The Business of Teaching: 4 Things You Must Consider Before Starting Up Your Own School Or Offering Private English Classes

The Business of Teaching
4 Things You Must Consider Before Starting Up Your Own School Or Offering Private English Classes

Susan Verner
by Susan Verner 4,859 views |

Have you considered offering private English classes?

Are you thinking about establishing an English school? Are you looking for a way to make a few dollars while you travel the world? If you are considering starting any kind of language school, here are some points to consider before you decide whether or not to open your doors.

4 Tricks Every Teacher Needs to Know before Opening Their Doors

  1. 1

    Facilities

    There is a lot to think about when opening a language school. First and foremost on your list of decisions is where to hold your school. What you choose will be influenced by what type of school you are planning to start. If you are limiting your classes to one on one, you may not need a special place to set up as home base. Consider meeting in public places, such as a coffee shop or library. But make sure you talk to someone from that location or a person who is familiar with the laws in your host country to be sure having a money-making meeting in a public location is legal and acceptable.

    If you are going to open a larger school and offer classes, you will need to decide between renting and purchasing a location. Most teachers rent as opposed to purchasing, at least at first. You might look into renting a room or rooms from a nearby school that is not language specific or check with a nearby church or other outreach center. Consider trading services with a school that needs a language teacher. Or you may decide to procure an office space, especially if you are teaching business clients or business English. Think about the natural environment for where your specific students will be using English (school, business, casual atmosphere, etc.) and try to hold your classes in a similar environment.

    No matter where you choose to set up school, keep in mind that you will need appropriate furniture and bathroom facilities. You might also need more than one room depending on how many classes you plan to offer and how much staff you intend to hire.

  2. 2

    Curriculum

    What will you teach? Again, this depends on who you are teaching and how formal you want your lessons to be.

    If you are planning on one on one lessons and you have experience teaching, your best choice is probably to choose lessons based on individual student needs. When you choose your lessons this way, you can pay particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each student, and you can tailor your material to the exact wants and needs of each student.

    If you have taught for a length of time and you feel comfortable with the process, you might want to design your own curriculum. If you do, you will probably want to plan for certain classes that you will offer such as business English writing, beginning English grammar, academic writing, business conversation, English for academic purposes, etc. You will have to decide which classes you want to advertise and teach before you put together your curriculum. You might want to do a market survey to see what classes your potential students would be most interested in taking before making final decisions on your classes.

    If you know what classes you plan to teach but do not want to take the time or don’t have the experience to design your own curriculum, you may choose to purchase an ESL curriculum. This can be anything as simple as individual text books to leveled subject matter classes. If you are considering this option, you’ll have to do your research to make sure you get the best curriculum for you.

    It is also an option to use no curriculum at all. If you are offering conversation lessons in a causal atmosphere, your students may want nothing more than to simply talk to you about what interests them. In this case, you may choose to teach certain items as they come up in conversations, but otherwise just talk about whatever your student chooses for that day.

  3. 3

    Fees

    A big part of setting up school is deciding how much to charge for classes. You’ll have to have a good plan in place before you open your doors to the public. Do yourself a favor by researching the average fees in the location you plan to teach for the type of class you plan to offer.

    You may decide to charge by the hour, particularly if you are offering lessons informally and/or you are meeting with students one on one. You’ll have to work a little extra to keep track of income for your end of year financial reports if you choose this option, however.

    You may decide to charge by the class or by the semester. Keeping records will probably be easier, but there are some drawbacks to this as well. Offering lower fees will draw students to your school, but you may not make the kind of money you want to. If you start by charging less, you’ll also have to bump up your prices after you have what you consider a good pool of customers. This is probably not going to go over well with students who chose your school for its low prices. So keep all of this in mind before you decide on your fees. You’ll also have to publish materials you can give to prospective students. And while you can easily change numbers on a website, you may not have as easy a time changing prices on printed materials.

  4. 4

    Staffing

    Once you decide what kind of classes and how many you want to teach, you will probably have a good idea of whether or not you can teach all of your class yourself. If you can, that’s great. If not, you’ll have to think about how many other teachers you will need, what qualifications you are looking for, and how you will compensate them. Then you’ll need to go about the business of recruiting, hiring, and keeping financial records. You’ll probably want to consult with an accountant in the host country in which you will be teaching to keep all your financial dealings legal and above board.

Offering your own ESL class can be a tremendously rewarding experience.

You can see the world, meet interesting people, and make a big impact on the lives of the students you teach. But before you can open your doors, there are a lot of things to think about and a good number of questions to answer. Do your planning right and your class will be a success. Just take your time to think it through before you start, and you may find you’ll never want to close your doors.

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