Como Consulting shares their extensive experience on how to find English private lessons in Spain, what to charge, useful teaching materials and how to deal with cancellations.
Private English tuition can be a necessary job: if you’re in Spain working as a teacher, chances are you’ll want to supplement your income by giving clases particulares or private English lessons in Spain.
Private English tuition runs the gamut from simple conversation practice to more complex exam preparation or business English courses. There’s also school reinforcement, homework help or just playing with little ones. And, when it comes to choosing a private teacher, native speakers are the most trusted. As veterans in the field of teaching English in Spain, here’s our guide to making private English lessons work for you.
How to get the word out: private English lessons
Word of mouth is perhaps the most trusted way to find private language classes. Tell your roommates, coworkers or even the man who makes your coffee that you’re a native speaker looking to teach private English lessons.
If you’re not drowning in private classes after the first two tries, go the more traditional route and hang up advertisements at local schools, universities and around town. Remember to check contact details, particularly your phone number and email, so that interested parties can reach you.
For those in smaller towns, your best bet is to let coworkers know you’re interested in giving classes and they will pass you on to friends and families.
Chances are that with the proper promotion and a little patience you’ll find yourself with more English tuition classes than you can handle.
What to charge for private English tuition
Talking about money is just as taboo in Spain as it is for Anglos, but tiptoeing around the issue will get you nowhere. Be polite but direct when discussing the issue with possible clients and never sell yourself short.
Standard hourly rates for one-to-one classes in cities around Andalucía are typically EUR 12–15 and in bigger cities such as Madrid or Barcelona prices can go up to EUR 20–25 per hour.
Keep in mind the type of English class when deciding what to charge. Pure conversation tends to be a bit cheaper, in the EUR 10–12 per hour range, while exam preparation classes require a certain level of knowledge and planning and garner more money, typically EUR 12–15 per hour.
You can also combine students at the same level and reduce the hourly rate but still make more bang for your buck. You might charge a class of two EUR 10 each or a class of three EUR 8 per person, per hour.
Before deciding to take on a class you should also keep transportation in mind. Consider charging less if the class is held in your own home and more if you have to travel. Additionally, working odd hours, such as at the weekends or very early or late in the day, typically means more money.
What to cover in class and where to find material
The question of materials depends largely on who you’re teaching and what they want out of the class. Be sure to ask students what their end goals are: some will want to improve oral fluency while others may need to pass an official language exam.
If you’re teaching exam prep courses, encourage your students to invest in an exam-specific book that teaches the skills tested on the exam. Work through the book with your student and complement with supplemental materials and conversation. For school-aged children, often help with homework and general reinforcement is all that’s needed.
But it’s still important to go beyond the book in your classes, whether you’re teaching children or adults. Look online for songs, videos, games and worksheets that will help solidify grammatical themes. Familiarise yourself with the most popular English teaching websites such as Cambridge English, The British Council, BusyTeacher and FloJoe.
What happens when students cancel?
Don’t be surprised when students cancel. Reasons for missing or skipping class run from the serious, such as illness, to the surreal, such as an important football match or local festival.
In order to avoid missing out on extra income, some private teachers opt to draft a contract requiring students to cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Others charge the full month upfront and reschedule cancelled classes. That being said, a certain degree of leniency is always required when teaching private English lessons.
What is an intercambio?
Young Spaniards are often looking for an intercambio, or a language exchange. This is when you and your conversation partner meet in a public place and spend half the time speaking in one language and half in the other. If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to brush up on your Spanish skills, this is it. Just know there’s no compensation for your time and native tongue.
Got any tips for other aspiring English teachers in Spain or further questions? Leave a message in the comments!