Difference between revisions of "School v freelance"

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A comparison of '''School''' and '''Freelance''' teaching.
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There are two main ways of working as an [[English]] [[teacher]]: working in a [[school]] and working [[freelance]].  The difference between them is really the difference between having security and a relatively low salary; and having little security and a relatively high high salary.  (Although, in some cases the "security" of working for a school may be a little illusory as our article [[cowboy outfit]] mentions.)
 +
 
 +
Some teachers recommend teaching a mixture of school and freelance classes so as to obtain the "best of both worlds"; others will always opt for security and yet others for freelance freedom. It is accepted that, for various reasons, many teachers may have no choice in the matter; but for those who are in a position to make an informed choice this article attempts to compare the two possibilities. 
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 +
<!-- To create a new section use the format:
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==Subhead==
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{{sbs|
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School comment
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reelance comment
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}}
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{{Sbs-title|School|Freelance}}
 
{{Sbs-title|School|Freelance}}
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===Preamble===
 
===Preamble===
{{sbs|Most [[teachers]] will, at some time or another, [[teach]] in some sort of '''language school'''.  The other usual way of teaching is as a [[freelance teacher]]<!--Wikilink left in for now-->.
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{{sbs|
  
In many ways working for a school has advantages especially for those who are new to the profession - but it also has its downsides and this article tries to weigh up the pros and cons.
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Most [[teachers]] will, at some time or another, [[teach]] in some sort of '''language school'''The other usual way of teaching is as a [[freelance teacher]]
Somewhat ironically, the purpose of most language schools is not to teach languagesThis often comes as a surprise to people new to the profession, but many of the actions of language schools can only be fully understood once this point has been grasped.
 
  
The purpose of most language schools is, naturally enough, to '''make money''' - and most of their activities are geared towards this primary goal.  Teachers and their salaries are a necessary evil, and schools will do all they can to employ them minimum number of staff at the minimum possible salary.  This may mean regularly changing teachers if the "old hands" start to realise their worth and demand more money.  It also explains why some schools are keen on their students learning via computers.  Computers don't need to be paid, take time off sick, get pregnant or need holidays.  Whether they are the best solution for students is another matter. |Working as a '''freelance teacher''' is the obvious alternative to working in a [[school]]<!--Wikilink left in for now-->.  This article explores the positive and negative sides for [[teachers]] working freelance.  It should be clear that this way of working is not for the faint-hearted, and is probably not the best course for inexperienced teachers.  Nevertheless, for those who make a go of it, it can be a highly rewarding venture both in financial and emotional terms.
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In many ways working for a school has advantages, especially for those who are new to the profession.
If you do not have an acceptable command of the native language then this is a difficult route to follow.}}
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<!--==Subhead==
+
|
{{sbs|School|Freelance}}-->
+
 
 +
Working as a '''freelance teacher''' is the obvious alternative to working in a [[school]]
 +
 
 +
It should be clear that this way of working is not for the faint-hearted, and is probably not the best course for inexperienced teachers.  Nevertheless, for those who make a go of it, it can be a highly rewarding venture both in financial and emotional terms.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Income===
 
===Income===
 
{{sbs|
 
{{sbs|
Your monthly/weekly salary should be guaranteed. Emphasis is on the "should" here, are there are [[Teflblacklist | many horror stories]] of teachers having to fight for their pay. So try to check out a school beforehand.<br />
+
 
In any event, you won't get rich working for a language school.|If you chose the market segment properly then your potential hourly rate could be many times greater than the hourly rate paid by a school.  
+
Your monthly/weekly salary should be guaranteed. Emphasis is on the "should" here, as there are [[Teflblacklist | many horror stories]] of teachers having to fight for their pay. So try to check out a school beforehand.
Your income will depend on the number of students you are able to find, your ability/reputation as a teacher, and local competition; it will '''not''' be guaranteed. You <s>might</s> ''will almost certainly'' find initially that you need savings or a "fall back" source of income. In some cases, for instance working in a bar or "temping" in a business, this income source might enable you to "network" for clients}}
+
 
