One of the most common (and easily fixable) problems with TEFL Teachers after finishing their TEFL Courses is disposable income. When students complete their TEFL Certification at TE Madrid and start working, they’ll want to be able to enjoy the fruits of the momentous decision they made when they moved to Spain. So, they’ve completed the course, which entitled them to the Student Visa that gave them the right to live and work in Spain, but income after tax and social security means that they won’t be able to do too much after the fact, so what do they do? Naturally, they will want to look for private students. Is that something that is a challenge onto itself? Like finding any job, there are hurdles. Another thing to remember is also, like finding any job, there are resources. There are simple ways to finding those private students, and building the kind of income that enables English Teachers in Spain to go on the adventure that they envisioned for themselves.
Now, these are some of the ways that resulted in me finding Private Classes as an English Teacher living in Madrid. I will say that what follows is an account of how I got the students I’m working with to this day. I thought it would be difficult, but then I thought about the kind of people who need Private English Classes. There are professionals who work for companies that are increasingly exposed to the English-speaking world (Tourism, Business, Aviation, the Public Sector, etc), there are parents who want their children to get more practice after school, and (sometimes) people who are motivated and enjoy the language enough to want to continue working and improving on the skills they’ve already learned. The demand is endless in Spain, so I will touch on the few that got me the results I needed.
Network with your fellow TEFL Teachers in Madrid
Your first day at University is also the first day you embark on your chosen career path. It is no different when you take that TEFL Course in Spain. You’re in a classroom with a couple of other chosen candidates, and they want to find a job as much as you do. Work closely with them. Get their contact information. Demonstrate your talent and your willingness to grow, and you’ll find allies when you’re out there looking for a job. How, you might ask? One of the most common scenarios that I found when I was looking for Private Students was that teachers I knew were suddenly unable to continue working due to time constraints, or perhaps they were moving on to another job in another city (or even another country, for that matter!). What would they do in that situation? What would you do? It wouldn’t be uncommon to put out an ad looking for a replacement, but if you were someone who that person already knew, you may be the teacher that they would consider first. You’re already on the radar of the teacher community in Madrid, and you’re available. They knew you from the TEFL Course, and they know you now. You can solve their problem for them. They may tell you about the opportunity first before they go anywhere else. When I started looking for work, the group that I was referred to was Auxiliares de Conversacion en MADRID. Teachers, entrepreneurs who started out as teachers, and a good portion of the expat community in Madrid connect and communicate with each other, give each other advice, as well as the heads-up on available apartments, useful things that are for sale, and even whether or not a student is available for Private English Classes.
Have a good, professional relationship with the purveyors of your TEFL Course
This is the first point of contact that you have with your change of career, so it would naturally follow that you should demonstrate professionalism and a friendly attitude before, during, and after your course. They know TEFL Academies, they receive students and teachers on a daily basis. They’ve seen you become an effective TEFL Teacher. If they also see someone who’s proactive and persistent, they may also inform you if an individual student wants private instruction. Be friendly and courteous to the people who work at your TEFL Academy. Just like the students you attended your course with, these people know you personally. They not only know you as a professional. They also know you as an individual. You want to present yourself as a dedicated professional, as someone who is knowledgeable of the service that you’re providing, but also someone who is approachable and easy to talk to. This is how you become indispensable in the Teaching Community.
Be Proactive – Make yourself known to TEFL Academies in Madrid
Yes, this does mean printing out your resume. It also means sending a lot of e-mails. Guess what? It works. Branching out, considering more than one possible way to getting that important call for a private student is also a very effective way to ultimately getting that student. Remember, the staff at TEFL Academies in Madrid will likely know the students they can put you in touch with. Another thing to remember is that you’re more likely to get a call back if you send out your C.V. fifty times than you would if you only send it out ten times. Keep looking. Contact TEFL academies, and getting e-mail addresses means that you will put yourself in a position where you will get that meeting time. More C.V.s means more meetings. More meetings mean more students. More students mean greater exposure and a better professional reputation with Madrid’s English Teaching Community. Believe it or not. There is always a need for good teachers in Madrid, and we can definitely use all the help that we can get. Put yourself out there, and don’t give up.
Create a profile on a website for TEFL Teachers
Once you’ve exhausted your interpersonal options, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a Teacher Profile when looking for Private English Students. The most popular of these websites is Tus Clases Particulares. They are seen by much of the community, and they’re a very good way to introduce yourself to the people who need your help. One thing you should be aware of is the fact that this website is in Spanish, so if you want to create a good Teacher Profile, it would be a good idea to have it written in Spanish. If you’re good at Spanish, go for it. If you have a friend who can help you translate, that will also work. When you initially put out your profile, it’s a good idea to start at the base rate for conversation. As time goes on, and you develop your presence and reputation as an effective TEFL Teacher abroad, you can adjust your rate accordingly. Perhaps set a certain rate for conversation, another for grammar, and another for exam preparation. Another good website to consider is LingoBongo. There are new posts for Private English Students, and work at TEFL Academies put up every single day. Getting in contact with the individuals and small businesses through this website has proven helpful if I ever needed to fill my schedule.
Word-of-mouth by a TEFL Student
Okay. Now this can only happen after you’ve taught a student for a good period of time, but if your methods and classes bring results, your TEFL student will do all the work for you. In fact, they will let you know that your contact information was given to a friend of theirs who really needs your help. Why they need your help? It could be a test or an interview that they have to prepare for. It could be that they’re going to the United States or Canada, and want to work on their conversational skills. Whatever the case may be, your hard work has paid off. You have a track record, and you’re getting positive feedback from the people who live in the city. It won’t stop there if you keep doing the job that you’ve worked hard to do.
Let’s go over it again. What do you need to do? Once you complete that TEFL Course, get the contract that you’ll certainly need. Private English Students, while certainly effective in bringing in disposable income, shouldn’t be everything. If you plan on staying in Spain long-term, having that contract is also advantageous. It puts you on the Spanish Government’s radar, and further legitimizes you. Also, don’t take on too many students. Teaching English can be a fun job, but it’s still a job. It can be very stressful, and that’s not why we decided to come out here in the first place. Two or three private students per day is more than what you’ll need to get by. It also ensures that you won’t spend too much time preparing classes and working. We came out here to experience something different, and the process of filling your schedule with students is the opportunity you have to create that balance between work and life.