Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Search for More Students

Giver of language, Teacher of tongues, Ambassador of the English language, a EFL teacher.  Sounds like a great job teaching gig, and it pays just as bad as every other "great" teaching job out there. 

Many TEFL teachers will begin their teaching career at a language institution.  If you read my other blog, So You Think You Want to Take a TEFL Course, you'll know that this is not enough to get by on.  The key usually is to get private students.  They are the EFL teacher's "bread and butter."  You get paid better and you deal with one student who usually is motivated and has very specific goals.  All great, but where do you find them?

My initial thought was to try a posting on craigslist.  In the States this is usually a great start, it gets your message out to a wide audience quickly, and its free.  This does not work in Florence.  People just don't use craigslist for things like that here.  There are plenty of postings for rentals (be very cautious of scams), but for other things its just not how its done here.

A suggestion by the school where we took the course was to order business cards.  I personally really enjoyed this.  I like having a business card, I fell more legit now that I have cards to hand out.  The only problem I have with handing them out is that my command of the Italian language is very limited.  I was talking to one guy trying to explain what I do, and he may have gone away with the assumption that I'm a singer in a band (I'm not really sure, so don't ask.)  I still gave him a card, but this form of advertising would be much easier if I spoke more Italian.  Additionally you need to be going places and when you're counting your pennies going out doesn't really fit in.

Another option that I'm going to take on is posting fliers at schools.  Florence has numerous schools.  These institutions apparently have community bulletin boards where a lot of the communication of want ads are posted.  These are supposed to be great resources for lessons and for other things like apartments and such.  We'll see how that one goes.

If any of you teachers, or anyone with experience networking, out there have some other suggestions please comment. 
  • Did a certain strategy work for you or was it a combination of many? 
  • Did any of them fall flat on their face? (craigslist for me)
  • Do you know of other ways to advertise in Florence?
And as always if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.



    You can find my musings here =)

  2. Only Americans use craigslist. The Italian equivalent is Kijiji or Bakeca

  3. I have put together some 'package' deals for students in the run up to end of year exams, 16 classes over the next three months with big discounts if you pay up front.

    I have also found that renting classroom space here in Poland is amazingly cheap so I will be doing all of my lessons in a local school instead of my home from now on- adds to the professionalism I methinks!

    I have got to know the popular student forums and I hand around on there touting my services. I am averaging one extra student a week by doing this alone!

    How are you finding it?

  4. I am interesting to this post!
    I used to buy tickets online.
    But also Hotel Centro Firenze