Tutoring in Poland
Taking on private students in addition to your regular teaching job in a public or private school is a means of balancing out your teaching schedule while making some extra money.
Since it’s often difficult to find enough private students to provide you with enough income, few teachers manage to make a career of teaching only private lessons. Private students are generally hard to find, particularly if you don’t speak Polish or haven’t made contacts who can introduce you to prospective students.
Probably the best place to find private students is through your regular teaching job. Undoubtedly, one of your students will know someone who’s schedule doesn’t conform to the school’s schedule of classes, so they will opt to take more flexible private lessons.
Once you become settled into your new digs in Poland, you’ll be more likely to make a go of teaching privately. It’s just hard to find enough people who can keep a regular schedule of lesson appointments. Private students are notorious for canceling their lessons at the last minute, or trying to reschedule when it’s less convenient for you. And the economy is such that finding students who have enough disposable income to pay for private language lessons is a difficult proposition. Most experienced teachers would agree with this American in Krakow:
“I’m always glad that I have my regular teaching job, because even though I’ve found a few private students to teach on the side I wouldn’t be able to count on them on a regular basis, and I wouldn’t be able to make the same amount of money that I do at my school.”
Though it’s certainly not the norm in Poland, it is possible to make private teaching the mainstay of your teaching career.
You must be both tenacious and patient because it takes time and effort to establish yourself as a private tutor. You must find a place that has a big enough population of people who have both the money and the desire to take private English lessons. One way to assure a higher level of attendance when teaching privately is to conduct group lessons. If you can find upwards of three or four people to teach simultaneously, you usually can count on at least a few people showing up to every lesson. When you teach a group, you don’t have to charge as much as you would on an individual basis, which alleviates some of the financial burden on your students.
Though some people prefer to learn one-on-one, language lessons are well-suited to groups because language is by its very nature social. So put out the word among all your students, friends, and other contacts that you are interested in setting up a few weekly group lesson sessions. You might even find another expat friend to help you, which would take some of the burden off of you and enable you to teach more people at the same time.
For one-on-one tutoring in Poland, you should be able to get between 15 and 20 zloty per hour, which roughs out to between US$6 and $8 per hour. You have the choice of setting a standard hourly price for your services, or setting up something along the lines of a sliding scale. If you think that you want to attract enough students to create a small business for yourself, consider what a little flexibility might do for getting more students interested in your services. After all, not everyone is rich enough to pay you at the upper end of the wage range.