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Old 03.11.2010, 18:08
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English Tutoring Ideas?

Hey all!
From Wed-Sat this winter, I am a fondue chef here in Bern. Great work, great pay, but I tend to party away all my earnings during the dreaded 3 day weekend I have every week! It's a case of "Too much of a good thing".

At the end of the winter season when my contract ends, I am planning on going to another country to take a TEFL exam to try and help some people practice this great language. The problem is, I'm not sure that I am ready myself, or rather, that I hold the linguistic skills necessary to help burgeoning students.

In an effort to both make more productive use of my time, and practice my teaching, my girlfriend and I will be posting advertisements for english tutoring, proofreading, editing, or simply going to a cafe and engaging in some conversational english.

Anyhoo! This is the idea as it stands now. I saw that this is a subject broached by quite a few expats on this forum, so I thought perhaps I could get some assistance in a few key things.

The most prevalent issue at hand would be, cost. Not my personal cost, but what I should charge for these services. I'm not really doing this to make a profit, I just want to help students while helping myself, and gain some valuable teaching experience along the way. What would be fair to charge per hour for face-to-face tutoring? What about per-page cost for proofreading and editing? My girlfriend here has also mentioned she could help with translation, would this be worth our time? I was also considering simply putting 'Prices Negotiable', because I wouldn't want to charge an unemployed full-time student the same as I would charge someone with a full time job... But does this concept even exist in Switzerland?

Thanks for all your help everyone!
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Old 03.11.2010, 18:26
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

Please take this in the spirit of helping, not picking holes for the sake of it (and certainly not because anyone offering proofreading paints a target on their back ).

'practice' = noun (same as 'advice')
'practise' = verb (same as 'advise')

Can't help too specifically with your pricing models - it's so area-specific - but just wanted to add that for every hour you spend doing tuition, allow for at least another hour of prep. And that's for people who are intermediate or higher, who can read a novel and discuss it or hold a conversation on a fairly wide range of subjects or current affairs. Beginners may be even more labour-intensive, but I've never worked with those.

Good luck with your plan.
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Old 12.11.2010, 23:08
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

Hello,

First of all, you both spelled "practice" correctly. Kodokan's spelling is correct in UK English (Reference: Collins Cobuild Dictionary) and der_jerebear spelled it correctly in US English (Reference: Merriam Webster).

Now, I'm not familiar with tutoring rates (I think they range from 20 CHF to 60 CHF but I'm really not sure). Translation is usually paid by the word. Proofreading can be paid by the word or by the hour. Translation rates range from 0.07-0.012 EUR/Word (price really depends on language combination, experience, subject-matter, etc.) Hourly rates range from 20-40 EUR/hour.

My opinion is that being a native speaker is not the only prerequisite to translating, editing and/or proofreading. It requires training and/or experience (preferably both). But that's my opinion (and I'm a professional translator, so I'm a little biased).

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 12.11.2010, 23:13
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

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Hello,

First of all, you both spelled "practice" correctly. Kodokan's spelling is correct in UK English (Reference: Collins Cobuild Dictionary) and der_jerebear spelled it correctly in US English (Reference: Merriam Webster).
Thanks for pointing this out - makes a nice example of why just being a native speaker (even one with a pernickety eye for spelling and grammar) isn't enough for professional translating!

Live and learn, and apologies to der_jerebear.
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Old 12.11.2010, 23:58
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

Only the US does not distinguish between 'practice' and 'practise' - the rest of the Anglophone countries do! So correctness is geographically relative!

Also, please use a capital letter for English, especially if you want to teach it!

Now, I'm not familiar with tutoring rates (I think they range from 20 CHF to 60 CHF but I'm really not sure).

This is not helpful to the OP so it's probably best not to comment if you're not really sure, especially as you are located in Greece which has different living expenses!!

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Hello,

First of all, you both spelled "practice" correctly. Kodokan's spelling is correct in UK English (Reference: Collins Cobuild Dictionary) and der_jerebear spelled it correctly in US English (Reference: Merriam Webster).

Now, I'm not familiar with tutoring rates (I think they range from 20 CHF to 60 CHF but I'm really not sure).

Translation is usually paid by the word. Proofreading can be paid by the word or by the hour. Translation rates range from 0.07-0.012 EUR/Word (price really depends on language combination, experience, subject-matter, etc.) Hourly rates range from 20-40 EUR/hour.

My opinion is that being a native speaker is not the only prerequisite for teaching . It requires training and/or experience (preferably both). But that's my opinion (and I'm a professional teacher, so I'm a little biased).

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 13.11.2010, 00:08
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

I think translations are paid by characters, aren't they?

OP, see some webpages for rates, both tutoring/translating, or use the search function here, we have had some good discussions about rates, it's all over here.
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Old 14.11.2010, 10:24
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

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My opinion is that being a native speaker is not the only prerequisite to translating, editing and/or proofreading. It requires training and/or experience (preferably both). But that's my opinion (and I'm a professional translator, so I'm a little biased).
Completely agree. There are already too many unqualified cowboys "teaching" English in Switzerland. I speak English, therefore, I can teach English is a common falicy.

I drive but I know for a fact I can't teach someone to drive .

In Switzerland, those learning English often have the goal of the Cambridge first and advanced certificates. To teach to this level you must be qualified as a teacher of English as a second language. If you complete a TEFL or similar course and it did not include teaching practice then it was worthless .

