Why I Don’t Teach Privates

For those of you not on the peninsula, teaching privates is a lucrative sideline which most foreigners do at least occasionally. Basically, you meet with a student and frequently just have an hour-long conversation with them in exchange for $40-50. Sounds good, right? Yet, I haven’t done them in years, partly because my free time is worth more than that to me. Mainly, though, I don’t like teaching one-on-one. I’m not a big chatter, and neither are students that need to pay someone to speak English to them. You know when talk shows have guests that don’t talk? That’s what it’s like. For an hour.

Unfortunately, for me, my school has a student about to interview for a boarding school overseas. About two months ago, the parents realized he couldn’t speak English and now that it’s his last four weeks, he’s coming to see me ten hours a week. One-on-one. I’m not a miracle worker– two months of twice weekly lessons has not made him fluent. Now, I’ve got to get him ready for an interview. Sigh.

Here is a breakdown of our daily two hour session:
About 20-30 minutes of actual work.
Three trips to the bathroom, not during his break.
At least thirty minutes of robot/ machine gun sounds.
My “firmly” reminding him to sit down, about every other minute, sometimes more frequently than that.
Him saying, “I’m not doing that,” as each new task is introduced, while simultaneously pretending to fall asleep.

Despite the fact that he has been pulled out of school, he has not had time to do any of his homework yet. So, a fair amount of the precious few productive minutes are spent on work he should have done at home.

The best part? This is at school, so I’m making OT, which is considerably less than private rates.