The average salary for an English teacher in Thailand is somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 baht (with many earning even less than that) In my opinion, this is just not enough money to live on comfortably as a foreigner, especially if you want to stash some money away for a rainy day or pay for flights to go and see the folks back home.
I started teaching in Thailand six years ago and now I am lucky enough to be the founder of one of Thailand's leading web and graphic design schools. Getting where I am now has taken a lot of hard work - but I now realize that there are many opportunities for teachers to supplement their income like I did.
After reading my blogs, I hope you will become familiar with at least ten ways of increasing your income. I will also be providing you with plenty of links to get you started and moving in the right direction.
If any of these ideas work for you, please let me know in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
How I started private teaching
When I first came to Thailand, taking a TEFL course seemed like a very good idea. I had no real experience as a teacher so it was important to at least have some idea of what goes on in a Thai classroom. When I finished my TEFL course, I was immediately asked to do private classes for friends and then ‘friends of friends'. I was eager to please and quick to say yes. Many of those private classes were great and often lots of fun to teach. And all you really needed was a brief lesson plan and a business card to get started.
Business card at the ready
If you are serious about taking on private students, I can't emphasize enough the importance of carrying business cards. Not only will potential students and customers take you more seriously, but a card has all your contact details on, depending on whether a student wants to contact you by phone or e-mail or some other way.
There are lots of online places where you can create your own business card online and have it delivered. Zazzle is one such example. You can also walk into any major shopping mall such as Mahboonkrong, near Siam Square, and have business cards made while you wait.
The important thing is to always keep your business cards handy in case you meet someone who might well become a student. Be confident and straightforward with people. Tell them what you do for a living and tell them what aspects of English teaching you specialize in. It's no good telling potential customers that you can teach kids if teaching kids is not really your bag. There are so many private students out there that you should easily be in a position to pick and choose your customers.
The best locations
Opinions will differ on where is the best place to conduct a private, one-to-one lesson but my advice on this is always to choose a public place. How about one of the many coffee shops that you see around Thailand in every town and city? Those places are ideal. With a nice cup of coffee in front of you both and a quiet table in the corner, you're all set to get down to some serious grammar action or casual conversation. I use to have two or three private students study one after the other on the same night! I used to use a coffee shop called The Bug and Bee right next to the BTS station in Silom. Not only was it a great little coffee shop, but because of its close proximity to the BTS, students could get there easily after work.
Meeting in a public place makes the student feel at ease and in turn become more relaxed and more confident. As the teacher, you'll probably end up finding the lesson much easier if you can create a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning.
When doing private teaching like this, it's useful to take notes about what you discussed and went over with the student. That way, when your next lesson comes along you can pick up where you left off. It also makes the lesson run much smoother as you can start off by reviewing the last lesson and linking the new lesson to the previous one. For you as the teacher, with potentially many other students, you can remember what was covered and show that you have a plan and show that you have everything under control.
We live in an age of fast-developing technology so don't forget that you can also teach on-line these days! There are many websites where you can register as a teacher and the on-line companies will call you as and when clients become available. You just tell the company your specialty, location and availability and wait for the fishes to bite.
I recommend you take your time by compiling a good on-line profile because this is how potential students will choose you. To get you started, read this excellent article on teaching online and then head over to one of the ten on-line tutoring websites listed below:
Start your own website and profile
Having your own ‘teacher website' is like having a great big online business card where people can find out so much more about you. This is an area of private teaching that most teachers neglect but imagine how thrilled your private students would be to see your face on your very own website full of teaching photos, family photos, course outlines, English language games and quizzes, etc, etc. There is no end to the content you could fill a ‘teacher website' with.
Starting an on-line blog is also super easy. Wordpress is my own personal recommendation if you are thinking about going down this route. www.wordpress.com. On your blog, you could include information about your educational background, experience, profile and then perhaps shoot some youTube videos of you explaining basic concepts clearly in say, under three minutes.
Once you have your on-line presence, other ideas to take things further might include creating a fan page and directing all your students there for regular English grammar and vocabulary tips.
Always be encouraging students to ask their questions on the fan page or comment on your website to provide you with a social media ‘buzz'. This will help raise your ranking and you'll start finding that Google shows you some love and thus enabling you to pick up students via search engine results. Consider writing articles and tips with keywords like "private English tutoring in Bangkok" or "Koh Samui private lessons" for example.
If all this sounds a bit daunting, don't forget that my company, Web Services Bangkok, has cost effective solutions to help you establish an on-line presence with your own professional website etc, etc.
Private tuition is always a great ‘sideline' because you can schedule classes around your main teaching gig. Use things like Google Calendar to manage your time or even services like Bookfresh There are plenty of places on the web where you can find a free system for people to make appointments online.
Online booking apps like these are great because they drastically reduce your administration time and save on countless emails spent organizing times that suit you and your student.
I wish you all the best and if you have any questions you can find me on Facebook.
See you soon for part 2 of 10 on how to make more money as a teacher in Thailand.
• Here you can see how people first create blogs and then register themselves