The perks and perils of being a private teacher

After having taught at several different schools for a long long time, I’ve been teaching private classes for a while now. I’ve decided to do so so that I could have more flexibility and more time to study and work on different projects.

Needless to say, teaching private classes has its own features. Sometimes I feel as if I were learning how to teach all over again and that’s been a real challenge. By a stroke of luck, I’ve come across a lot of interesting articles on it these past few weeks and they’ve made me ponder over it a lot these days. That is why I’ve decided to write this post and share what I’ve been going through with you …

  • Being organized and getting things done: I’ve always been a very organized teacher. However, I’ve found out that being very organized was not enough. I’ve become an extremely organized teacher as I have to do everything myself. Planning the semester, printing roll calls, getting copies, buying materials, making coffee and tea, having all students’ phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. at hand are some of the things which have become part of my new routine.
  • Missing the teachers’ room: sometimes I do miss being in a teachers’ room and talking to fellow teachers over coffee. And I do feel all alone most of the time. Magically, I’ve come to terms with it while reading Vivian Magalhães’ post “The pains and gains of having your own blog or website”. In her post, she mentions that one of the webmasters of some educational sites she interviewed for her dissertation paper, “Neil Coghlan (from, once referred to the internet as ‘the biggest teachers’ room in the world’.” And never before have I been so connected. I may even start blogging! Over coffee, for sure!
  • Reflecting, learning, and sharing: as I don’t attend any teachers’ meetings and I have no one to share with, I’ve taken more and more online courses. These courses have helped me deepen my knowledge of some very important aspects related to learning and teaching and I’ve been able to share very interesting activities and ideas with people from all over the world.
  • Teacher development: as I said before, I’ve been on my own. Thus, in order to develop myself as a teacher, I’ve been trying to do much more than I did before – I’ve been spending more time working for the teachers’ association I’m part of – and to try out new things – after reading Carla Arena’s post “Try Twitter before ignoring it”, I’ve decided to try it and now you can find me there, as well!

If you ever decide to become a private teacher, just get in touch! I’ll be pleased to help you out!


Michele Schwertner is a freelance teacher, teacher trainer, and e-moderator. She has been teaching English for over 20 years and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Educational Technologies at UFSM (Universidade Federal de Santa Maria). Her research and teaching interests lie in teacher development, distance education, CALL, digital learning/teaching materials and resources, e-moderating, multimodalities and multiliteracies.

  • Eliana Grimm
    Posted at 21:41h, 16 junho Responder

    Boy, can I relate to this! I’ve taught in a few schools but have mostly been teaching privately for the past 5 years… sometimes it’s just SO boring! I miss the classroom dynamics, the excitement, the noise, the activities you can do with more than 2 students! Teaching one on one can be a real challenge depending on the type of student you get. The only reason I don’t miss a teachers’ room is because I keep in touch with some of my ex-colleagues through Skype or FB, but, yeah, it’s not exactly the same since they aren’t always online… I am currently trying to get a part-time job at an English School just so I can have some excitement with bigger classrooms, but it’s been tough since working as a private teacher obviously pays better and gives you a lot more flexibility time-wise. :-/
    Thanks for the post and tips! I need to try out some online courses, never done it before… any you recommend?

  • Michele Schwertner
    Michele Schwertner
    Posted at 15:45h, 27 julho Responder

    Dear Eliana,
    thanks a lot for replying to my post! It’s so good to know I’m not alone!

    Something I’ve been trying to do is teach groups, as well. So, I’ve got the best of both worlds – teaching private classes and being able to use several different classroom dynamics and activities, to have the excitement and lots of noise (as you mentioned).

    Here you have some sites where you can find lots of courses… you take many MOOCs on Coursera very interesting and good courses for English teachers very nice courses for English teachers


  • Eliana Grimm
    Posted at 20:32h, 27 julho Responder

    Thanks for the info and tips! Will check out the links and try out an online course. Hopefully this next semester I’ll have some new students and larger groups to tickle my fancy! 🙂

  • Talita Menezes das
    Posted at 15:06h, 21 novembro Responder

    Hi, Michele!
    I’ve been thinking about teaching private classes but I’m struggling with designing my own material. Do you recommend any workshop or online course on it?
    Thanks in advance

Post A Comment