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Old 13.09.2010, 14:43
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English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi all,

I'm new here so sorry if this is in the wrong place or anything! I've been in Switzerland 6 weeks now and am here for a year as an au pair. Someone in my German class has an 11-year-old daughter who would like some help with English. She's been learning in school but only lists of words so I've said I can help for a couple of hours a week helping her with speaking / learning the language in a fun way.

My first question is how much should I charge? The mother has asked me to come to her with a price and I have no idea of the ball-park per hour one-to-one with native speaker but completely unqualified and with no experience.

My second question is does anyone have any ideas I could use to help her? Having had no teaching training, never mind TEFL training, I don't really know what usual methods are. I'm currently thinking just talking about day to day things, helping with homework, helping her find something she can read in English to get used to how sentences are formed, and just talking while we play (not even really sure how 11-year-old play!). How does that sound?

Thanks very much for your help :-)
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Old 13.09.2010, 14:47
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 13.09.2010, 14:54
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi
I think it always hard to price ypur time when you are doing a favour- englisg reading and writing classes for kids in a group set up run to about 45 francs a session so not small change. That is with a qualified teacher and resources.

Subject wise I would choose a theme and explore that over a few weeks - with an 11 year old I would make it interactive - not sitting facing each other across a table.

Maybe start with introductions and make a scrap book about the child with their family, hobbies, likes, dislikes etc etc. Using photos, magazine cut outs and drawings you can talk about everything more naturally.

Then maybe move on to seasons or sports or books - anything you can theme a bit to assist in the conversation being relaxed-

By doing the scrapbook the child can also be writing short sentences to enforce the vocab and sentence construction.

hth

Caz
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Old 13.09.2010, 14:59
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

I had an American friend who did informal 1 hour conversational English practice. She had a language teaching qualification and charged 50 CHFs an hour. In your case with no formal training and teaching a small child I would say 30 CHF an hour, certainly no less than 25, depending on how much a favour you want to do...
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Old 13.09.2010, 15:03
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi and welcome to the forum.

You're in a position many people find themselves in when they come to Switzerland. Also, as you say, being a native speaker of English and being able to teach English are 2 very different things.

I'd ask yourself. Would you like to make this your line of work here? Then if I were you, I'd look into getting some basic training. There are lots of ways to do this - from attending local workshops to taking a foundation course in English teaching the Cambridge CELTA.

Here is the link for the English Teachers Association of Switzerland. They have regular workshops happening around the regions. I'm the Teacher Development Chair. (and also an accredited CELTA trainer)

http://www.e-tas.ch/

OK - in terms of money - this is a tricky one. On the one hand you have no experience or qualifications so you couldn't charge an average hourly private rate (between 60 - 80chf) but on the other, charging something as low as 30chf is not a good idea as we need to keep a minimum rate. I would suggest 40chf for an hour.

I would probably make it clear that you are going to be conducting a conversation session, where you'll bring in new words and phrases (perhaps write them down in a notebook) but you won't be teaching grammar, language analysis etc. In other words be honest about what you can offer.

If you understand German it makes life easier, you can ask the girl about her interests in German and then as she is talking about them you can thread in the relevant English words and phrases she needs - have her write them down and then recycle them next time. Recycling is essential in language learning. Or you could get a board game and teach set phrases in English - and play together. Again - the element of repetition.

Very easy to teach - label items in the house. Bananas, the fridge, the window, etc. Have her go and stick the correct labels to the various places. You can then continue with teaching what we call prepositions of place "it's on the" it's beside the" etc. Use real items.

Teach numbers and phrases like "it's too expensive" How much is that - through role play - bring pictures of various electronic goods and put price tags on them - first have her practice the expression connected with the pictures, then role play a situation where she can recycle those expressions.

These are just ideas for starters - but really I'd advise you to contact ETAS see what's on offer and go get more ideas and training in your local area.
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Old 13.09.2010, 15:07
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

JC1,

You will really need to assess how advanced her English is before you can determine what or how you plan to teach her. If she has basic skills try ordering a school type text book from the UK and taking her through that. If her skills are less then there are books like 'My first thousand words in English' (sorry cant remember the publisher but do a search on Amazon).
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Old 16.09.2010, 14:34
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Many thanks for all your replies :-) We had our first session on Tuesday and apparently she really enjoyed it and was very excited about me continuing to come, which is good because I was really nervous and wasn't sure how it had gone though I knew it could have been much worse! Using themes is a really good idea - thanks Caz! Will be using lots of the ideas everyone gave :-) And possibly visiting again to ask for questions! Thanks again - Jayne
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Old 16.09.2010, 14:47
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

