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Teaching English in Bangkok Private Tuition

Most teachers take on some private tuition at one time or another. Private tuition can be financially lucrative and if you can get one or two regular privates then you can supplement your regular income very nicely. What you charge is entirely up to you but remember that the average monthly income in Thailand is only 7,000 baht so unless you are teaching the high society types, you will not be able to charge a fortune. The average that most teachers I know charge is around 500 baht an hour – some charge a lot more. One fellow I know charges 800 baht an hour for one-on-one tuition and 1,200 baht an hour to teach a group – and he has students lining up! If you charge this sort of money, you will likely be getting rich, demanding students who will want to make progress and see results quickly. One point to consider is that there seems to be a belief in Thailand that the more you pay, the better the service you get. So don't charge peanuts otherwise you may be considered to be a monkey.

If you are a good teacher and can meet the student's expectations then you should be able to teach them for a good period of time and do quite well financially out of it. When I taught privates, I used to charge a lot less but I taught in my apartment building and there was no travel involved. I'm not actually a great fan of one-on-one teaching and now turn down all requests from locals to teach them privately. Private students are notorious for cancelling so do not rely on private lessons as primary income – it should only ever be looked at as supplementary. Don't be afraid to cancel on your private students if you have other plans or get a better offer. Notwithstanding this, there are at least a couple of fellows that I know of who make a very good living just doing private tuition in people's homes or at people's place of work. To succeed at this you not only need to be an effective teacher but you need to be well presented and very well organised so that you can schedule your student's lessons to fit in with your respective timetables.

In my experience, the best place to get private students is to get students you are already teaching. No, I do not mean poaching students from the language school where you are teaching already. That is a good way to get yourself sacked. If you find yourself teaching at a high school, you will very likely be approached by students who want to study after hours or at the weekend and they will likely be willing to pay decent money. You have to manage this situation very carefully because while some schools allow you to do this, others will prohibit it. Personally, I think it is questionable, but many of my colleagues over the years have done this.

The obvious ideas of erecting advertisements on notice boards at places like universities and in apartment buildings do not seem to reap rewards in Thailand. Thais who study privately one-on-one tend to prefer to approach a teacher who they know already, or who has been recommended to them.

A final note about private tuition. Any private lessons that you do are NOT covered by your work permit. Your work permit allows you to teach at your primary place of employment only, the place that is very clearly specified in your work permit. Even if you were to perform work for the company whose name is specified in the work permit off the company premises, or at least the address specified in the work permit, it is technically illegal. But that said, at the end of the day, you will be unlikely to have any problem at all, but just be careful. It pays to keep private lessons hush hush as some people can get jealous if you are pulling in a decent income from your jobs on the side. Also, a lot of employers don't like you teaching away from your main place of employment so keep it quiet!