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How to deliver services and products as a Language Teacher Rebel

How can you as a Language Teacher Rebel deliver products and services online? In this article, we’ll look more specifically into each of the commonly used methods of delivering language tuition, and we’ll also explore their pro’s and con’s.

One-to-one (live)

One-to-one (live) is a lesson in real time with one client, delivered through for example Skype or Zoom. You sit in front of your computer for a set amount of time and speak directly to your client.

Expense/cost: low

The cost of delivering a one-to-one lesson is very low. Skype or Zoom is free, and as long as you have a laptop and a broadband and material to use, you can deliver a lesson easily. You may want to set up a booking system to make it easier for you to manage.

Time: low

If you have set up a digital library with teaching materials, you shouldn’t have to spend hardly any time on preparing your lesson. You practice speaking with your clients, go through homework, introduce and explain new learning modules and set new homework.

Resources/tools: low

You have your teaching material on your laptop, which may require some initial organising, and you’ll use certain online tools (Skype or Zoom, for example), but it doesn’t require a lot of resources to get up and running.

Tech skills: low

If you have never used Skype or Zoom it will require a tiny amount of time to get used to it, but this method of delivering requires comparatively low levels of tech skills.

Scalability: low

Here’s the downside of teaching live. You can’t really scale this type of teaching beyond how many hours you’re prepared to teach. However, you will get loads of useful feedback on what you do, which can give you ideas for other products that you could design in the future. So if you’re just starting out, this is an excellent way to get hours under your belt and get used to working online.

Group (live)

Group live sessions are group lessons that you teach online. The format is pretty much the same as for one-to-one, but you’ll have more than one person in your session. Again, you’ll sit in front of your computer and teach for a set amount of time.

Expense/cost: low

This is pretty much the same costs as for one-to-one, which is almost none. You can make group calls on Skype for free with up to 25 participants. Zoom also is free for up to 100 participants, but only for up to 40 minutes for group calls (it’s free for an unlimited time for one-to-one calls). Zoom offer monthly paid plans for longer group calls.

Time: low

Again, this is very similar to one-to-one live sessions as you’ll be teaching live and you’ll have your digital teaching library set up.

Resources/tools: low

Same again as for one-to-one, as it’s the same type of delivery method. Sometimes teachers who teach group lessons mention that it can be a little difficult if any of the participants have connection problems, or sit in a noisy environment. Things like these will obviously affect the rest of the group, whereas when you teach one-to-one it’s not so much of an issue.

Tech skills: medium

Because you’ll be connecting more people into one call, there are a few more things to think about (and a few more things that can go wrong). However, it’s quite easy to do a couple of test runs with some friends, to make sure you feel comfortable with the format before you start professionally.

Scalability: medium

With group lessons, you can take on more students for the time you’re teaching, which means a higher hourly income for you.

Online courses

An online course can be delivered in many different ways, but it’s usually a pre-recorded video course with accompanying exercises. It could be videos of you talking into the camera, and also recorded slideshows. This means that you do not teach live, but the student goes through the course at their own pace. It can be a course with little or no contact with you as a teacher (100% self-study), or it could involve sending in certain assignments for you to correct and give feedback on (for example written assignments, or video snippets of their speaking practice). It could also be a membership/subscription service, where you give access to your training materials (for example video tutorials and workbooks) for a specific cost for a set amount of time (think of it like a gym membership).

Expense/cost: medium

A good online course will require a higher financial investment than teaching live. For it to be of decent quality, you may need to invest in some equipment beyond your laptop and your phone. You might want to get a good microphone and a good video camera, for example. It doesn’t have to be super-fancy, but probably a little bit better than what comes with a standard laptop. If you choose to host your course on a platform (like Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, Teachable, etc), there can be costs involved there too.

Time: high first, then medium

This method of teaching is very much a case of producing first and then letting the course work for you. I wouldn’t view this as passive income once you start selling your course, as you need to work on marketing when you launch the course. And you may want to offer your students some kind of community where you can help and support them (for example a closed Facebook group), which requires time too. But a lot of the time is spent designing and creating the course, and a little bit less so after that. The idea is to create the course and then sell it repeatedly (perhaps with some minor updates).

Resources/tools: medium

For the same reason mentioned under expense/cost, this will require some more tools. For example, you’ll be recording and editing video, and you’ll probably also use a few more tools to market and launch your course. You may also choose to use a platform for your course, as it can be a lot of admin work to set up a delivery system on your own.

Tech skills: medium

Recording and editing videos will be the main tech skill required with this type of course, that you wouldn’t necessarily need when teaching live.

Scalability: high

Because it’s an online course, the scalability is high. You sell the course or access to the material, not your time, so you can accept as many students as you like.

Blended courses

A blended course could for example be an online course that also includes a couple of live sessions (one-to-one or group sessions) in the price, or perhaps a live webinar. Think of it like a VIP/Premium version of an online course. It will require some extra time to set aside to do the live sessions, but otherwise, the criteria are quite similar to the online courses.

Other products

There are many other products that you can create and sell online, to complement your online business. You can sell recordings, videos on particular things (like a master class) and e-books. You can also create exercises or worksheets and sell them too.

For someone who is just starting out, I would say that the easiest way is to begin with one-to-one live sessions, but with a view to create other offers later down the line. When you begin with one-to-one sessions, you can refine your online teaching methods and also gather reviews and feedback, which you can later use as social proof for selling your other products.

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