Here are my tips to make more money as an ESL teacher. some of them are geared towards teaching in Prague specifically, but many of the tips can be applied anywhere.
1. Get Good: Being a good teacher is the first thing you need to do. The better you get in the classroom, the more likely schools are going to give you more classes, pay you more and give you better clients. Students will recommend you more and approach you more for private lessons for themselves or for their friends/company. Try to improve on your skills daily. If you reach a wall, ask someone to observe you or video your lesson and review it. Also, ask to observe some good teachers and learn from them.
2. Ask for a Raise: Czech’s hate giving out more money. That’s just the way they are. No one is going to give you a raise, you’ll have to ask for it. If your students are happy and your classes are filling up, ask for a raise after about 4 months of teaching.
3. Get on a Good Schedule: Traveling all over the city for classes does nothing except eat out of the potential time for you to earn money. Try and block your classes so that you’re generally teaching at the same place and one after the other. It can be exhausting at first to teach back to back to back lessons, but traveling all over the city or having hours of breaks between lessons is way worse.
4. Get Privates: Easier said than done, but still relatively easy to do. Being good helps, marketing yourself helps more. We’ll talk about tips for this below
5. Create a Business: Go the extra mile to look professional. Create a blog, a business card and some basic promotional materials. The blog is free via WordPress or Blogspot and can be basic. Just have some information on yourself, your rates, some reviews, and your contact information. If you can add pictures, then that’s great. All of this can be done in a matter of a few hours. The business card will cost some money, but shouldn’t be more than 200-600 CZK to create and print. Likewise, a couple of flyers that you can post up around the city won’t cost much either.
6. Market Yourself: Now that you have a blog and some other materials, use them. Post your blog on message boards and classified sections in various online resources. The blog can be in English, but if you can add some basic Czech to the listings, that will probably help. Do this all of the time. The more people see your name and your services, the more likely they will remember it and recommend it to their English learning friends. Hand out your business card to everyone you meet and post a flyers around the city in appropriate places.
7. Consolidate Privates: A trick that I used to do was put two private students of the same level for a small group class. If you are charging around 300 CZK per private student, you can probably charge 400 CZK for pairs. If you have 3 students, charge 500 CZK…etc. This is a very easy way to maximize your hourly rate.
8. Get a Zivno: This is a must. A Zivnostensky not only allows you to work at multiple schools with ease, but also for companies directly. Teaching directly for a company can double what you’d normally be paid at a language school. I use Easy Visa S.R.O http://easyvisasro.com/
9. Contact Businesses Directly: So few teachers do this, but the ones that do often are very successful. Contact all types of businesses and promote yourself to them. You’ll need a Zivno to be able to do this legally though.
10. Get Reviews: Reviews and referrals are more important than qualifications and experience when it comes to what students look for. Try to get your current students to write a review for you that you can then post up on your blog. Encourage your current students to mention you to any friends they might have. Maybe one of your students works for a company that is looking for an English teacher.
11. Get a Professional Space: Teaching in a coffee shop or your apartment might work well in the beginning, but if you can find some kind of professional space you’ll be in better shape. If you can rent a room in an office for a few hours a day to do your classes, that might help a lot.
12. Get More Training: If you don’t have any qualifications, get them. Also think of add on certificates to help you out with specialization.
13. Specialize: Cambridge Exams and Business English are usually the most common types of specialization. If you are unfamiliar with the Cambridge exams, research them. The tests, if you know what you’re doing, are actually pretty easy to pass. If you can market yourself as a specialist, and back it up with results, you’ll be in great shape.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.