I have been freelancing as a teacher, a translator and an interpreter for nearly 30 years, so I can tell you a thing or two about my career choice. In this post we will focus on freelance teaching.
If you want Security it will be found , relatively speaking, while working for a company where they are supposed to provide you with training, the tools for your trade and “super benefits” such as paid holidays and weekends.
No, Virginia, as a freelancer you get paid for the hours you have worked, period. Or when a translator for the number of words you have translated.
What advantages do we have as freelancing teachers?
Most people will say: “You’re soooo lucky… you have no boss. You can choose the times and days you’re gonna work; how much you charge for your work; and you can pick and choose the students you’re going to be working with.” Truth? Myth? Maybe?
- The answer is … that depends. Let me explain: you’re free to choose the times and days you want to work in, yes, but you still depend on having students willing to be filling those hours. For example, during the pandemic most of my morning students, correction, ALL of my morning students decided to have classes in the evening. Since they were working from home they could stay in bed until 5 minutes before work started… lol … I don’t know… but since I’m a son of the dawn (I feel most productive in the morning), need I say more? So now I have only 3 students in the morning, the rest of them are in the afternoon and evening.
- Can I set my prices /fees? Yes, to some extent – some prospective students will try to bargain, others will just say it’s way out of their budget (that’s understandable – even though some would try to bargain even if offered free classes). When setting a price I have to take into consideration:
My professional skills AND experience
Market rate averages compatible to what I will be providing to my clients
Something they don’t teach you in teachers’ school is that when setting your fees you must remember you won’t have any paid time off, any expenses such as computer, internet services, etc. will have to come out of your own pocket.
A real advantage when freelancing? Schools will pay you 30% or less of what they charge their students. When freelancing you keep 100% to yourself (before taxes, of course).
3. Now… regarding choosing students – actually THE STUDENTS will be choosing YOU. Of course, your market niche will define certain professional profiles, age groups (no kids, please) and even a certain economic and social status. As a rule of thumb, people in the lower brackets of society can’t afford private dental care, let alone, private tutoring. Yes, Virginia, we can talk about 50% or 100% scholarships, but that would be an issue for another post.
Yes, as a freelancer I can choose the materials I’ll be using, but students will have priority on what to cover in their classes, e.g., preparing for a meeting, revising a PPT presentation, reviewing and revising the professional portfolio, practicing for interviews, etc.
At the end of the day, the freelance teacher will be free as long as he or she provides the service the client wants to receive.