Many teachers who work for an institute or school have had the chance to teach also private lessons. Private tutoring is a great thing to do, not only is it rewarding and personalized, but also you can make very good extra money and enhance your reputation as a great teacher! So how can you actually get more private students and make sure you’re always on business? Here are some tips that can be helpful:
- Determine your target audience. It is better to become a specialist in a certain area than it is to know it all and serve all kind of students. I have seen ads forms freelance teachers who say they do it all: TOEFL preparation, GMAT, translation, IELTS, Cambridge test prep, they teach kids, adults and business people. Can you really excel like that? Preparing teaching materials and trying to personalize the lessons would be such a time consuming task! You would always have to be coming up with new materials that you’ll hardly use again with other students. What a waste of time. Find the target audience that fits better with your profile and expertise and then become THE specialist in that field.
- Be updated. There’s a lot to learn! New methodologies and materials come up even as we speak. Find some webinars, register in ELT courses and follow ELT blogs. Don’t let a day pass without having learnt something new. New and fresh ideas can’t always come from within you, but you can feed your imagination and apply new ideas in order to surprise and delight your students.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and referrals. Students may come and go. In fact, once you have prepared a student, say, for a TOEFL test, what do you say to them during the last class? Good luck and good bye? I definitely ask about my service, how satisfied they were and how I could improve it. Then, it is the best time to ask for referrals. Would you recommend me? The answer is usually a total yes. And if they drop a name from someone who may be interested, take the first step and ask for their phone number. You got yourself a new student. Well done!
- Offer your current students special deals when they refer to new ones. Let’s say some student refers you to a friend or colleague. Once the referral hires your service, you can show your love and appreciation by giving your current student something for free. People love free stuff! Upgrade their current plan, for example, if the student has a three-times-a-week plan, upgrade that to a four-times-a-week plan for this month, or something like that. If you don’t want to (or can’t) do that, still show how grateful you are by giving them a call to say thanks, by sending a bag of goodies, a written thank-you note, etc.
- Stay in touch with former students. You can do this by using social media for example. Do interact on social media with your students. I know some teachers are reluctant to do this, but I do believe it can be done. This may mean you’ll have to establish some boundaries, but I have found that former students that I see and interact with regularly on social media have five times more probability to recommend or hire my service again. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
- Use social media. Imagine you write a blog post or share some tool for learning English with your contacts, followers and friends. Your friends like it and share it. Result? People see you, people hire your service. How easy is that?
As you can see, we need to be proactive and manage our private tutoring with dilligence and professionalism. Question: Do you currently teach privately? How do you usually get new students?