Teaching abroad - if you think you
need a classroom to knock out a lesson, think again.
A lot of money gets made - believe it or not - in your local coffee shop. They dot the streets of Japan and are common hangouts for college students studying for the big exam, office ladies and English teachers.
We'd be amiss if we didn't put up a page on this common money maker. So if you're new to teaching in Japan and are looking to get some of your own private students and a place to teach them in, local coffee shop are an option. Student/teacher matching services are a great way to find them.
General Guidelines and Tips
With the general collapse of pricing structures, students now are pretty well aware that the bubble days of charging 6,000 to 7,000 yen for a private lesson are long gone. And when you consider the ever growing popularity of Skype and other computer visual lessons, it's pretty easy to understand how lesson fees have become range bound in the 2500 yen to 3500 yen area for private lessons.
Honestly Folks, Things Have Gotten Tighter But...
The popularity of teaching abroad has also made students aware that it is acceptable to "counter offer" 500 or even 1000 yen lower than the teacher's 1st offer. So, given the squeeze on teaching fees that has resulted from increased competition for teaching your mother tongue in the land of the rising sun, here are some ideas to consider...
A Cup of Joe
Never offer to buy a students beverage unless you intend to keep buying them their beverages throughout the duration of the relationship. Considering that many cafes will charge 500 yen for coffee this adds up pretty quickly.
Trial Lessons - Should You Charge For Them?
Trial lessons. In short charge for them. At least enough to cover your coffee and transportation expenses. Although some believe it's a barrier to entry it really isn't. Most students don't mind a bit paying 1500 yen or so for a trial lesson. In short, your time is worth money so charge for it.
Although most student and teacher matching services state a price some don't. If you're looking for students on a site that doesn't have any set prices and if that students profile doesn't specify a price per hour, assume their looking for a free lesson because often they are.
Ducks: Keep Them In a Row
Get your ducks in a row on your cancellation policies. Many teachers ask for 24 hours notice and most teacher/student matching services also mandate a 24 hour cancellation notification. If students cancel a lesson short of the 24 hours most matching services make the student pay for the lesson.
When your schedule starts to fill up, don't accept any less than your specified price. There are always more fish in the sea. Although there are a lot of teachers, there are many more searching for English lessons. In fact as your schedule begins to fill-up, it's a good idea to start raising prices. Note: not all services will allow you to do this but the bulk of them do. But if you found your student by yourself, you basically run the show. The best course of action is to ask how others are handling their rates and cancellation policies.