Working Wednesdays: Private Teaching

teaching freelance in hong kong

Private English Teaching in Hong Kong – an extra way to top up your travel account when moving around!

Today’s Working Wednesday is all about a bit of private teaching on your travels! As a person who is qualified to teach English abroad, there is also the option of ‘private teaching’, in essence this is freelance work – you set the rate you earn, the hours you work, the lesson plans for the teaching and generally this is a good option for many travellers! As a world traveller, I’ve done this a few times – the rewards are good and the stress level is non-existent! Plus it’s cash in hand 😉

greenboards teaching privately hong kong

When you teach privately – you set the agenda, the times, the rate of pay and the attire – sounds great!

It all started when I would help friends in England learn English back in 2008. At the time I just sort of helped them with their homeworks for schools they attended. They were all adults, mostly foreigners from Turkey and Hungary living in England. More recently I have done a bit of private teaching in Hong Kong, all in my own “spare time”. I taught some adults who were based on Hong Kong Island. I taught some kids based in parts of Kowloon. But what you want to know really is How do you get a job as a private teacher?

teaching private in hong kong kids

Get yourself a bit of extra work as a traveller by teaching privately – kids or adults alike!

Well the truth is there is no real trick OTHER THAN immerse yourself into the local sphere, by meeting locals, making yourself available and opportunities WILL arrive on your doorstep. I have taught 5 locals in Hong Kong in just over a year, all through word of mouth, hearsay, friends of a friend etc. Locals in places like Hong Kong will gladly pay you for a few hours of decent English time on a weekend. I even had to turn down some extra private teaching work recently as I simply didn’t have the time! Don’t forget Hong Kong NEEDS English teachers!

Here’s my rundown on it (a brief overview – quick tips):

1. Always be on the lookout for private teaching opportunities when you travel!

2. Never turn people down completely (if you can’t work, let them know you are busy and may be able to teach them later).

3. Set a price from the offset (I charge 200 HKD per hour straight off, if they are friends or relatives I bring the rate down to 150 or 180 HKD, or sometimes even free if a decent meal and a cup of tea is thrown into the mix).

4. Be as flexible as you can with age group time, money, commitments etc.

5. Be friendly! Introduce yourself to people. Tell them your story and ask about their lives.

private teaching in hong kong

A nice couple who I helped with a few English lessons about a year ago in Hong Kong!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much can I earn? 

You set the rate and the hours, so in theory you could earn a lot of money fast by doing this regularly. It’s entirely up to you. Price yourself just under your competitors and you might suddenly have locals knocking on your door!

What Materials do I need?

Good question and I’m lucky in that I have access to hundreds of teaching books and own a few myself. Quite often the person who requires teaching will have their own books anyway so you might not need any material other than a notebook and a pen. If you have any decent teaching books, bring them.

What Experience/Qualifications do I need?

NONE whatsoever – as long as English is your main language and you are a good communicator you will be able to to do this.

What Countries can I do this in?

As you can tell I recommend Hong Kong, however these types of private teaching jobs crop up anywhere and everywhere – you will be surprised. Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Taiwan, England, Australia.

Can I live off Teaching Privately?

Short answer is YES! But realistically you will be doing this as an extra on top of another job as there may not be enough work to keep you going financially with this.

How do I get an opportunity of teaching privately?

Once you are in a country, you need to immerse yourself in local culture, ask around, offer yourself to people for teaching, swop phone numbers/e-mails, check advertising boards, advertise yourself, check online teaching opportunities. Basically if you want to work, you can. Anyone can teach privately on their travels, particularly good communicators and those who have English as a number one language.

Good luck and any more advice/tips you have let me know and let others know!!

Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel! Working Wednesdays are a regular feature!

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5 thoughts on “Working Wednesdays: Private Teaching

  • Hi Jonny.
    Thanks for your write up. I am a graduate of Economics. I hold a B.Sc degree in Economics, a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a 450-hour TESOL Diploma certificate. In my country, I am a certified.

    I have plans to migrate to Hong Kong in the near future, say like 4 months time, when my visa will have been delivered. I will like you to connect me to teaching jobs – full-time and part-time. I also would like to engage in private tutorial, if you can help. Or where ever you cannot take engagement, I would request you forward such contacts to me so that I can teach there.

  • Hi Utuk, Thanks for your email. The best advice I can recommend is get your flight to Hong Kong booked and look for a job when you get there. Working Holiday visas are a good option – . HK employers will want to meet you face to face for interview before hiring. Good luck! Jonny

  • Hi Jonny!
    Im moving to HK very soon, and although my salary is not too bad, I could really use some extra bucks ^_^
    Could u recomend me any website to find students in HK?, so far I´ve just run into small sites with very few movement and or very old entries 🙁

    Also, Im not a native English speaker, but I have broad experience teaching, specially kids in academys and one to one clasess, do you think that would be a problem for locals?

    How is the demand on Spanish language BTW? I have never taught my mother language, but I guess I can give it a try.
    Im Spanish, but lived in Dublin for a long period 🙂

    Thanks a lot mate!, if we ever meet in HK first Guiness is on me 😉

  • Hi Bruno, thanks for the message. It’s been a few years since I did any private teaching and I got them through friends of friends, so there is no real website or tip to find them. I would say as a Spanish teacher you could get a job teaching Spanish in some parts of Hong Kong, but English teaching jobs are everywhere and the best tip I always give is to head straight to Hong Kong and start looking straight away for a job and you will find one for sure! Safe travels. Jonny

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