 +
In any event, you won't get rich working for a language school.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
If you chose the market segment properly then your potential hourly rate could be many times greater than the hourly rate paid by a school.  
 +
 
 +
Your income will depend on the number of students you are able to find, your ability/reputation as a teacher, local competition and the sector you are targeting; it will '''not''' be guaranteed. If you are starting from scratch you might initially find that you need savings or a "fall back" source of income most probably from a school.  
 +
 
 +
Some teachers like to charge private students in advance to reduce students' tendency to cancel classes.
 +
 
 +
}}
 +
 
 
===Schedule===
 
===Schedule===
{{sbs|Many schools will give you a "bookend Schedule" - a schedule where you have to work from seven to ten in the morning, and then seven to ten in the evening.  While at first it may seem pleasant to have your afternoons free, this type of schedule is very trying. It is impossible to have any sort of social life in the evening and get enough sleep.|In theory you should be able to create your own schedule, although in practice you will also be constrained by the needs of your students. If your classes are mostly in businesses then you can expect to have classes early in the morning, at lunchtime and after work.  The definition of these time periods will depend on the society.
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
Many schools will give you a "bookend Schedule" - a schedule where you have to work from seven to ten in the morning, and then seven to ten in the evening.  While at first it may seem pleasant to have your afternoons free, this type of schedule is very tiring.
 +
 
 +
Such a schedule may make it difficult for you to have a social life in the evening and get enough sleep.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
In theory you should be able to create your own schedule, although in practice you will also be constrained by the needs of your students. If your classes are mostly in businesses then you can expect to have requests for classes early in the morning, at lunchtime and after work.  The definition of these time periods will depend on the society. However once you have established yourself and you have a sufficient client base you may be able to arrange things to your liking.
 +
 
 +
If your clients are mostly private individuals then things may change somewhat and evening or weekend work may be on the cards.
 +
 
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
===Preparation and correction time===
 +
{{sbs|
  
If your clients are mostly private individuals then things change somewhat and evening or weekend work is more likely.}}
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If you are very lucky the school will pay your lesson [[preparation time]] and time spent correcting [[homework]]. The probability is that they won't however and you should check this out beforehand.
 +
 
 +
If this work is unpaid teachers can come to resent this imposition on their time.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
If you are working for yourself you can decide how much time and effort you wish to invest in these activities. This will depend very much on the objective of your classes, the [[methodology]] chosen, the motivation of your students, your experience etc. Remember however that you are selling something of value to the student so you will want to be seen to be taking the lessons as seriously as your student.  Unless you are very skilled at [[dogme]], turning up empty-handed day after day to talk about the weather is probably not a good way to keep students.
 +
 
 +
If you have asked you student to produce some written work then you can suggest that you correct it together.  This is more useful for the student and means you don't lose time.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Students===
 
===Students===
{{sbs|You won't have to find students but you have no control over the selection of the students you have to teach. If you don't like them or they don't like you there is not a lot you can do about it. |In theory you will only need to teach [[students]] you want to [[teach]], although if there is a shortage of students your choices may not be quite so free. You will possibly have to learn a  new skill: [[School_v_freelance#marketing|marketing]]. You will need to go out and find students - at least initially.  It may take some time to build up a good clientèle.}}
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{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
Although you won't have to find students you'll have no control over the selection of the students you have to teach. If you don't like them or they don't like you there is not a lot you can do about it.  
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
In theory you will only need to teach [[students]] you want to [[teach]] - although if there is a shortage of students, or you land a company contract,  your choices may not be quite so free. See: [[#Marketing|marketing]].
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Holidays and sickness===
 
