Thursday, March 10, 2011

English Tutoring in Israel Today - Competing in a Tough Job Market

by Allan Hirshey

Over the past several decades, the supply of English teaching professionals in Israel has not only caught up with, but has exceeded the demand.  This has resulted in a flood of mostly unemployed English teachers, trying to find jobs in an already over-crowded English tutoring market.  The latter is now strictly a buyer’s market, with no end in sight!
         
The underlying causation factors can be summarized as follows: the large number of local teacher training colleges/universities with English departments, pumping  out hundreds of English major & teacher graduates annually; the same institutions offering  one-year English tutor certification programs, designed for older professionals seeking career changes; the steady influx of “Anglos” toting B.A. and M.A. degrees in English education, exacerbated by the sharp downturn in the global economy;  and even the number of presently employed English school teachers seeking additional income, via the tutoring route.        

Consequently, if you want to stay “a cut above the competition”, here are some   points to remember:

1.     Hebrew Language Proficiency – the lower the age of your student target group, the higher the Ivrit level you’ll need.     

2.    Educational Qualifications - relying on only a B.A. in English education isn’t realistically competitive.  You’re either going to have to beef up your education level to an M.A. and/or obtain instructor certification in perhaps one or more of these specialties - ELS, TOFEL, or SEN . 

3.    Marketing Strategies - maintain updated CVs, personal references, & business cards. For starters, volunteer your services at local community centers and schools.   Post tutoring flyers on neighborhood bulletin boards, and keep checking the JANGLO, ETNI, & similar websites for job opportunities. 

4.   Knowledge of Local Pay Rates - don’t be caught off guard.  Know in advance what the remuneration standards are in your catchment areas for groups & individuals.  In this regard, be flexible & sharpen your negotiating skills.  You’re going to need them!

5.   Technical Expertise/Skills - bonding effectively with younger clients is critical.  This is especially true if their parents are “arm twisting them” into being tutored.  Strengthen your bonding expertise by studying & practicing psychological techniques.  NLP is a good example.         

6.   Psychometric Readiness  - develop & maintain your own system of written tests.  It’s not uncommon to get insufficient client feedback from apathetic classroom teachers.     

7.   Reference Materials -   invest in and build up your own personal library.  There’s tons of free material on the “net” you can download & file away.  

8.   Office Technology - in addition to a PC, owning your own copying & fax machines save time, money, & also increases work efficiency.   

9.   Work Environment – minimize noise & window space.  Loud colored walls & pictures can also cause distractions.  Position wall clocks behind the student.      

10. Creative Entrepreneurship – think of starting your own English tutoring business, wider in scope, with one or more partners’ (each having own specialty & separate network of contacts).  Of course, check out the potential revenues & expenses – this might be a way to go!     

With that said, focus your attention on yourself rather than on the competition.  Don’t be discouraged, and don’t give up.  Always maintain a positive attitude.  If tutoring English is really your passion- GO FOR IT!

Information about Allan Hirshey, the author

I ‘m a native Baltimorean & retired “Fed”, with a 30+ year career span, now living with my wife & four children in Jerusalem.  Having B.A., L.L.B., & M.S. degrees enabled me to “wear many hats”, during my working career.  Some of these positions included lecturing in accounting at a local community college, developing legal cases for Medicare/Medicaid fraud prosecution, and directing the U.S. Public Health Service’s Hill Burton hospital loan portfolio (San Francisco RO).  I also managed the reimbursement operation for the Community Mental Health Centers Program, a national outpatient mental health program, administered by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Baltimore, Central Office).  

After making aliyah, I decided to begin a new career.   Accordingly, I obtained professional counseling and English tutoring certificates from Refuah Institute and the Natanya English Center (under AACI auspices), respectively.  Presently, I provide voluntary counseling, including Reality Therapy, to yeshiva students. Additionally, I do English & basic math tutoring.  I also learn in a yeshiva half a day.  Express Tutoring is the name of my formal tutoring service, & business English is my specialty.  A few years ago, I developed a “Business English 101” course for an Israeli teacher’s college.

During my spare time & in order to maintain my sanity (whatever’s left) , I play tennis, write articles, listen to a variety of musical selections, do genealogical research, occasionally attend NLP workshops, and enjoy babysitting with my grandchildren.      
    

13 comments:

  1. There are so many Certification Programs! How do I choose the right one?

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  2. Good post,thanks for the information! I have been doing research online looking at different Certification Programs so I can start a new career.

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  3. You are Clearly mentioned what you think. It easily understand to me.

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  4. Smart post and so good blog
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  5. Hi Allan,
    This is a good post and I absolutely agree with you about how the tables have turned in education these days. I taught English in Beijing for more than a year and there were so many people coming from the USA that were unable to find jobs there; just due to their American accents, they were qualified to teach in China. These ideas that you've posted are all good and there are alot of potential ESL teachers on LinkedIn that are asking the question, "How do I get started?" and "How do I know what to charge?" In this competitive market, I would add one more. Don't be afraid to cold call. I'm a Business English teacher in Houston and I regularly call the oil and gas companies to see if they need an English teacher for their expat employees or someone to teach basic survival English to the Hispanic workers working in their shops. It's a great job really, you just need to put yourself out there. Thank you for your post.

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  6. TKS FOR YOUR BLOG, V.INTERESTING. AFTER WORKING AS ENGLISH TEACHER AND MANAGEMENT POST IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTION,LOOKING SERIOUSLY INTO POSSIBILITIES OF WORKING FULL TIME AS ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR, FOR ALL AGES AND LEVELS. APPRECIATE YOUR INPUT,ASSISTED ME IN CONTINUING MY QUEST TO START UP FULL TIME AS ENGLISH TUTOR. I AM ALSO A LOCAL, FROM NETANYA.

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