Teaching Private Classes: Making Money on the Side

Sooner or later.  Usually sooner.  Every teacher of English overseas is going to be offered the “private” job, the teaching job “on the side” that is separate from your main job.

Some teachers will have been looking for the offer, hoping to increase their income.  Others weren’t interested at all, but the offer came anyway.

Teaching Private Classes is Usually Illegal

In most countries teaching “on the side” is illegal unless expressly written into your working papers. Often it is also prohibited by your employment contract.

But the offers can be quite lucrative and, in some cases, you may even double your regular income – or more.  More than a few teachers use private teaching as a way to significantly increase their earnings.

Don’t do anything Illegal

We can’t recommend that you do anything illegal.  You will, however, find that the risk in some countries is almost non-existant, but in other countries employers and authorities are vigilant.  Vigilance is not usual though, thus teaching privately tends to be quite common in many countries.

How do These Jobs Come About?

Most often you will be approached directly by someone wanting a private teacher.  I even had, in at least two countries, my employer arrange them for me.  I didn’t ask for them, they asked me to take the classes and teach them!

If you are looking for this kind of work, be patient.  Schools and students tend to be a bit wary of newcomers and like to wait to see if you are a reliable and competent teacher.  Offers don’t typically come immediately, but they do come.

One Warning Though

If you intend to take private classes and are teaching illegally, it is best to keep quiet about your classes.   People who become a bit too boisterous and too obvious can find themselves in trouble.

TED’s Tips™ #1:   If you decide to take private classes, do so discretely and – in most countries – you’ll never have a problem.   Again, however, we recommend that you keep yourself 100% legal.  😉


Teaching Internships in China