===Holidays and sickness===
{{sbs|The school should give you paid holidays and sick leave. Check your contract thoroughly before commencing employment; see [[Teflblacklist | here]].|You will not be paid for these. Look at insurance.}}
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{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
The school should give you paid holidays and sick leave. Check your contract thoroughly before commencing employment; see [[Teflblacklist | here]]. If you don't speak the local language then have the contract reviewed by somebody who does.  It is by no means unusual for schools to offer contracts to inexperienced teachers at ludicrously low rates of pay.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
You will not be paid for these. Sickness insurance is one option but it tends to be expensive.  You will probably find that you have less income during Christmas and Easter (depending on the culture) and perhaps during the summer months.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Motivation===
 
===Motivation===
{{sbs|School|Students who are paying their own money for individual classes will usually be highly [[motivation | motivated]].  On the other hand they are also likely be highly demanding.}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
Students will vary from highly motivated adults who are a joy to teach to utterly disinterested teenagers who would rather be somewhere else.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
Students who are paying their own money for individual classes will usually be highly [[motivation|motivated]].  On the other hand they are also likely be highly demanding.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Accountability===
 
===Accountability===
{{sbs|School|You will be accountable to nobody but your students for the quality or content of your [[classes]].  Naturally, this also means that you had better give good classes as your students will be free to vote with their feet whenever they like.}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
Depending on the school you may be left to do your own thing or have a [[DOS]] looking over your shoulder every moment.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
You will be accountable to nobody but your students for the quality or content of your [[classes]].  Naturally, this also means that you had better give good classes as your students will be free to vote with their feet whenever they like.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Coursebook===
 
===Coursebook===
{{sbs|You will probably have little control over the coursebook chosen by the school. You may love it or hate it, but you (probably) won't be able to change it. |You will be able to decide whether or not to use a [[coursebook]]. At first, some students - especially if it's their first experience with a class outside of a language school - may feel uncomfortable about not having the "support" of a coursebook should you decide not to use one. This is likely to change as they come to realize the benefits of a more personalized approach to the learning process.}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
You will probably have little control over the coursebook chosen by the school. You may love it or hate it, but you (probably) won't be able to change it.  
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
You will be able to decide whether or not to use a [[coursebook]]. If you decide not to use one then some students may initially feel uncomfortable about not having the "support" of a coursebook - especially if it's their first experience with a class outside of a language school. This is likely to change as they come to realize the benefits of a more personalized approach to the learning process.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Cancellations===
 
===Cancellations===
{{sbs|School|You will need to consider how to deal with cancellations.  If your students have paid in advance than you may wish to be pretty ruthless about this, but on the other hand you will also want to keep the student and your reputation.
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
This is not an issue - though if students stop coming to your classes the school may wonder about your quality as a teacher.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
Cancellations with private students can be the bane of a freelancer's life and you will need to consider how to deal with them.  If your students have paid in advance than you may wish to be pretty ruthless about this, but on the other hand you will also want to keep the student and your reputation.
  
 
Typically teachers use a sliding system along the lines of:
 
Typically teachers use a sliding system along the lines of:
Line 50: Line 151:
 
*Full charge for a class cancelled within 24 hours.
 
*Full charge for a class cancelled within 24 hours.
  
(Times are illustrative only.)}}
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(Times are illustrative only.)
  
 +
}}
  
 +
===Travelling===
 +
{{sbs|
 +
 +
While most of your classes will probably be at the school itself you may also be asked to give some in-company classes.  Find out if the school will pay your travelling time - very often it won't.
 +
 +
|
 +
 +
You may need to budget for travelling expenses and travelling time as you may have to spend a considerable period of time travelling between classes. You might be able to adjust individual fees to allow for travel distance.<br/>If you find you need a car you should give some thought to contingencies in case of breakdowns.
  
