Teaching English as a second language (ESL) has become a thriving industry in recent years, with the advent of online platforms and the increasing demand for students’ English proficiency worldwide.
Numerous teachers have recognized the potential of taking control of their own teaching careers by looking for their own direct ESL students, which grants them the autonomy to shape their work lives, establish flexible schedules, and establish their own pricing structures.
This shift towards finding direct ESL students online can be an incredibly lucrative and flexible option for teachers, as they only need internet access to work from home while earning an income.
So let’s explore the benefits of having your own direct ESL students as a teacher, particularly in the online realm, and look into strategies for building a thriving community of English learners.
What are the advantages of having your own direct ESL students?
- Flexibility in scheduling: One of the most significant perks of having direct ESL students online is the freedom to set your own schedule. This flexibility allows you to balance work with personal commitments, making online teaching an attractive option for those looking to escape the rigidity of a traditional 9-to-5 job.
- Setting your own rates: As an independent English teacher, you have the autonomy to determine your rates based on your experience and expertise. This can be particularly rewarding, as you directly benefit from the value you provide to your students.
- Being your own boss: The independence that comes with teaching direct ESL students means you are your own boss. You can choose your teaching methods, curriculum, and approach, tailoring your services to meet your students’ unique needs.
- Cost-efficiency: There’s no middleman, so nobody is taking a chunk of your teaching fee. And, many ESl teachers can teach online from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating commuting and facility expenses.
How to build a community of direct ESL students
To thrive as an independent English teacher, you must create a community of enthusiastic and loyal direct ESL students. So, how can you start building this community of learners? Here are some effective strategies for achieving this:
1. Leverage social media
Social media platforms like Discord and Instagram can be powerful tools for building your community of direct ESL students. You will need to invest time in creating engaging content and posting regularly, but lots of private language teachers find the payoff to be worth it! You’ll need to create content which is relevant to English learners. So, think about mini-lessons, English tips and learning resources which you can share. As you build an online community, you’ll find that your followers
2. Join Facebook groups for non-English speakers living abroad
Seek out and become active in Facebook groups frequented by non-English speakers living abroad in English-speaking countries or cities eg. Spanish speakers in Glasgow. These groups can be a goldmine, as members often have a pressing need to improve their language skills for daily life in Anglophone cities. Engage in these communities by offering valuable learning tips, sharing your English language expertise, and subtly promoting your teaching services.
3. Word of mouth
Perhaps the most powerful marketing tool is word of mouth. So, how can you harness this to expand your direct ESL student base? Providing exceptional teaching is the first step. If you go above and beyond in offering guidance and support, your satisfied students will become advocates for your services. Encourage them to recommend you to their friends and family by offering them a discount per referral.
4. Offer group classes
Once you have a solid base of individual students, consider offering group classes. It can take a bit more preparation, but by grouping students with similar skills, group lessons can offer a dynamic learning experience, with lots of opportunities for group discussions and roleplays. Group lessons are an attractive option for students seeking a more affordable way to learn, as you can lower the hourly rate per individual student. However, this approach can significantly increase your earnings, as a lower hourly rate per individual student still works out as much more if you have a group of three students, or more.
5. Register on teacher-student connection websites
Sign up on websites that facilitate connections between students and teachers. These platforms act as intermediaries, helping you find potential direct ESL students to teach. It’s a valuable way to expand your reach and connect with students actively seeking language instruction.
6. Collaborate with other teaching professionals
Collaborating with other teachers or language-related businesses can expand your reach. Partner with local language schools to offer workshops. It’s a good way of meeting learners who might be looking for private language classes. Another potential collaboration is to write some guest posts on blogs and websites related to language learning, and make sure to link back to your social accounts so potential students can find you easily.
7. Build a brand
Establish a strong online presence by having a website and building your personal brand as an English teacher. Consistency in branding, content, and teaching quality can help you stand out in a competitive market.
8. Engage your community
Keep your students engaged by organizing events, contests, or challenges related to English learning. These activities foster a sense of community and make learning more enjoyable.
9. Flyers and local promotion
In addition to online strategies, consider local promotion methods. Hang flyers in community spaces, libraries, and places frequented by your target audience. Collaborate with local schools and universities to get your flyers in locations where potential students frequent.
10. Recommend language learning apps
As an additional source of income, consider recommending language learning apps like Elsa Speak to your students. Elsa Speak provides personalized pronunciation training that can complement your teaching efforts.
You can earn a commission for each referral, adding to your income. Click here to know more.
Be inspired by ELSA
If you’re seeking inspiration to create and nurture your own student communities, consider exploring the English-learning communities we’ve established. These communities can provide valuable insights and ideas to help you on your journey to community-building success. Take a look at our Discord, Telegram or Facebook group to see ideas for how you can interact with and support English learners online.