Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Five Ways To Find Online Private Students

One of the biggest challenges about finding private students is being able to source them. If you think about traditional ‘brick and mortar’ schools, they have the ability to source students for their language institutes, with the use of agents acting in the interest of the language school. Agents will work on the basis of every student that they send to the school, they will be remunerated 10-30% commission – I have heard some agents in South East Asia receive up to 40% whether a student signs up. Anyhow, with the global pandemic forcing private language schools (particularly in the UK) to close, with many institutes being forced to lay off staff, it makes sense for teachers to source potential English students online. However, how does one find students to teach? In this post, I shall share my tips for sourcing possible English students.

1. Specialise Your Teaching

One thing that a teacher must do is specialise the services you wish to offer. Some students may wish to focus on general communicative English skills, while others may want to pass a work-related exam or get that job promotion. It is important to specialise when offering services on a freelance basis. If you offer general English services, you can bet there will be more teachers willing to teach for a cheaper price that you are offering, but should you specialise, there is less likelihood of you being replaced by a cheaper alternative. Think about what you wish to focus on and stick to this.

2. Create A Free Website/Blog

The next thing you will have to do is set up a free website/blog to promote yourself or have a place to share your expertise. Imagine the website being the front of a shop. If your website looks hastily put together, then it will not appeal to potential online private students. You will also have to put some effort into writing some material that may promote your services. If you wish to improve students speaking skills, then you will need to share blog posts aimed to potential English students. To do this, write blog posts associated with speaking: “Top 10 Ways To Introduce Yourself”, “How To Speak More Naturally”, etc. You can watch a video about setting up your own website/blog below.

Learn more about setting up your website with this video

3. Use Instagram and Facebook Groups

Another way to find potential students is by using Instagram and joining some Facebook Groups. If you are using Instagram, share some short tips associated with your specialty with video or photo. Don’t forget to use hashtags ‘#’ when adding descriptions to your photos and videos. It is important to use hashtags which represent the services that you offer: #PrivateEnglishTuition, #EnglishTuition, etc. This will be picked up by potential students and they will be able to send you direct messages. In terms of Facebook Groups, try to either set up your own group for English tuition or join an English learner’s group. Any posts or videos that you create could be shared among these groups. It is also important to share your expertise by answering to questions within these groups or to keep to share brief daily posts which could be scheduled at the end of the week.

4. Connect With Previous Students

One thing that you could do is approach students that you used to teach. I have had private students that have wished to continue their English studies online once they had finished studying at a physical English school. Keep their contact details, connect with them on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This way, they may also approach you after they have finished their face-to-face course. I have kept in touch with all my previous adult students on Instagram and elsewhere, and from time-to-time they get in touch asking whether I can help them with their language learning.

5. Create Self-Study Material

One final point that you could consider investing towards is creating self-study material that students could complete in their own time. However, you could gear it towards students who wish to have some form of feedback could sign-up for a course to gain support from a professional tutor. The only time that you have to invest towards is creating the material. Once it is created, it can be completely automated with a sign-up page for students to fill in if they wish to continue their language study with a person. This would be a useful aspect for your language teaching website.

What do you consider is important when sourcing possible online English students? What do you attempt to incorporate when teaching to private students? If you found this article, don’t forget to show your appreciation.


  1. drnaude

    Great advice as always! These are really helpful tips for newbies and the technologically challenged!

  2. Samantha Santana

    Thanks a lot for the tips! As it is mentioned in the article; if you don’t specialise your teaching, you’ll be beat by cheaper alternatives.

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