===Travelling===
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}}
{{sbs|School|You may need to budget for travelling expenses and travelling time. You may have to spend a considerable period of time travelling between classes, although the same thing may sometimes happen if you are sent to work offsite by a school. You might be able to adjust individual fees to allow for travel distance.<br/>If you are reliant on your own vehicle, make sure that you have a replacement in the event of accident or breakdown.}}
 
  
 
===Materials and equipment===
 
===Materials and equipment===
{{sbs|School|Unless you intend to follow a coursebook you will have to create your own [[Create a topical class | topical classes]], [[materials]], [[handouts]], [[listening]]s, etc. You may wish to obtain a PC and encourage your students to use one as well. For example students can also use memory sticks to record "homework" on if they are coming to you or are in a business environment. (You could even use the [[Other_ways_of_teaching#Teaching_over_the_internet|internet]] to conduct lessons}}
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{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
These should be supplied by the school. However, don't necessarily expect this to happen as some schools do not carry sufficient supplies to run a successful lesson. In consequence you might with to prepare on this assumption.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
Unless you intend to follow a coursebook you will have to create your own [[Create a topical class|topical classes]], [[materials]], [[handouts]], [[listening]]s, etc. You may wish to obtain a PC and encourage your students to use one as well. For example students can also use memory sticks to record "homework" on if they are coming to you or are in a business environment. (You could even use the [[Other_ways_of_teaching#Teaching_over_the_internet|internet]] to conduct lessons)
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Liability insurance===
 
===Liability insurance===
{{sbs|School|If you are conducting lessons in your own premises, you will probably need liability insurance of some kind depending on local regulations.}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
This is the school's problem.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
If you are conducting lessons in your own premises, you will probably need liability insurance of some kind - though this will depend on local regulations.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Networking===
 
===Networking===
{{sbs|Working for a school should give you the opportunity to make contact with other teachers of your nationality, start some networking and exchange opinions and class ideas in a social setting. If you are fortunate one of the "old hands" will be prepared to show you the ropes if you are a new teacher. |Your opportunities for social contact with other teachers may be reduced, as will the ongoing exchange of material and ideas. Partial solution: sign up with Teflpedia!}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
Working for a school should give you the opportunity to make contact with other English teachers, start some [[networking]] and exchange opinions and class ideas in a social setting. If you are fortunate one of the "old hands" will be prepared to show you the ropes if you are a new teacher.  
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
Your opportunities for social contact with other teachers may be reduced, as will the ongoing exchange of material and ideas. Partial solution: sign up with Teflpedia!
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Administration===
 
===Administration===
{{sbs|School|You will be responsible for things like your own invoicing and tax records.}}
+
{{sbs|
 +
 
 +
The school [[Teflblacklist |should]] ensure that appropriate regulations are complied with and that tax deductions, insurances, pension contributions etc. are made.
 +
 
 +
|
 +
 
 +
You will be responsible for things like your own invoicing and tax records. Keep records of '''all''' income and expenditure no matter how trivial it might seem. If you do not have at least a little experience at accounting and administration this may cause a problem.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
 
===Location of classes===
 
===Location of classes===
{{sbs|School|
+
{{sbs|
#Probably the best arrangement is to manage to obtain a contract with one or more local companies.  This has many advantages:
 
#*Your payments should be guaranteed.
 
#*Your schedule will be more predictable.
 
#*You may have the possibility of gaining more clients at the same company.
 
#*You will probably have to present a formal invoice to the company and receive payment through a bank account.  This is convenient as it clearly shows up as income from your business as opposed to the cash-in-hand from private students.   
 
#:Although it is tempting to work all the time for one company you run the risk of losing your entire client base if you lose that one client.
 
#:Your employment will be dependant on the company. It is likely that external services such as yours will be among the first to go in the event of business downturn or restructuring. In addition you might run out of pupils at the company.
 
#The next best solution is to have private students come to you.  Select a separate room in your house and set it up as a classroom. Obviously this will only really work if your house is relatively close to your students as even the smallest failure of motivation on the part of your students will start to lead to cancellations.
 
