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How to Teach English as a Private Independent Tutor

It’s no surprise that working as a private independent English tutor is a popular line of work. Not only can you take your income and career into your own hands, but you can work from home easily. Tutoring can be very rewarding, both emotionally and financially. English tutors can help non-native English speakers master a second language and improve their quality of life with their additional language skills. The pay can be excellent as well, as well as the experience of working away from an office and on your own terms.

But how does one enter this line of work? Is it difficult or challenging to get started as a private tutor? When it comes down to it, becoming an English tutor as a student or established professional is quite easy. It just involves a little know-how and a solid grasp of the English language. Whether you want to help students learn the basics of English or help career professionals master the language fluently, you have a lot of options in pursuing this career. In this in-depth guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about becoming a private independent English tutor. You might be surprised at how simple the timeline from conception to working actually is!

Don’t forget: If you’re a tutor who wants to provide tutoring services to students who want to get help with learning any language, get in touch with TutorOcean today to get started!

How to Teach English as a Private Independent Tutor

Becoming a private independent English tutor isn’t quite as challenging as you might think. Even then, this line of work can be quite lucrative. In general, a private English tutor can make as much as $74,000 per year. Just as well, when working independently on a platform like TutorOcean, you can reap all the benefits of working from home or remotely– no office, boss, or coworkers needed.

What is a Private Independent English Tutor?

Virtually any native English speaker can become an English tutor. By having a clear and concise grip on the English language, you can offer students the tips, tricks, lessons, and study methods needed to become fluent themselves. It is a common misunderstanding among aspiring tutors that one cannot teach English unless one has a degree or some sort of certification. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, you must be an English native speaker that is well-versed in grammar and more complex aspects of the language.

To work as a private tutor is to simply work in the private sector, rather than in a public teaching setting like a public high school or college. Private tutoring involves seeking out clients who are willing to pay for tutoring services out of pocket, either for themselves or for their children who are in need of tutoring services.

To work independently as a private English tutor is to work on a freelance basis. Specifically, an independent tutor does not work for a third-party company, such as a tutoring firm or a private school. There are many benefits to working independently as well. There’s no need to report to a manager, you can set your own rates, and you can manage your own learning methods and career future. Most independent private English tutors work remotely, meaning that they offer tutoring services to students over the internet via video chat platforms or independent tutoring platforms like TutorOcean.

Have the Right Tools Before Jumping Online

Before you start the process of branding and looking for a platform to market your tutoring services, you’ll need to have the right tools of the trade. These include the following:

  • A high-quality headset with a high-quality microphone and headphones. These should be very comfortable and ideal for wearing for hours at a time.
  • A fast laptop computer with at least 4GB of RAM and an i3 processor at a minimum.
  • A reliable and speedy internet connection.

These three things are really all you need to get started as an English tutor online.

List Your Skills

Your skillset will be the main set of information that you can use to market your tutoring services. As an English tutors, your soft skills will be just as important as your hard skills. In general, the following skills are highly sought after in the tutoring world:

  • Fluency, preferably native proficiency, in the English language.
  • Teaching and tutoring skills and experience.
  • Verbal and written communication skills.
  • Time management.
  • Scheduling skills.
  • Online tutoring and digital platform knowledge.
  • Email and office software skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Experience or skill working with children. (If you plan on targeting K-12 students.)
  • General knowledge of education, training, and tutoring.
  • Understanding of learning and tutoring strategies.
  • Evaluation skills.
  • Additional language skills, such as Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.

As you list your own skills, it’s vital to be honest about what you are capable of doing, but it’s also important to not sell yourself short. When putting together the copy for your platform bio or LinkedIn introduction, be sure to have your list of skills on hand. Your skillset will be one of the first things that potential clients will look for. It’s very important to stand out from your competition.

List Your Experience and Credentials

It’s not a requirement to have tutoring experience to become an English tutor. However, having some experience under your belt can add legitimacy to your reputation. Some various types of experience that students might look for include:

  • An Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree in English or fundamental teaching in general.
    A certificate of completion of an English or ESL workshop or course.
  • A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of
    Other Languages (TESOL) certificate.
  • High-ranking results in The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), one of the most well-known English proficiency exams.
  • Experience as an English teacher or tutor.
  • Experience as an ESL teacher or tutor.
  • One-on-one teaching experience with students of all ages.
  • Group teaching experience.
  • Experience teaching English to a group of ESL learners of a specific native language like Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.
  • Experience with online tutoring systems like TutorOCean.
  • Experience penning advanced online training curriculum for English students.

Again, experience isn’t necessary, but it definitely can help you get your feet off the ground as a private independent English tutor.

Decide on Your Niche

Your basic niche will be teaching English. However, there are so many ways to teach English and so many different demographics of people who want to learn English. Do you want to be an online-only tutor? Do you plan on only teaching K-12 children English? Perhaps you’d like to focus on teaching adults English as a second language. You may also want to use a specific framework for teaching English, such as the Grammar Translation Method or the Communicative Language Teaching Method. Depending on your proficiency in English, you might also want to only teach a certain level of English, such as Beginner or Advanced or Business English.

Before you find a platform to market and work on as an English tutor, determine what your niche is and what makes you different from other tutors.

Decide on Your Rate

Your rate will be entirely up to you and will depend on your competitors, your level of English, and the specific level of English you plan on teaching. Typically, an English tutor will charge anywhere from $15 to $100 per hour.

Find a Platform to Market and Tutor On

It may seem simple enough to build your own website, market your services, and provide English tutoring lessons via Zoom or another video chat platform. However, there are many tutoring platforms out there that offer some serious bells and whistles that make the process of tutoring so much better. TutorOcean’s tutor dashboard provides a number of features, such as a digital whiteboard and filesharing functions, that simulate the actual look and feel of a physical classroom. By focusing on TutorOcean as your main gateway to students, you’ll be able to provide better tutoring services while also making yourself visible to a wide range of learners who are actively looking for a good tutor. Instead of taking on the entire process of tutoring online by yourself, using a platform like TutorOcean is a much more lucrative way to get started in the tutoring world.

How was our guide to becoming a private and independent English tutor? Tell us your thoughts and what your journey has been like in the comments below.

TutorOcean is an internet-based global marketplace platform connecting students with tutors on a wide range of subjects, including English and other languages. Our experienced, top-quality, and vetted tutors leverage our proprietary online whiteboard to assist students on their English-learning journey in a fun and interactive way. We strive to attract students around the world, who connect with English tutors that teach at a wide range of levels and rates per hour. If you are interested in becoming an online private English tutor, check out TutorOcean today! 

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Jonathan is the VP Growth at TutorOcean. Jonathan previously worked at Klipfolio, Invest Ottawa, Irdeto and IBM. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder of STEAM Foundation who successfully launched a Kids Coding Camp helping inspire students early in their educational development. Jonathan is also an active startup advisor, giving back to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

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