CRB Disclosure (Continued....)
It's more or less expected these days, so you need to get one. You cannot apply for a CRB and Disclosure certificate yourself and need to obtain one through a registered body such as a teaching agency or completelycrb.co.uk. A CRB certificate may give you an advantage over teachers who don't have one.
References - Testimonials
You might have a nice face and all the right documents but none of that says anything about how well you teach. For that reason it's very important to request written references from all your students or their parents. Assuming you've done a good job, it's very rare for anybody to refuse, and these references can be a great help in reassuring nervous or uncertain parents. If your referees agree to allow you to give out their names and phone numbers to allow checks, all the better.
Whether you want to teach little Jonny Simpson, whose school exams are approaching rapidly or whether you plan to offer residential English courses to overseas businessmen, you need to know your subject and what your students are going to want or need. Obtain the syllabi for whatever exams you expect to help students work towards.
Information on UK school syllabi can be found at sqa.urg.uk and curriculum.qcda.gov. These sites have a lot of information and links to other useful sources. In addition there are sites such as tes.co.uk which is the times educational supplement and boasts a huge teacher network.
Advertising – Promoting yourself
Before you think about promoting yourself, or advertising your presence, ask yourself exactly who you are trying to reach. Until you can answer this you will waste huge amounts of time and money advertising in the wrong way, at the wrong time, to the wrong people. Think hard about where you advertise, and how. Advertising in local newspapers can be effective, if a little expensive, but people typically trust such advertising if it looks professional. Unfortunately, it's also short term – typically an advert in a paid-for paper lasts for a week and then vanishes under the cat litter.
You have doubtless seen countless adverts pinned up in shop windows and on their noticeboards, but have you ever stopped to watch who reads them? Are the people who read these notices likely to be your potential customers? It's a question you need to ask. Word of mouth can be extremely effective and it's what will provide a source of income for you once you're established, but unless you are lucky it won't be enough on its own even then.
One way to get started as a freelance English teacher is to do voluntary work. This brings you into contact with students and other teachers and is a good way to start building contacts. You may find that one of your local schools or a local charity that provides language tuition for immigrants and refugees is looking for volunteers to assist in certain areas or activities. Volunteer. In addition to helping you develop contacts, it also gives you valuable teaching practice.
So, we inevitably come to the internet. There are usually one or two local directories you can register with, but their effectiveness can vary. Thomsons and the Yellow Pages are a good start, but most aren't worth the effort. The obvious solution is to get your own website and market it properly, taking care to ensure the site is as professional in appearance as you (hopefully) are. Your website, once created, is your 24-hour salesman. For more advice on getting online, see our 'a website of your own' section.