The students in you class depend to a large degree on where you work. You could be teaching kindergarten classes, primary or secondary school learners, business executives or students from a local university. Your TEFL course will have given you the skills to teach all these different types of English language student, although you may go on in later years to specialise in certain fields that you find especially rewarding.
In Asia, there is a huge demand for English language tuition for children. This could be at a language centre after their school day has finished (or on a Saturday morning perhaps), a one-to-one private lesson, or actually in a public or private school during the regular school day.
If you are teaching in a language centre such as EF (English First) then your younger students are likely to be from middle class backgrounds simply because the parents of poorer children will not usually be able to afford extra English tuition. These classes are usually seen as a way for the young students to speed up their English language learning progress and get into the top classes at school and then go on to one of the best universities. They may well not have a native English teacher at their regular school so you can think of yourself as an ambassador for western culture as well as being a teacher!
Private lessons are even more expensive as they are usually one-to-one and the long-term focus of these is normally to pass some kind of entrance examination or to work towards the TOEFL or IELTS certificate.
If you are on Japan‘s JET Program or Hong Kong‘s NET Scheme then you will be teaching in local public schools. This can be primary or secondary and are government-led initiatives to improve students’ English language skills as part of their regular education.
If you are teaching adults, chances are that most of your students are studying in order to improve their professional opportunities or with specific goals in mind such as building English language vocabulary that is relevant to their field of work. Sometimes the tuition will be paid for by their company and sometimes not.
You may well encounter many students who work in the tourism industry or those whose job means that they need to communicate in English with clients and business partners around the globe. For example, you might find yourself teaching the staff at a local airline company or travel agency. The majority of these classes will be in the evenings or at weekends simply because they will be busy at work during the day.
Some adults join English language classes for the sheer pleasure of learning a new language. They may have a particular interest in western films, music with English vocals or English literature. A number may have joined primarily for the enjoyment of meeting like-minded people of a similar background in their local area.
Depending on your Work Permit, your nationality and the country you wish to operate in, you can offer private tuition. Some teachers begin tutoring privately alongside their regular job, but be careful who finds out about this as it may be against the terms of your employment or even illegal.
It takes a long time to build up a sufficient number of clients and sometimes students will cancel at the last minute or reschedule at short notice. However, the flexibility and profitability of this way of working can be very attractive to those with initiative.