#Finally you can visit your clients' houses. This can work, but in such a case you should try to target a relativity small geographical area to reduce your travelling time or schedule areas by time so that your travelling time and distance between clients is minimised.
 
#If you have more than one client in a particular area, it might be possible to [[Other_ways_of_teaching#Creating_your_own_group_classes|combine their lessons to one time and location]], amending charging accordingly.}}
 
  
===Marketing===
+
Probably at the school, but you could be sent to company training locations as well.
{{sbs|School|If you are a good teacher your reputation should spread by word of mouth. You may, however, need some way to start things off.
+
 
 +
|
  
Opinions vary over whether you should go for niche marketing and aim for a particular group, or go for the shotgun approach and claim that you are a specialist in "everything"If you decide to be more targeted, the method of marketing you use will depend on that market. For instance, if you are trying to "sell" yourself as somebody specialising in giving expensive classes to executives, your marketing literature will reflect this.
+
You will need to make your own arrangementsOur article [[freelance]] has more information.
  
Try to maintain a list of satisfied past and present pupils who will agree to give you a ''(good)'' reference. Similarly, if possible and appropriate, keep in touch with ex pupils both to use as examples and to promote your teaching.}}
+
}}
  
===Your language ability===
+
===Marketing===
{{sbs|Not knowing the local language is no big impediment if you are working in a school as the arrangements are made by the school authorities.  Indeed, some schools maintain that they prefer their native English teachers not to know the local language as this means that they are obliged to use [[total immersion]].|Unless you are confident in your ability to negotiate and explain things in the native language (or have somebody to do it for you) then you will have a lot of problems going down this route.}}
+
{{sbs|
  
===Charging===
+
Not really relevant if you work in a school.
{{sbs|School|The price you charge for your classes will vary depending on the country in which you are working, the amount and nature of the competition (if any) and the sector you are targeting.
 
  
Some teachers like to charge private students in advance to reduce students' tendency to cancel classes. <!--<sarcasm> You don't say!</sarcasm>-->}}
+
|
  
 +
You will have to learn a  new skill: marketing. Our article [[Freelance marketing]] has more information.
  
 +
}}
  
 +
===Your language ability===
 +
{{sbs|
  
 +
Not knowing the local language is no big impediment if you are working in a school as the arrangements are made by the school authorities.  Indeed, some schools maintain that they prefer their native English teachers not to know the local language as this means that they are obliged to use [[total immersion]].
  
SCHOOL
+
|
.
 
  
 +
Unless you are confident in your ability to negotiate and explain things in the native language (or have somebody to do it for you) then you will have some problems working freelance.
  
 +
}}
  
===Experience===
+
===Gaining experience===
 +
{{sbs|
  
 
If you are new to the profession then working in a school should give you a lot of valuable experience of teaching a wide range of abilities, group sizes and ages.  You may also get an opportunity to practice teaching English for specialised purposes.
 
If you are new to the profession then working in a school should give you a lot of valuable experience of teaching a wide range of abilities, group sizes and ages.  You may also get an opportunity to practice teaching English for specialised purposes.
  
===Administration===
+
|
 +
 
 +
While some freelance teachers start off [[Backpacker|without previous experience, or even training]], it might be better to gain some experience before going it alone.
 +
 
 +
}}
  
The school should ensure that appropriate tax deductions are made.
+
==See also==
 +
*[[One-to-one]]
 +
*[[Teaching portfolio]]
  
==Negative factors==
 
  
These are the negative factors of working for a school.
+
[[Category:Advice for new teachers]]
 +
[[Category:Language schools]]
 +
[[Category:Freelance]]

Latest revision as of 02:54, 19 January 2019


There are two main ways of working as an English teacher: working in a school and working freelance. The difference between them is really the difference between having security and a relatively low salary; and having little security and a relatively high high salary. (Although, in some cases the "security" of working for a school may be a little illusory as our article cowboy outfit mentions.)

