? Reply with quote

Does anyone have any experience organizing their own private lessons in the United States? Specifically:

1. How did your advertise your services? Craigslist? Fliers? Local foreign language papers? Other sites online? Community notice boards?
2. Did you write your ads in English or in another language of the groups of people you're trying to reach (Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, etc)?
3. What did you do about securing space? Did you do the first few lessons in a public place like a cafe? Were you able to book public study spaces such as a small room in your local library or community center?
4. How did you handle payment? At the end of each lesson? At the beginning? On a monthly basis?
5. Did you have a cancellation policy?

Many thanks!
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smedini



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I moved home from my first overseas teaching and still had to pay back the student loan I initially went over to pay ( Rolling Eyes ), I advertised on kijiji (I was in Canada...I don't know if you have the same in the US but I'm assuming it's like Craigslist, which I've never used). I also had flyers written up in the language of the groups I was trying to reach and posted them all over the place. I also went into shops that were owned by people from those communities and sold products to them (eg. a Korean grocer) and asked if I could put my sign in their windows and/or if they knew anyone who needed a tutor. Payment was on a weekly basis, in advance, on the first day of the week and I offered discounts for two and three students (easier to teach a small group than one on one sometimes). Cancellation was up to them, but my policy was not to return any of the week's money as I couldn't get another student to replace them so quickly (was never an issue though). I did a few lessons in a library study room, but then I got students I kept for a year and we did the lessons at their kitchen tables.

I had an entry-level (non-teaching) job and didn't make much (nor did my husband), but with these private lessons three to five days a week I paid off all my student loans and other debts within a year and a half. It can be quite lucrative if you know what you're doing and you don't mind schlepping a little.

Good luck!

~smedini
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Sionnach



Joined: 03 May 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply! This is really helpful and it's encouraging to know others were able to find private students in a predominately English-speaking country.

My home city is on the smaller side but it has a fairly rapidly growing international/immigrant community, mostly from Latin America, and Southeast Asia so I definitely think there's a market for me to possibly pull down a couple hundred a month if I'm really willing to hustle.

Did you find that business picked up for you after you found your first couple of students?

Were you working full-time (37+ hours a week) at your other job or were you part-time? Do you have any advice about time management and not getting burnt out? Before I did my MA I was working full-time, writing part-time and tutoring two to three times a week and I was fine, but my full-time job was so chilled out and any work-related problems stayed at work. I hope I'd get that lucky again but I know lightening doesn't usually strike twice.
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smedini



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sionnach wrote:
Did you find that business picked up for you after you found your first couple of students?


Yes, because of word of mouth. Once I found my initial students, I never had to advertise for more because I just got new students through them. That may not happen all the time, particularly in a smaller community, but it's definitely a possibility.

Sionnach wrote:
Were you working full-time (37+ hours a week) at your other job or were you part-time? Do you have any advice about time management and not getting burnt out?


I had a 40-hour a week job and taught two hours 3-5 times a week, depending on the students at the time. The only advice I have is to do your best to keep your weekends free if you have another job. It can suck to work so much, but if you have a goal (I had that mountain o' debt) and keep to it through the week, enjoying the weekends can be the best way to keep the burn-out wolf from the door.


Sionnach wrote:
Before I did my MA I was working full-time, writing part-time and tutoring two to three times a week and I was fine, but my full-time job was so chilled out and any work-related problems stayed at work. I hope I'd get that lucky again but I know lightening doesn't usually strike twice.


You never know...it all depends on what you have going on right now, but it can be a great way to bring in some extra cash. Good luck!

~smedini
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5151
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 5:07 am    Post subject: Re: Anyone have experience organizing private lessons? Reply with quote

Sionnach wrote:
Does anyone have any experience organizing their own private lessons in the United States?

In addition to smedini's tips, do an Internet search on start tutoring english business and you'll find quite a bit of info on the subject.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 877
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was able to get quite a few students from posting advertisements on the wall at the local colleges/universities. Not all ESL students take ESL classes, some of them are integrated into the regular stream and need a little extra help for things like essays and reading comprehension. These students usually have access to their parent's income Cool
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