I went to discuss English/French/German teaching for the Migros and I was truly shocked. They pay CHF 45 per hour- whether qualified or not. I have a good UK Degree, absolutely bilingual and 30+ years experience teaching at all levels, beginner to Advanced, Business, etc. I feel this is ridiculous. Plumbers, electricians, etc, charge us CHF 100 per hour on average. Being a native speaker has little to do with teaching skills- as I realised years back before I qualified and friends/neighbours kept asking for help. After a few years, I decided to go to Uni and qualify. Good skiers, or excellent mathematicians are not necessarily good at teaching. Hope you enjoy doing this and helping, and perhaps that it will encourage you to take some qualification and study, as you obviously have talent there. Glad she really enjoyed it - money wise I'd say if unqualified and as a favour, I'd ask CHF25, 30 max. Tell us how you get on and ask away if we can help.
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Old 18.09.2010, 12:46
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Odile : how much is a decent hourly wage at a language school for you ?

The French school of Bern approached me because they are looking for a a Professeur de lettre. They offer 70CHF per hour. Unfortunately, i had to decline the chance to go to an interview as I don't have enough free time with my 2 daughters, but I was wondering if this wage is ok for a proper school..
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Old 18.09.2010, 16:28
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Quote:
They pay CHF 45 per hour- whether qualified or not. I have a good UK Degree, absolutely bilingual and 30+ years experience teaching at all levels, beginner to Advanced, Business, etc. I feel this is ridiculous. Plumbers, electricians, etc, charge us CHF 100 per hour on average.
There's a big difference between what you pay an employee, and what you charge a customer for 1 hour.

As a rule of thumb, the cost of an employee is 50% of the charge-out rate.
Because charge-out rate covers building, overheads, etc

So the English teacher being paid 45.- per hour, and the plumber charging 100.- per hour, are on around the same pay levels

Last edited by Nickers; 19.09.2010 at 08:37.
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Old 18.09.2010, 17:33
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

I think the idea of teaching around topics is excellent. From experience with my own children and what they have done in various schools some suggestions are:

animals, pets and wild ones, take a visit to the zoo as well.
hobbies/pastimes - she could show you something she has done and talk about it.
holidays/weekends
shopping/food/claire's accessories
music/fashion (depends on the maturity of the child)
family/friend

Anything really that she has direct experience of will make the language more relevant and more likely to sink in. You can also plan grammar into the lessons in a very subtle way - (animals are great for thinking up lots of adjectives for example), what did you do last holiday of course practises the use of past tenses etc.
I think you could have a lot of fun together - good luck
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Old 18.09.2010, 18:17
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Perhaps you are not aware FriendlyKiwi, that a good teacher will spend at least 1 hour preparation (++) and often 1 hour (or 4) marking, etc, so divide that CGF 45 by at least 3. I spent 4 years a Uni to qualify and have 30+ years experience, tons of resources gathered over many years, books, tapes, CDs, videos, etc, etc (which are very expensive)- so for me CHF70 would be absolute minimum (for a qualified/experienced teacher). I will go to my local Gymnasium soon to find out about doing supply teaching, and find out how much they would pay.

Amazes me that often it is private schools, which are supposed to be the 'creme de la creme' who employ unqualified teachers.
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Old 18.09.2010, 19:35
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

@ Odile, I've heard than here a teacher can earn up to 120chf per session ( 60 or 45 minutes I don't know).. I guess the French International School as a different rate wheter your are oversea hires or local hired like me as I am living already in the country.. I'm a qualified teacher ( French as a foreign language) whose qualification was recognised last year by the EDK.. On paper, I'm allowed to teach French in the whole country up to Sekundar stufe I..Unfortunately, I had not realised that here and at this level, Swiss teachers are trained to teach up to 4 subjects... in England or in France, one would need one degree for each subject so I don't know how they manage to be so polyvalent.. anyways, the fact is that I have no chance to get a job in the local system so I hope to get an opportunity one day in my field : english media international schools, I don;t really care about the money as long as I can go back to what I like. At the moment, I am working for peanuts in a language school but I enjoy it very much... better than staying home with no work at all..and to be honest I'm just a teacher not a doctor so for me 70 chf is already a lot of money. In my last position , a full time position at a British international school, I was earning 5000 chf a month and again,I was only teaching French, not undergoing surgery! mind you the school fees were 20000 dollars a year !

Last edited by olympe; 18.09.2010 at 19:46.
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Old 18.09.2010, 22:13
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi Olympe, I really hope that you will find the job in your field. Good luck.

BTW, I did my B.Ed Hons Degree in the UK, and we all did 2 separate subjects. Because French is my MT I was allowed to do 3. I am really surprised about teachers teaching up to 4 subjects here. It was not the case when I was at school, and not the case in any secondary/Gymnasium school I know, where most teachers teach 1 subject only.

