Teaching English in Mérida, Yucatán (México) can be a fun and exciting experience.
You will meet all manner of people who wish to learn English either for personal growth or for business purposes so they can claim to be bilingual. You must always remember that the rate of pay is usually a bit lower than back at home. Many teachers in schools will make anywhere from 80-100 pesos per hour (7-9 USD), however depending on the lifestyle you want, this may not be enough for you. One of the beautiful things about teaching English privately is that you get to give students lots of attention and you make friends with the locals. You can offer to teach in your home or in theirs, or, if you are uncomfortable with either of those options, you can also teach somewhere public, like a park or mall. I will give you a couple tips on how to find work and how to give private lessons in Mérida, México.
Some Ideas about One-to-One Classes in Mexico that Work
Where to get students
It is often hard to get new students for private lessons because of the culture of the people. Oftentimes, it is one of the most challenging things about teaching in Mérida. One of the first things you will need to do after getting here, will be to get a phone. You can get a cell phone for 200-5000 MXP (18-460 USD) depending on what you want. The 200 MXP phones will be basic and give you text and talk services. Some of the best ways to find private students would be to post an ad in the local newspaper’s classifieds section. There are many local parks with bulletin boards where you could put up flyers with your phone number for private lessons in town. You can use the local classifieds websites such as (http://www.vivanuncios.com.mx/, and www.olx.com.mx). They work in a very similar fashion as craigslist. Another way is through working for a school at first and letting your students know that you also offer private lessons if they have friends or family who may be interested. The best way, however, in Mérida is to go to the Mérida English Library on Monday nights from 7-9 for a gathering of expats and locals called conversaciones. This is where people come together and sit around a table to practice their Spanish and English skills. It is a great place to meet people and get to know them before giving lessons.
Creating a comfortable learning environment
As I mentioned earlier, one of the best things about being a private tutor is you become friends with the locals and you may either be invited to teach in their homes, or you can invite them to teach in your home depending on your level of comfort with them. Most times the first few lessons (what I like to call the evaluation period) would be given outside the homes in a more public setting such as one of the hundreds of local parks (which often have internet access, shaded areas, charging stations, and restaurants nearby). These first few sessions are the most important as you need to develop a certain level of trust and camaraderie in order to make them feel comfortable enough, wither to invite you into their homes of for them to feel comfortable enough to come to your home. As I said though, there is always the option of keeping the lesson setting more public which is also widely accepted since all parks have seating as well as the amenities I pointed out before.
When giving private lessons to people as opposed to teaching in a language institute or school, it is important to personalize the lessons. This is done after the first few evaluation sessions where you find out the prospective student’s level of proficiency, what it is that they want to learn about, and what types of things they like. This is important, because if you are charging more money, you cannot be spoon-feeding the same lessons that an absolute beginner would be receiving. Personalization will encourage the student to develop his or her skills because they would be doing things they enjoyed and learning in a way that appeals to their inner student. 7For example if you are teaching someone who is relatively proficient and enjoys movies but is lacking in the ability to form grammatically correct sentences and has improper syntax, one of the ways you can teach is by making them watch a 15-20 minute clip of a movie or video which you have already seen. You could make a short quiz based on the language in the video and then have the student do the quiz, after which you could go over it and help him or her to fix their mistakes. Then you can talk about the mistakes and why he or she made them and figure out how they can improve.
What to charge
Working for a school will typically result in payment of about 80-100 MXP per hour which often makes teaching English privately more lucrative if you can have a steady stream of students. Most of the clientele you will receive as a private English teacher will be upper middle class Mexicans which will result in you being able to charge higher fees. Typically as a private instructor, classes would run for about 1 hour per session and you can charge anywhere from 100-300 MXP (9-25 USD) depending on the types of lessons you will give, how much time the students need, whether they are beginners, intermediate level, or proficient level students. English teachers with higher Spanish proficiency will be able to charge more for their services than someone who does not have this competency. Most times, private teachers will offer the first couple lessons at a discounted rate in order to assess the student and determine their level of proficiency then adjust the price as needed.
When teaching in Mérida, it is important to remember that you may not always earn the amount of money you are accustomed to and so you may need to either take multiple jobs at multiple schools and juggle the hours or, go for the private lesson option.
You must always remember to make use of the local media including local websites, local bulletin boards in parks, local gatherings, as well as the classifieds section in the newspapers. Since you will be teaching individuals, you must remember to always make them comfortable and ensure that they trust you and like you as a person, otherwise they will not hire you as a private teacher. One of the most important things to remember is also that your lessons must be personalized and tailored to suit their needs, wants, and interests as well as their level of proficiency. By doing this you will be able to set up a long term plan and keep them as recurring students as well as be able to charge more for your private tutoring sessions. Also, TIM (This Is México), remember that things won’t just happen overnight and you will need to be patient because you might not get students overnight. Good luck and hope to see you here soon.
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