Times are tough. With all the talk of crisis, recession, depression and so on teachers may find themselves short of regular hours. Salaries may be frozen, or groups at the school where you work may be closed due to lack of students. Here are six suggestions on surviving the crisis with the skills you have already. They aren’t “get rich” schemes I’m afraid, but they may be of some help.
1. Get some private students. Start putting the word out that you’re looking for private students. Make posters and leave them in sports centres, bakeries, on community notice boards, near schools etc. Make these snappy, not just “Teacher offering English classes”. Think more along these lines: “In these hard times, make yourself more employable – improve your language skills”. If you have existing privates, offer them a discount if they bring a friend or find you another client.
2. Get some premium private students. By this I mean private students with more money. Get yourself some smart-looking business cards and make appointments with businesses in the area. Better yet, make a brochure outlining different courses you could give (e.g. English for receptionists/Executive 1 to 1 classes). Depending on the size of the business you’ll need to contact the human resources person. Be persistent and look the part when approaching these people (i.e. dress smart). The other avenue is to find out where the private schools are and offer to do an extra curricular English course for their students. You may need to get your working papers in order and become properly self-employed. Charge premium prices too – you will be taken more seriously if you do.
3. Offer your services as a translator. For this you obviously need to know another language, but there is often some extra money to be made doing translations. Warning: this can become mind-numbingly boring work, depending on what you have to translate. A colleague of mine translated a technical manual on refrigerator doors and almost threw himself off a roof in the process.
4. Offer your services as a proof reader. Lots of people need to have their English proofread, and with all your experience correcting students’ writing you are in an excellent position to do this more professionally. Again, make up a card or brochure stating your services and leave it at businesses, local government tourist offices, shops and universities (I once had a profitable little side venture proofreading university students’ abstracts for publication in English journals)
5. Write materials. Get in touch with local offices of ELT publishers and ask to speak to a commissioning editor. It’s easier sometimes to find these people at conferences actually. Tell them you’d be interested in writing materials and offer to do a sample. Be persistent but realistic: few get published and very few get rich off it. But every little bit helps. I’ve written more about how to get into writing here by the way.
6. Get right out of teaching. The cold, hard truth is teachers don’t make that much money. You already know this. For some, language teaching is a stop on the way to something else. Problem is, that “something else” might be a little less easy to find in these troubled times. However, you’re in touch with a lot of people (your adoring students!) and you’ve got contacts – even more so if you’ve been teaching in businesses. There’s no harm in putting out feelers if you’re getting fed up with teaching.
Right, these are my six suggestions for extra cash. Does anyone else know of good wheezes for teachers to make an extra buck (or euro or whatever)?