Some teachers recommend teaching a mixture of school and freelance classes so as to obtain the "best of both worlds"; others will always opt for security and yet others for freelance freedom. It is accepted that, for various reasons, many teachers may have no choice in the matter; but for those who are in a position to make an informed choice this article attempts to compare the two possibilities.


School

Freelance

Preamble[edit]

Most teachers will, at some time or another, teach in some sort of language school. The other usual way of teaching is as a freelance teacher

In many ways working for a school has advantages, especially for those who are new to the profession.


Working as a freelance teacher is the obvious alternative to working in a school

It should be clear that this way of working is not for the faint-hearted, and is probably not the best course for inexperienced teachers. Nevertheless, for those who make a go of it, it can be a highly rewarding venture both in financial and emotional terms.


Income[edit]

Your monthly/weekly salary should be guaranteed. Emphasis is on the "should" here, as there are many horror stories of teachers having to fight for their pay. So try to check out a school beforehand.

In any event, you won't get rich working for a language school.


If you chose the market segment properly then your potential hourly rate could be many times greater than the hourly rate paid by a school.

Your income will depend on the number of students you are able to find, your ability/reputation as a teacher, local competition and the sector you are targeting; it will not be guaranteed. If you are starting from scratch you might initially find that you need savings or a "fall back" source of income most probably from a school.

Some teachers like to charge private students in advance to reduce students' tendency to cancel classes.


Schedule[edit]

Many schools will give you a "bookend Schedule" - a schedule where you have to work from seven to ten in the morning, and then seven to ten in the evening. While at first it may seem pleasant to have your afternoons free, this type of schedule is very tiring.

Such a schedule may make it difficult for you to have a social life in the evening and get enough sleep.


In theory you should be able to create your own schedule, although in practice you will also be constrained by the needs of your students. If your classes are mostly in businesses then you can expect to have requests for classes early in the morning, at lunchtime and after work. The definition of these time periods will depend on the society. However once you have established yourself and you have a sufficient client base you may be able to arrange things to your liking.

If your clients are mostly private individuals then things may change somewhat and evening or weekend work may be on the cards.


Preparation and correction time[edit]

If you are very lucky the school will pay your lesson preparation time and time spent correcting homework. The probability is that they won't however and you should check this out beforehand.

If this work is unpaid teachers can come to resent this imposition on their time.


If you are working for yourself you can decide how much time and effort you wish to invest in these activities. This will depend very much on the objective of your classes, the methodology chosen, the motivation of your students, your experience etc. Remember however that you are selling something of value to the student so you will want to be seen to be taking the lessons as seriously as your student. Unless you are very skilled at dogme, turning up empty-handed day after day to talk about the weather is probably not a good way to keep students.

If you have asked you student to produce some written work then you can suggest that you correct it together. This is more useful for the student and means you don't lose time.


Students[edit]

Although you won't have to find students you'll have no control over the selection of the students you have to teach. If you don't like them or they don't like you there is not a lot you can do about it.


In theory you will only need to teach students you want to teach - although if there is a shortage of students, or you land a company contract, your choices may not be quite so free. See: marketing.


Holidays and sickness[edit]

The school should give you paid holidays and sick leave. Check your contract thoroughly before commencing employment; see here. If you don't speak the local language then have the contract reviewed by somebody who does. It is by no means unusual for schools to offer contracts to inexperienced teachers at ludicrously low rates of pay.


You will not be paid for these. Sickness insurance is one option but it tends to be expensive. You will probably find that you have less income during Christmas and Easter (depending on the culture) and perhaps during the summer months.


Motivation[edit]

Students will vary from highly motivated adults who are a joy to teach to utterly disinterested teenagers who would rather be somewhere else.


Students who are paying their own money for individual classes will usually be highly motivated. On the other hand they are also likely be highly demanding.