The OP should get qualified first and only then start thinking about methods and rates.
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Old 14.11.2010, 17:58
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

Thanks for the general advice. I've got a few flyers up, and I've already gotten some interest from some Tamils who want me to help tutor their kids.
I suppose I will charge 25chf per hour for face to face tutoting. As I understand it, this is a fair bit below the average rates for a native english teacher, but as I have no previous experience (hence my inquiries) I feel that charging more would be unfair, especially when my key demographic is students.
If nothing else, this is a learning experience for both me and my would-be students. There's a good chance I will be attending the Berlin School of Language to attain my CELTA, and I'd like to know whether or not this is a good move on my part. For all I know, I may teach a few lessons, and become sick to death with it!
Anyone else have any experiences in this field?
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Old 14.11.2010, 18:06
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

just as an idea- you can also talk to the people in the kiosks and little stores around your neighborhood. one thing i notice is that whenever i meet people who work in shops around here, they get very inquisitive about if i give lessons, tutoring, etc. small businesses always have people who work hard but want to learn a bit of conversation english to use with their customers.

it would be good for both because often they don't have enough time or money for lessons in migro school or where ever and they want to learn basic skills. you can get great experience, charge low rates since that is what you are looking for and help some people out at the same time.

good luck- in the end you really have to get qualified- but experience will tell you if you can handle it, if you like it, if you are any good at it... then you can decide if it's worth it to go for celta or something else.
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Old 14.11.2010, 18:08
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

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Thanks for the general advice. I've got a few flyers up, and I've already gotten some interest from some Tamils who want me to help tutor their kids.
I suppose I will charge 25chf per hour for face to face tutoting. As I understand it, this is a fair bit below the average rates for a native english teacher, but as I have no previous experience (hence my inquiries) I feel that charging more would be unfair, especially when my key demographic is students.
If nothing else, this is a learning experience for both me and my would-be students. There's a good chance I will be attending the Berlin School of Language to attain my CELTA, and I'd like to know whether or not this is a good move on my part. For all I know, I may teach a few lessons, and become sick to death with it!
Anyone else have any experiences in this field?
You know there is this old saying, those who know - do it, those who don't know - teach it. Or sumfin like that it always makes me laugh to think about that. I never planned to be a teacher, it's addictive, not very well paid, but a load of fun and a job available almost always. A great job if you like to work with people and are willing to learn a lot, yourself. I'd start cramming grammar, people will have all sorts of questions, even kids. Reading good sources improve a lot as well, forget the hot tabloids and EF, poor language, hahaha...New Yorker is fun, check out their links, too.

Go for it. I would definitely do the CELTA, plus Berlin is a fabulous city, a whole lot different than here. I think the rate you offer is great, I would go a tad higher, if it takes a lot of effort to prepare the classes and clients would be wiling to pay, but you can always see how it goes and increase your charge with the next student. Good luck.
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Old 14.11.2010, 20:58
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

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Completely agree. There are already too many unqualified cowboys "teaching" English in Switzerland. I speak English, therefore, I can teach English is a common falicy.
That's "fallacy".

But you're quite right. My English and Maths are both excellent. I am, however, an absolutely lousy teacher. I go into Basil Fawlty mode in about 3 seconds. Why are students so stupid.

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Old 15.11.2010, 15:59
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

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My opinion is that being a native speaker is not the only prerequisite to translating, editing and/or proofreading. It requires training and/or experience (preferably both). But that's my opinion (and I'm a professional translator, so I'm a little biased).
This is a very important point. I did a language degree, in the final year of which we started translating texts. Last year I did an MA in translation and I really had no idea how much more complicated translating is than changing the words from one language into another. I'm trying to do volunteer translations in order to get my level up because, even though I have an MA in it, I still wouldn't necessarily be comfortable doing it professionally (this at least applies to certain genres of text). I think that, without training or experience, you're likely to produce some really terrible translations (even though you may be more than competent in your production of the English language), and your clients will not be happy!
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Old 07.08.2011, 13:28
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

To me being a native speaker could be one of the criteria to be an English teacher,but does not mean all native speakers could be English teachers.In the first place ,one needs to take ,atleast, online course in teaching English.
I encourage the cook to keep cooking instead of teaching the kids with out proper teachers training.Let us leave this job for the professionals who can bring positve change in education.If I am not a carpenter ,I donot apply for a job that requires carpentry knowledge in the construction job.
The Fondu chef could be a teacher or tutor only if he takes the necessary training or course for teaching.
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Old 07.08.2011, 14:00
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Re: English Tutoring Ideas?

To the OP...

Right after I first moved here, I put an ad on craigslist.com (of all places!), offering to tutor in English in the Zurich area. I specified that my rate was "negotiable."

To my surprise, I received a response from a Swiss man who was going to be transferred to the US for his job and was wanting to improve his English before he moved. We met once per week for the next year. I charged 40 CHF per hour -- a rate that even he admitted was quite cheap. But since I had no formal training or much experience in teaching English (apart from some tutoring that I did in university), I felt that it was best to keep my rate relatively low.

Anyways, it all went very well. My "student" was just happy to have a native English speaker to converse with on a regular basis (and in the end, I even felt rather bad for charging him!). But I did find that teaching English is, indeed, quite challenging. In particular, my "student" seemed to have the most difficulty learning the irregular verbs, so we focused quite a bit on those. But by the end of our year together (and to my relief!), he agreed that his English had greatly improved.

I wish you much luck with all your endeavors!
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