Private English Lessons: Supplemental Income While Abroad

For some, teaching English is a passion and a career path. For others, it’s a way to fund more travel. But for the student, learning English is a ticket to a better life.
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No matter which group you belong to–the passionate teacher or the almost-broke traveler–teaching English is no easy task. Being a native speaker isn’t enough to succeed. And in the world of private lessons, your reputation is the key to earning money. If your students aren’t happy, there ends your potential for supplemental income. The key to success is adequate preparation via TEFL certification and curriculum development.

TEFL Certification

While getting certified will help you understand the art of teaching, it’s not for the faint of heart. This 120 hour certification program, which includes a practicum, is a serious course…not to mention, a real financial investment (click here for $50 off TEFL certification). I do think its well worth it for those who have no previous teaching experience and/or for those wishing to get a job while traveling. In many countries, TEFL certification is required by law. TEFL certification will allow you to charge more money for lessons and, if you’re not from a background in education, will help you avoid the challenges of teaching.

Even though I had earned two degrees (BS and MA) from schools of education in the US and Europe, I still learned new things in my TELF course, so I highly recommend it. For more information about TEFL certification, click here & here.

Curriculum Development

Depending on your students’ needs, you will have to prepare different types of lesson plans. For example, preparing lessons for an 8-year old is time-consuming and difficult for me (an adult education professional). I have to come up with several mini-activities to keep her attention throughout our lesson. Adult students, however,  are different. If they want to prepare for an English language exam (i.e., TOEFL, IELTS, etc.), you’ll want to research the program and learn more about the structure of the exam as well as test-taking strategies. If you’re really lucky, your students will simply want to meet with you for conversation lessons, which entails speaking one-on-one with the student on a variety of topics determined by you and/or the student.

ESL Materials

Whatever your motivation, the key to your success in earning supplemental income is to make sure you understand and meet your students’ needs. They will be your greatest source of new students (referrals). To help you get started, here are a few of my favorite resources for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL):

+ Conversation Questions by Topic: here, here & here
Current Events / Newspaper Articles (by level)
6 Minute English videos [intermediate level]
+ ESL resources (games, lesson plans, etc.)


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What are your favorite ESL resources?
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2 thoughts on “Private English Lessons: Supplemental Income While Abroad

  1. Dear Pouneh, I really like to be able to participate in TEFL courses in Turkey. I visited the site but there was no related email address to make me able to ask my questions. I could not also find the part related to getting 50 % discount. would you please help me more? Many Best Regards, Adelnia

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    1. Thanks for your message, Adelnia! My TEFL school offers online and in-person courses. You can request information here (mention my name, Pouneh Eftekhari, to get a $50.00 discount, not 50% discount): http://www.internationalteflacademy.com/alumni-referral-form?utm_campaign=Alumni%2520Referrals&utm_medium=Pouneh%2520and%2520Chris%2520Blog&utm_source=Blog%2520Link

      Based on my research, the quality of service and my assessment of the online course (I have an MA in education), I think they are the best school. But there are many schools out there. You just want to make sure they follow the international standards (which ITA does). If you have more questions, please feel free to e-mail: pouneh (at) longingtotravel (dot) com – Pouneh

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