Hope it all works out for you.
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Old 19.09.2010, 07:38
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Thanks Odile.. only at sekundarstufe I they teach more than one subject, at Gymnasium level, it is only one..thanks for your wishes..
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Old 19.09.2010, 09:38
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

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..On the one hand you have no experience or qualifications so you couldn't charge an average hourly private rate (between 60 - 80chf) but on the other, charging something as low as 30chf is not a good idea as we need to keep a minimum rate. I would suggest 40chf for an hour.

Ton of great advice, this is a great thread. I'd just like to comment, if one decides to be a private tutor, and I have done it for more than 13years, you make your prices. Of course you can make that stupid mistake and overcharge or under charge, but if you feel strong about your skills, even without the qualifications and years of teaching, it is up to you. You can charge as much as you think you are worth. I have had a plenty of colleages who with no schools and no papers were incredibly good tutors and charged accordingly. We shouldn't make OP think that he/she "can't" charge some sum, we have no idea who good he/she is. We don't make the pricing policy, that's the fun of being an independent, plus have no idea who is clients are.

About the teaching qualifications here, yes, it's a major obstacle, you may have your diploma recognized and then find yourself jobless compared to those licensed in 3-4 teaching subjects. Licensing for more subjects by no means creates specialists, I think what you end up doing is following the book to the letter, mostly, that's what I have seen. Kids always know when they deal with an expert in his/her subject, though, and respond very well. Teaching just one subject isn't that bad at all, have to say, allows you to go in depth a lot more. Languages are special in this, it is a lot easier to find work being licensed just in one language, as opposed to only in fysics, for example.
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Old 19.09.2010, 09:40
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi there,

First of all welcome to the forum!

I spent a couple of years teaching English conversation in Asia. I too did not have any formal qualification other than the fact I'm a native English speaker.

From my experience a child of this age is too old for games and too young for dry grammar and such. Your best bet, to keep their interest, and motivation is role playing. Think of a suitable situation or activity you would like to end the lesson on ie. ordering in a restaurant, describing their family. Then plan a lesson back from there. For instance begin the hour with an informal warm up to build their confidence, introduce new vocab and sentence structures that will help with the end task. Then end with the activity.

My school called it Show It, Practice It, Use It.

Oh... and have fun. Teaching can be really enjoyable.
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Old 19.09.2010, 15:27
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Wow thank you all for your helpful replies, ideas and discussions :-) This is such a huge, new and exciting (and terrifying!) area for me so all your input is really appreciated. Going to sit down and have a think/plan about this week's 'lesson' now...
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Old 20.09.2010, 20:06
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Hi there Well, if she enjoyed it that's telling. You're already better than some with qualification. :P

There are many many things you can do. Themes are good, usually it works in a fan-out fashion, starting with her, her hobbies, interests, her room, her family and friends, school, etc. Students like to be systematic (without being boring), so you might set up a routine like warm up - vocab check - reading/listening something - talking about it - "playing" with/expending the topic - "cooling down", or anything that you find suitable. Also, it's good to keep track of new vocab, in a notebook or such. (Good if you keep track too! ) Then there are lots of exercises and tasks on the internet, you can listen to basically anything from music to youtube or anything she might find interesting. Really, conversation classes are enormous fun, you can tweak anything into learning but still have fun.
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Old 20.09.2010, 20:48
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Re: English Conversation Tutoring - how does one charge ?

Quote:
I went to discuss English/French/German teaching for the Migros and I was truly shocked. They pay CHF 45 per hour- whether qualified or not. I have a good UK Degree, absolutely bilingual and 30+ years experience teaching at all levels, beginner to Advanced, Business, etc. I feel this is ridiculous. Plumbers, electricians, etc, charge us CHF 100 per hour on average. Being a native speaker has little to do with teaching skills- as I realised years back before I qualified and friends/neighbours kept asking for help. After a few years, I decided to go to Uni and qualify. Good skiers, or excellent mathematicians are not necessarily good at teaching. Hope you enjoy doing this and helping, and perhaps that it will encourage you to take some qualification and study, as you obviously have talent there. Glad she really enjoyed it - money wise I'd say if unqualified and as a favour, I'd ask CHF25, 30 max. Tell us how you get on and ask away if we can help.
I once worked at a KV college teaching English which meant that I was employed by the Kanton of Zürich. My hourly rate was set by taking account of my age, qualifcations and experience. This meant that I earnt nearly three times the amount paid by Migros. Your qualifications and experience would get you a much better rate in a Kanton-run school.
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