Are you a non-native English teacher? Are you running into difficulties finding a TEFL job?
Well, I really hope that you don’t feel like you are alone. There are educational decision makers who see you as a valuable teacher (check out this list of equal opportunities employers). And there are language students who would love to work with you.
Who am I to say this?
My name is Bryn Elizabeth Bonino, and I’m an American educator and former school administrator. I’ve faced a number of obstacles when looking for work as an English teacher in Italy and as a Spanish teachers in the U.S. I also have marketing expertise and found that when I applied my marketing mindset to my educator identity, I was able to both get hired by schools and find private clients more easily.
I recently spoke with Marek about my top recommendations for branding yourself as an English teacher. To get access to the full interview (and lots of other interviews with recruiters, trainers and successful non-native speakers), check out Marek’s course “Highly Employable and Successful Non-Native Speaker Teacher“. Though, I want to give you a sneak preview to what we talked about (both during the interview and afterward).
Below I share with you my top 7 tips for finding private clients as a non-native English teacher… from a marketers point of view.
Put yourself in an entrepreneurial mindset
You probably got into teaching, at least in part, because you like to help other people. Well, think of how many more people you can help if you put yourself in an entrepreneurial mindset. When you do this, think of how you can differentiate yourself from any competition and stand out in a crowded market. Then you need to also clearly state your value so that your prospects (prospective students) really know how you can help them.
If you’re keen to build your TEFL teacher entrepreneurship, download my FREE e-book right here.
Don’t limit yourself
You may have graduated from a TEFL program and looked for work at a language school. Then you became frustrated because the English schools don’t pay you what you are worth. To circumvent this situation, open yourself up to online teaching opportunities and teach clients anywhere with an Internet connection. Read this post to find out exactly how to succeed as an on-line non-native speaker teacher.
My advice is to leverage the free tools that Google for Education give you. There is free training to become Google Certified, and I promise your mind will be blown with possibilities when you do this.
Look for opportunity everywhere
If you are living in a city where English is not widely spoken, you can probably find English teaching jobs because people will try to use their English with you. If you are at a restaurant and the waiter speaks to you in limited English, there’s your opportunity! If you are at the gym and you learn that the women next to you on the treadmill works in sales and just got promoted to the international sector, but expresses hesitancy about her language skills, there’s your opportunity. Share your contact info with them, and get theirs too.
Follow up with prospects
The reason why you want the contact info of prospective students is because you want to follow up with them with very helpful info. Ideally you’ll have a helpful guide that you can share with them or a useful Facebook business page. Share one very helpful piece of content with them, and communicate to them your unique value which sets you apart from other English teachers.
Don’t garden on rented property
Would you nurture a garden on rented property?
Of course not!
You wouldn’t be able to bring it with you when you moved. So don’t invest all of your helpful content on some other company’s website or on a social media platform.
Make sure that you have your own property, your own website, that you use as your homebase to build your own following. This way when the other company or social media platform changes how they do things, you won’t suffer a drop in interest in your business.
Build your network
You should continuously grow your own network of supporters for your private teaching business so that your resources of potential customers don’t dry up. You can do this by meeting potential business collaborators through a LinkedIn networking strategy. Here’s a video you can watch about how you can leverage LinkedIn to get TEFL jobs as a non-native speaker.
And you should embed a lead capture form on your website so that visitors can give you their email address so you can follow up with them. I go into details of both of these strategies in my interview with Marek, which is available as part of Marek’s course “Highly Employable and Successful Non-Native Speaker Teacher“.
Always be marketing
Here I’m letting you in on a little secret. This last tip is something marketers say all the time. We actually can say “ABM” to each other, and we’ll know what idea is being referenced. This means that you should have a lead generation strategy and sales funnel humming along in the background so that you don’t have to constantly network and constantly search for new business. Introductory webinars are a great way to do this.
Remember that even if you are facing challenges as a non-native English teacher, this does not mean that you can’t be successful. Put yourself in the mindset of a teacher entrepreneur and you will be able to build your own base of private clients. Use these top 7 tips to get started.
Want more tips like these? Download this FREE e-book that shows you exactly how to boost your professional profile to get TEFL jobs as a non-native speaker.
Yes, it works even if you’ve been turned down before and despite the widespread preference for native speakers.
Bryn Elizabeth Bonino worked as a teacher and educational administrator in the U.S., Italy, and Brazil for 13 years. She runs Teach English In Rome and Bryn Elizabeth Marketing out of Austin, Texas where she lives with her family and pup, Leila. She has a B.B.A. in marketing from Texas Tech University and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Florida International University. If you’re interested in becoming a teacher entrepreneur, download Bryn’s FREE e-book right here.