Teaching Update


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.

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  1. Dave, I think you should charge more as well…don’t short yourself, English is YOUR language.  Even if you don’t have any experience, if I was wanting to learn a language, I would want to be taught by a native speaker.

  2. I wish you the best of luck. And i bet you will be able to find some students.  But if i went to Medellin to learn Spanish and someone wanted to charge me $14 per hour I would tell them to take a hike.

  3. Hi Dave,
    I know this post is a little outdated, but I wanted to know if you have continued with private lessons and how it has worked out for you?

    • No, I made all of about $50 USD and decided I was better off working on my blogs and earning money in USD versus teaching myself how to teach and earning in Colombian Pesos. In the long run, it was the better decision for me. But, if you know what you’re doing, and are a native speaker, you can do well with private tutoring. Hanging signs up at big supermarket chains and universities is a good start, but I found networking worked better.