Private Tutoring in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Private tutoring is fairly common among established teachers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Because private lessons command the highest hourly pay of the various types of teaching jobs, it’s a great way to supplement your regular salary.
It will be up to you to negotiate your pay rate with each individual student. Though you may wish to set a standard hourly rate, it may be to your advantage to remain flexible so that you can attract students of varying means. Of course, you will need to be sensitive or discreet if your students know one another. You might think of it in terms of a sliding scale. With individual students, consider charging in the range of 200 to 300 crowns per hour, which converts to about US$13 to $20 per hour. If you work with groups of two or more, figure on lowering your hourly rates accordingly. After all, you can’t expect your group study students to pay the same rates as those who receive individual attention.
Finding private students, though, takes time and a little finesse. Unless you have an unusually effective marketing strategy, it’s difficult to attract students without some kind of personal introduction by a mutual friend or acquaintance.
Undoubtedly the best place to find private students is through your regular teaching job. Ask your students if they know anyone who would like to study privately – perhaps another family member or close friend. Though it may take a while to get a response, you’re sure to find a student or two. Once you prove your effectiveness to someone else, the word will spread.
Though freelancing on a private basis may seem attractive because of the freedom you have to schedule teaching appointments, conducting your own lessons your own way may not turn out to be as appealing as it first sounds. Students are bound to cancel lessons at the last minute on occasion. There might be times when you show up for a lesson only to find that your student is nowhere to be found. But mostly, if your student respects you, he or she will call/text you ahead of time.
One way to alleviate the kinds of problems inherent in private tutoring is to offer group lessons, where you teach two or more people in the same session. Small groups of four to five students are probably best because they are large enough to take care of the attendance problem yet not so large as to be unmanageable. If one person in the group doesn’t show up for a lesson or two, it neither inconveniences you nor dents your pocketbook. Getting a group together in the first place is no small task, though. You must multiply the persistence and energy required to recruit one private student, and then manage the group once it forms by coordinating meeting times and places.
Group lessons have advantages for your students as well. The social element built into group lessons can be used as an effective teaching tool by you, while your students don’t have to feel the same kind of pressure they might in a one-on-one situation, where the burden to perform well rests solely on their shoulders. And since you probably wouldn’t charge as much as you would for a strictly private lesson, your students won’t have to cough up as much cash per lesson, while you still make more than you would with a single student.
If you are truly ambitious, you might even team up with another native speaker, or perhaps an English-speaking Czech or Slovak person. Establishing a teaching duo might take some of the burdens off of you while enabling you to teach more people at the same time.