SPAIN. Teaching private English classes in Spain is a very common way for native English speakers to make extra money or sometimes even a full-time income. Due to the large demand for English competency in the European job market Spaniards, both children and adults, are very interested in learning and improving their English skills. While various learning options exist, many people prefer to hire a private English tutor rather than attend a language school. Finding teaching jobs may seem daunting at first, but the search is not as intimidating as it appears. With a bit of self-promotion and patience, you will have students in no time. Here are some tips on what to keep in mind when searching for jobs as a private English teacher in Spain.
Are you a qualified English teacher, or simply a native speaker? Have you been TEFL certified and do you have experience with English evaluations such as the Trinity Exams or Cambridge Exams? These are questions that potential students will ask you and are also things that you must consider when deciding what types of classes you want to offer.
Some of the common classes students will request are:
- Exam Preparation: Students will expect you to prepare them to take a specific English exam. You may have to prepare materials, give practice exams, and correct exercises and written essays outside of class time.
- Conversation Classes: These classes are usually the least demanding in terms of preparation time. Students usually want to practice their spoken English using interesting conversation topics, current events, and debate. You will need to focus on correcting their pronunciation and grammar.
- Extra Support: Support classes usually complement a student’s English program at school or at a language academy. It is very common parents will request support classes for their children. You will have to review what the students are studying in class and sometimes help them with their homework.
These and many other types of English classes entail different preparation time and level of grammar knowledge. Think about what you are qualified to teach before accepting a position and do not exaggerate your experience— it isn’t fair to the students and you will likely feel unprepared for their questions.
People tend to want classes around the same time, making it difficult to please everyone. The most solicited slots are usually between 5:00 and 8:00 in the evening. If you want to be ensured private classes you should have some availability within this time period. At the same time, don’t be surprised if some people want classes up until 10:30 at night or as early as 7:30 in the morning. Stick strong to your schedule of availability because once you start to adapt to the timetables of your students you will find annoying gaps in your schedule, which quickly affect your personal time. Try your best to book classes back-to-back and close in proximity in order to maximize your time and earning potential.
The Market Rate [pullquote]Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short.[/pullquote]
Before advertising, do some research on the rate people are charging in your city and adjust it based on your qualifications. Some examples of possible hourly rates are between 10€ and 20€ per hour in Seville and between 15€ and 35€ in Madrid. These rates depend on one’s qualifications, the type of class, the commute, and the economic level of the city or neighborhood. Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short. One well paying client is worth a lot more than three underpaying clients. When people start to undercharge it negatively affects all private English teachers in the area.
[pullquote]Having classes in your own neighborhood means that you can take advantage of your time and teach classes back-to-back. [/pullquote]It is very important to consider how far you are willing to commute to your private classes. My rule has always been a maximum of 30 minutes (either walking or by public transport). However, I prefer classes that are a lot closer! Having classes in your own neighborhood means that you can take advantage of your time and teach classes back-to-back. Keep in mind that if you choose to commute you lose a lot of time and also spend money on transportation. I recommend being patient and thoroughly searching for classes in your own neighborhood before getting on the bus or metro!
Age and Level of Students
It is essential to consider the age and level of potential students. Would you prefer working with children or adults? Beginners or advanced? Teaching a beginner child is a completely different experience than teaching a beginner adult. Make sure to consider the pros and cons of both situations.
How to Promote Yourself
Finding private classes and promoting yourself is quite easy. There are various websites that can help you find students. I have had success with loquo.com, tusclasesparticulares.com, and lingobongo.com. Most sites allow you to browse through potential students’ advertisements where they list their level, objectives, neighborhood and budget. You can also usually create your own free advertisement and have students contact you by phone or email.
[pullquote]Another popular method of self-promotion is making a flyer with your name, experience, and a detachable telephone number or email address.[/pullquote]
Another popular method of self-promotion, especially in smaller cities and towns, is making a flyer with your name, experience, and a detachable telephone number or email address. In Seville, I received half of my students this way! If you hang the flyers only in your neighborhood it is fairly certain that the people contacting you will live close by.
Whatever method you choose, your advertisement should be in both Spanish and English. If your Spanish is lacking, it is in your best interest to have someone help you with the translation.
Since most students want the classes in their homes, remember to be safe when meeting someone for the first time. I almost always meet students in a common location such as a café for the first class, and when I am confortable I will go to their home. Someone always knows where I am and has the student’s address.
Whether you are a professional English teacher or simply a native speaker hoping to help people with conversation skills, in Spain there are many opportunities to find students. If you follow these tips and put up a few ads people will contact you in no time, and you will be on your way to becoming a successful private English teacher in Spain.