I ran into a gregarious Colombian English teacher at the print shop. Her first question to me was whether I was a teacher, perhaps because there is little reason for me to be at such a place if I weren’t. She said she use to teach at EAFIT University’s language center, however moved to private practice as it paid more, and offered her greater flexibility. I could relate, as it was my aspiration to be my own boss and earn money outside of the restrictions and schedules a language school would apply.
She asked about my rates, and I showed her the rate sheet I created. She could hardly believe the low amounts I was charging. I tried to explain the initial strategy was to attract a large number of students, however her counter was the concern in the back of my mind at present. If I am paying for transport to/from the student, plus internet time reading about how to teach effectively, and the cost of printing materials, then I need to be charging more per hour if I want to make any money. Otherwise, as she commented, it is hardly worth getting out of bed.
At the moment, I am asking for 20,000 ($8) pesos per hour for a private class. She suggested as a native speaker, I could double that rate. As a Colombian, she was charging 35,000 ($14) per hour and had plenty of students. I told her I didn’t have any experience, and her advice was exactly the same as everyone else – don’t tell the prospective students that!
I wish I had something more substantive to report, however with it being a holiday week, people are putting their desire to learn and practice English on hold. I still hope to gain a student or two from the dozen or so potential leads I’ve received over the last few weeks. I would rather charge a higher rate and have a few dedicated students than try to manage teaching 10 or 15 people.