This is a space where I’ll be sharing tips and ideas for teachers who wish to take the plunge and become freelancers.
I’ve been a freelance teacher most of my life, both here in Brazil, and in the US where I lived for over 10 years. So I can say that I know the ins and outs of it.
So, you’ve been considering offering private lessons? That’s great! Now I have an important question for you. Do you know what set of skills you’ll need to succeed?
You should know the answer to this question before you take the plunge.
You’ll be facing many new variables. For one, you’ll be making all decisions alone. You are now the teacher _and_ the director of studies, which means you’ll teach, do the placement tests, but you’ll also have to select the materials, design the courses and the syllabi. On top of that, you’ll handle accounts and payables, prospect new students, and you’ll have to do the marketing and so on.
And how about the pedagogical decisions? If you’re now teaching 1:1 you can’t expect to reproduce the same tasks you’ve used with groups with a single student, of course. How would you adapt them? And how would you go about assessing their progress? What if the lessons you teach are online? How would your approach change? Would you use a coursebook? Which one? The same coursebook series for all of your students? Why? Why not? Etc, etc.
Finding answers to such questions has been part of the job description. It’s also been an opportunity to grow as a teacher and entrepreneur. In addition, it’s given me a better understanding on how a school works. More importantly, respect and admiration for those colleagues who do a brilliant job as coordinators supporting their teachers, and directors who prepare their teachers and make sure their students are also taken care of. And last but not least, the secretaries and receptionists who hear a lot of complaints and have to call those who are behind their payments. It’s not easy.
One last observation. The key words for teachers out there who are seriously considering going solo are: self-reflection and peer observation. When you are teaching at a school you are observed. There’s usually a coordinator or a mentor who’ll give you feedback, and help you with your lesson, and also with your career development. Now, who will be there to tell you when you didn’t do a good job? Who will help you develop?
Check out the blog for more on these topics. I’d love to hear from you!
Take care & set sail! The time is now.