Hi my name is Louise! I would greatly appreciate some advice from any experienced english language teachers out there, especially those with experience of private lesson and even better in Greece!beware this is long....
Last year I completed a Tefl course and went on to teach for five months in a private school in Greece. I have been doing other work since June. However I now want to go back to Greece, to an island and teach privately. I am not keen on the idea of working in a school again. Just much prefer the idea of one to one lessons. So, I have experience teaching (although I feel somewhat rusty right now) but I havent really a clue where to start private teaching. All issues are going through my mind such as how will I afford the materials. I have looked through many esl websites and gathered a list of sites which provide free resources, but then I worry about affording the internet costs as they are very expensive on the island I want to teach.etc etc!
A second worry is being able to do a good job of it as I will need a good reputation in order to promote myself and get more students. Although I did very well on the tefl course I dont feel I know exactly what each student needs for their level, or if when I do how to achieve it with limited resources. In Greece they work towards exams and although I feel I can help them with that I dont feel I could be their sole provider of English teaching, just extra conversation practice and grammar help etc. But I'm afraid if I advertise to only be a conversation exchange I might not get so many students, especially as it's a toutist area and they will have plenty practice that way.
Beginners are an even bigger worry because I will not have so many resources, such as books to make lessons fun and which I feel will really be needed with the obstacle that i don't speak much Greek!
So any great ideas? I know it will get better with practice and of course money, but getting started is my main worry. I do, however, have friends etc to stay with and know the island pretty well so those aren't such big issues...
Well Louise, I think your biggest problem will be getting enough work to survive. Is it a big island? Large population? Is there a need? is it affluent? Poorer areas won't spend their money lightly. why not start small and perhaps work in a school and build up your business by advertising etc. That way you'll know if it is feasible.
Thank you for your reply. Well no it's a small island, only one town. I have been there many times and did temporary work there all last summer. I also have contacts so renting should be cheap. There are two private schools but I asked whether they needed anybody last summer and they didn't at the time. There is an ex pat community there but I don't think any of them teach English so I don't think there is much competition. There are a couple of Greek English teachers but I know from teaching on the mainland that many preferred contact with a native speaker, especially for conversation. I was hoping that some students that attend the English schools there would need extra tuition, especially as they will take exams in May. Rather than me taking on their entire English instruction. It's a very touristy island too so the need to learn English is great. That's all I know unfortunately, as I didn't give teaching a go there last summer. As long as I find I can get a few lessons a day I don't think affording to live (I'm hoping to apartment share) should be too much of a problem, although no doubt I won't save much. Last summer there I only earnt 27 euros a day for 11 hours work so it can't get much worse than that! I order for me to feel confident teaching I would initially spend much time preparing lessons so I wouldn't have time to teach too many hours a day. Therefore I would have to charge enough per lesson. It's kind of a catch 22 situation in that I can't really get other work alongside it to fund myself while I set up because the tourist jobs expect you to work everyday for far too many hours, yet I will struggle financially I'm sure if I do teaching only.
I hope that information helps you to give me some more advice! I really appreciate it. And from anybody else!
Anybody else got any advice?????
Working exclusively with private students can be difficult; it will take time to build up enough students, and they can also be unreliable, which can make financial planning difficult. For example, I am studying Khmer privately but have just had a two-month break in Japan, so my teacher was left with a dilemma- should she wait for me to come back, or would she take someone esle at those times if they appeared. I would try to get some part-time work elsewhere, if possible and maybe approach the hotels, etc, directly to see about any group work there.
Which exams do people take there? If there is a big demand for exams, then I think offering tuition for them would be essential, as well as conversation. After all, if they need these exams to get jobs, then that would be a core part of your market.
Thank-you for your reply Tdol. The students studying English in Greece take all levels obviously from beginners to proficiency but when they take major exams they take Michigan (American) and Cambridge (British) exams e.g. Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) and occasionally London Edexcel exams. I taught in a school in Greece and they did all of these. And other levels like First certificate or lower as they call it, which is the level before proficiency. All students do English in Greece and as parents do not trust the state school system they all go to private English schools in the afternoons. They take exams regularly and it is definately something they do because it is believed to get them better job opportunities.
I would definitely offer tuition for those exams. How do you intend to advertise?