One To One Teaching – Why Should You Do It

As ESL teachers, we can all empathize with the fact that we will likely not be staying in one specific country or even possibly having a career change after teaching for a certain amount of years.

However, one thing a lot of teachers can agree on, is that after gaining experience in larger sized classrooms, switching to one to one teaching can be a game-changer, as far as income goes. Private lessons are becoming even more popular with students looking for an opportunity to study individually with their own teacher, meaning students can develop their skills in a way that best meets their needs. Usually, classes are fit in on the evenings and weekends, when students and teachers have time. Lessons can take place in restaurant settings, coffee shop at either of your homes, or even a bar!

Developing One to One Teaching Curriculum

Like any class, you must first set an achievable goal that can be met within a certain amount of time. For example, a private student will take an IELTS or TOEFL exam. (This is an English proficiency test) one to one teaching lesson planning english teacher chinese studentsTeachers need to discuss with the parent and student when the exam will be held and what score is needed and for what purpose. Or often, a business professional will be taking a trip and wants to communicate with English-speaking clients about their company’s product. The teacher must then research what the product is and gather as much information about it as possible. Sometimes a young child’s parents want their child to become familiar with and starting to use English in their daily life. The teacher must then develop a sequence of useful vocabulary that can be used in daily life that is at the child’s level and understanding.

Lesson Planning for One to One Teaching

Lesson planning is essential for any class; it helps organize the teachers’ thoughts and tracks the success of the achievable goal of the class. Here are some simple easy steps to take when planning a lesson. Having a lesson aim that directly relates to the classes achievable goals is the best way to start the lesson. By following this simple step-by-step guide with a sample lesson will ensure a successful lesson.

  1. Breaking the lesson down into time segments of 10 minutes or more is important. Any student, no matter their age or level, can quickly become uninterested if they are not engaged in the lesson. Changing the focus or activity regularly can help move things along at a pace that is suitable for the student.
  2. Review what was taught in the previous lesson and ask concept-checking questions. Reviewing is a must, especially if the class is only once a week. Review also gives the student an easier chance for success and will boost confidence in them when they are able to discuss what they already know and understand. Asking concept-checking questions is important as a teacher to provide feedback on what areas perhaps need to be covered in more depth at a later time.
  3. Use up-to-date materials that apply to the student’s needs, achievable goals, and the lesson aim. There are lots of things that can be found online for free. One of my favorites, personally, is breakingnewsenglish.com where they provide news articles and related questions for up-to-date discussions about what is happening all over the world.
  4. Focus on different sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Even if the student only wants to focus on one area for improvement, the teacher likely should use all areas when giving a lesson.
  5. Q&A is a very important part of any private one to one lesson. This helps the student not only develop a strong and more personal relationship with their teacher, but also gives the teacher an opportunity to learn more about the student, allowing them to develop a plan that is catered to their personality and strengths. For example, some students are very good at reading but not confident when speaking. Reading out loud together and correcting simple pronunciation mistakes can quickly develop their confidence when speaking. Q&A is also more casual and natural as it often takes the pressure off the students who are very shy to speak.

Personal Experiences With One to One Teaching

Teaching in Korea and China are very different, but one thing that is very much the same is how an agency treats its teachers, and that teaching privately can sometimes lead to difficulties for the teacher if they are not protected.

For two years in Korea I worked for a training school, long horrible hours, but I loved the kids and I was able to develop my teaching personality, which can be described as strict but silly. It also exposed me to teaching one to one for the first time.

Unfortunately, my experience with this wasn’t a good one. I first went with an agency. I was given a job that started hours before the time we had discussed. (At 6 am for a business class) They did not reimburse the money I spent to travel to and from the class as they had promised to. The agency did not pay me the rate that we had originally agreed to. I discontinued my relationship with the agency and decided to seek my own one to one students. I found a one to one student who wanted to pay for all the classes at the end of the month. I agreed, but at the end of the month, I was not paid. I had no one on my side helping me to ascertain the money from the student, which resulted in me forfeiting my career as a private teacher in South Korea.

It wasn’t until my second year in China that I warmed up to the idea of private teaching again. I had a student who had finished classes at my training school and wanted to study one to one. Her mother was willing to pay for a month of classes upfront. I agreed and it worked out very well. That’s when I got started to fill my time up with more privates with the help of soufudao.com.

Read more about the founder of Sou Fudao here, or visit their site and see what opportunities they have for part time teachers!

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