Working in Japan
Jane from GaijinOK - 06-29-2023
6 min read
Ultimate Guide to Achieving Success with Private English Instruction
In the world of private English instruction, being prepared is key to success. From utilizing textbooks effectively to understanding your teaching environment, there are several factors to consider. Additionally, setting boundaries, managing time effectively, and allocating a budget can contribute to a thriving teaching practice. Embracing technology can also enhance student engagement and facilitate active learning. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your private English lessons are a triumph. Let's explore these essential tips for achieving success in private English instruction.
The chance to instruct a private lesson can arise unexpectedly. Educating high-school students for the Eiken tests or businessmen and women with overseas customers can be daunting. A major difference between teaching a large group and a one-on-one private lesson is that the instructor is responsible for all the pair work!
1. Utilize textbooks as a starting point, but don't be constrained by them.
Some instructors who work independently appear to be hesitant to make use of textbooks, as if relying on them would be a sign of their lack of resourcefulness in constructing their courses. Nevertheless, textbooks can be beneficial as they shorten the amount of preparation required and offer a framework for the lesson. The issue with books, though, is that numerous textbooks are designed to be taught with minimal teacher interaction.
Rather than relying solely on the text, books can serve as a foundation to which to incorporate additional activities, such as free-talk, and materials concerning the same subject. Even the most mundane of matters can be made more intriguing by including supplementary materials and activities related to current events.
2. Understand the situation you are in.
When I initially began teaching privately, I used to sit in the closest chair and instantly start teaching. Though this could be the case when venues are hectic, if I have the time and chance, it is worthwhile exploring a few different chairs to determine which is ideal for the class. For instance, many cafes in Japan blow air conditioning to deter people from lingering, which can be irritating if you are sitting directly underneath the machine. Similarly, if the cafe serves icy drinks, they may have a blender that is so loud, it becomes difficult to teach when it is in use.
3. Develop a plan of action for tackling impoliteness
The bane of all English teachers is without a doubt Japanese elderly gentlemen. I was once conducting an active and enthusiastic class at Starbucks when a personnel member came to inform us that the elderly men behind us had been complaining and we needed to relocate. This sudden change of location and the attention we received was more than my student could bear, so she ended up leaving.
Talking to educators, I hear similar accounts of older guys who express displeasure vocally, often in an effort to make themselves feel better rather than for the greater good. To avoid the situation, it would be wise to take a seat away from them and, if something goes awry, stand firm and refuse to move or alter the plan.
4. Not arriving on schedule is a tardy arrival.
Time management is the most essential criterion for instructors of private classes. Even if a teacher is just average, they can still be successful if they are punctual. It is critical to remember that the student is paying for each minute of the class. For example, a 10-minute delay to a 3000-yen-an-hour course is equivalent to 500 yen of lost class time.
Coffee shops, despite improving their speed, can still be a source of long wait times. Even if you arrive at the cafe a few minutes ahead of schedule, it may be 10 minutes or more until you are ready to start your lesson if the shop is particularly packed.
5. Establish your limits
Teachers may opt for a language or skills exchange with their students in lieu of full payment. However, without making boundaries clear from the start, even if it could mean losing the customer, potential problems can arise later.
6. Allocating a Budget.
Around a decade ago, the bulk of my income was from private lessons. To my shock, I realized that I had no money even with this source of income. Upon careful examination, I discovered that it was because I had been spending money without being aware of it.
I quickly identified certain aspects, namely:
- Beware of utilizing multiple train lines when commuting to class to avoid doubling the fare. Apps like Google Maps, Jorudan, and JapanTransitPlanner can help students plan out their trip and look for more affordable ways to get there, such as using a subway pass or monthly unlimited ride pass (定期券, a teikiken).
- The cost of coffee can add up quickly, but ordering the Americano option is usually cheaper than other coffees, and most cafes offer much cheaper options such as bottled water and tea.
- Utilizing community centers or common areas in apartments can be an economical way to save money for classes, as often these can be used for free or for a minimal fee, and there is no need to purchase coffee. A pro-tip; bringing a water bottle to fill up with water from the water fountains is a great way to stay hydrated without spending any money.
- Encouraging students to invite a friend or partner along can be an effective way to cut costs, while still allowing them to enjoy the company of a companion.
One may achieve success by setting realistic goals and taking the necessary steps to reach them. It is important to create a plan and to take action in order to realize one's objectives. Establishing achievable targets and putting in the effort to realize them can lead to success.
The utilization of technology in the classroom can be an effective way to engage students in learning. By capitalizing on modern tools, educators can create an environment that facilitates student engagement and encourages active learning. Through this, students can gain a better understanding of the material, and can be motivated to keep learning.
It is our hope that these suggestions will assist you in ensuring that your opening class is a triumph.
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