You already are exactly what your students need.
“Quarter to six”, I thought to myself as I started accelerating. “Just enough time for a…” WHAM!!!
Out of nowhere a minivan had smashed into my Vespa. The scooter skipped ahead a good 50 meters while I lay on the concrete, dazed, the only thing going through my mind was that I wouldn’t have time to get my coffee.
A crowd gathered round, rolled my scooter off the boulevard, offered to call an ambulance. The minivan driver claimed I had hit him, gave me his card, and drove away.
This wasn’t the first time I fell off a bike, so I got back up, thanked everyone, and took off for my job. I had to teach English at a multinational bank and I couldn’t be late!
When I finally limped into the lobby, after dropping the bike several times on the corners and taking 5 minutes to park it while the security guards were eyeing me suspiciously, my student was shocked at the state I was in. I could barely stand. “Are you crazy!” she shouted, sitting me down and giving me water. “You shouldn’t have rode here!”
She talked me into going to the hospital finally, where I found out that my hip had been fractured. I was stuck in bed for at least 5 weeks.
I felt lost. I didn’t know where to start. As a freelancer, this meant that my only source of income had dried up—all of my work depended on face-to-face contact hours. I was getting that sinking feeling that I would have to start from scratch.
I realized that I had to start moving online. Learning how to adapt to an online learning environment wasn’t the problem—it was getting myself out there so students could find me. This is what made me nervous. I had no idea how to market myself, and no one to help me get started.
Little by little, I started creating a personal brand. One awkward video after another, I started building confidence in front of the camera. It never seems difficult until you’re facing that big black lens and you’re trying to find the best way to say something.
I started a website just to share my passion and help others find useful ideas. I wanted my students to learn how to learn so they eventually wouldn’t need a teacher. For a while it was quiet…
Slowly my name started spreading around and students started noticing me. I took advantage of each opportunity to build a meaningful relationship, as if they were right in front of me in real life.
The computer screen doesn’t prevent us from reaching out to the human on the other side.
At first, I took any student I could find, but as the review started pouring in, I rose my prices and set my boundaries to attract the highly motivated, those with a clearly defined purpose. That way I had the opportunity to tailor my approach to best fit their specific needs, so they could gain the most from our lessons.
Now I have fewer contact hours, but more quality connections with those clients that really matter. Now I choose how to make a living, instead of pushing myself to make money. I have the freedom to teach when I want, and I can teach from almost anywhere in the world.
It’s not about killing yourself to make a living—it’s about crafting your expertise to find those that care and want to work with you.
Hi, I’m Tyler
With nearly 10 years experience in Turkey and Russia, I’ve taught English for children, English for swaps and derivative contracts, waiters, executives, painters, teachers, and everything in-between to learners from all walks of life, from the ages 4-64.
I have trained hundreds of teachers for Cambridge CELTA, ICELT, and Oxford University Press professional development programs.
I’m from Canada, and my teaching certifications include DELTA from Cambridge and TEFL from the University of Toronto.