Accountability[edit]

Depending on the school you may be left to do your own thing or have a DOS looking over your shoulder every moment.


You will be accountable to nobody but your students for the quality or content of your classes. Naturally, this also means that you had better give good classes as your students will be free to vote with their feet whenever they like.


Coursebook[edit]

You will probably have little control over the coursebook chosen by the school. You may love it or hate it, but you (probably) won't be able to change it.


You will be able to decide whether or not to use a coursebook. If you decide not to use one then some students may initially feel uncomfortable about not having the "support" of a coursebook - especially if it's their first experience with a class outside of a language school. This is likely to change as they come to realize the benefits of a more personalized approach to the learning process.


Cancellations[edit]

This is not an issue - though if students stop coming to your classes the school may wonder about your quality as a teacher.


Cancellations with private students can be the bane of a freelancer's life and you will need to consider how to deal with them. If your students have paid in advance than you may wish to be pretty ruthless about this, but on the other hand you will also want to keep the student and your reputation.

Typically teachers use a sliding system along the lines of:

  • No charge for a class cancelled over 48 hours in advance.
  • 50% charge for a class cancelled 24-48 hours in advance.
  • Full charge for a class cancelled within 24 hours.

(Times are illustrative only.)


Travelling[edit]

While most of your classes will probably be at the school itself you may also be asked to give some in-company classes. Find out if the school will pay your travelling time - very often it won't.


You may need to budget for travelling expenses and travelling time as you may have to spend a considerable period of time travelling between classes. You might be able to adjust individual fees to allow for travel distance.
If you find you need a car you should give some thought to contingencies in case of breakdowns.


Materials and equipment[edit]

These should be supplied by the school. However, don't necessarily expect this to happen as some schools do not carry sufficient supplies to run a successful lesson. In consequence you might with to prepare on this assumption.


Unless you intend to follow a coursebook you will have to create your own topical classes, materials, handouts, listenings, etc. You may wish to obtain a PC and encourage your students to use one as well. For example students can also use memory sticks to record "homework" on if they are coming to you or are in a business environment. (You could even use the internet to conduct lessons)


Liability insurance[edit]

This is the school's problem.


If you are conducting lessons in your own premises, you will probably need liability insurance of some kind - though this will depend on local regulations.


Networking[edit]

Working for a school should give you the opportunity to make contact with other English teachers, start some networking and exchange opinions and class ideas in a social setting. If you are fortunate one of the "old hands" will be prepared to show you the ropes if you are a new teacher.


Your opportunities for social contact with other teachers may be reduced, as will the ongoing exchange of material and ideas. Partial solution: sign up with Teflpedia!


Administration[edit]

The school should ensure that appropriate regulations are complied with and that tax deductions, insurances, pension contributions etc. are made.


You will be responsible for things like your own invoicing and tax records. Keep records of all income and expenditure no matter how trivial it might seem. If you do not have at least a little experience at accounting and administration this may cause a problem.


Location of classes[edit]

Probably at the school, but you could be sent to company training locations as well.


You will need to make your own arrangements. Our article freelance has more information.


Marketing[edit]

Not really relevant if you work in a school.


You will have to learn a new skill: marketing. Our article Freelance marketing has more information.


Your language ability[edit]

Not knowing the local language is no big impediment if you are working in a school as the arrangements are made by the school authorities. Indeed, some schools maintain that they prefer their native English teachers not to know the local language as this means that they are obliged to use total immersion.


Unless you are confident in your ability to negotiate and explain things in the native language (or have somebody to do it for you) then you will have some problems working freelance.


Gaining experience[edit]

If you are new to the profession then working in a school should give you a lot of valuable experience of teaching a wide range of abilities, group sizes and ages. You may also get an opportunity to practice teaching English for specialised purposes.


While some freelance teachers start off without previous experience, or even training, it might be better to gain some experience before going it alone.


See also[edit]