British people of all ages are using TEFL, CELTA, TESL and TESOL qualifications to teach English to foreign students who pay to stay in their home. If you’re tired of the slow job market or just want a career change, here’s an idea: why not teach English to foreign students in your own home for up to £650 a week per student?
Few people realise the huge opportunity that exists to turn paid for home stays into a career or supplementary income. But that’s what Jane Davies has been doing for the last eight years. She and her Wiltshire-based family have been hosting students on paid for stays from all over Europe during that time. She says it offers a flexible, satisfying and lucrative alternative to a full-time job. “I love the flexibility,” says Jane. “You’re not governed by managers at work. I do what I please and include the children who are staying with me so they can immerse themselves in English life and learn our language,” she says. Jane – who is also a qualified coach with British Gymnastics – took a CELTA course (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) so she could teach English in her home. The qualification requires no previous teaching experience but it can lead to a teaching career.
Midlands-based Pauline Finlay and her partner Neil de Reybekill also offer paid for stays in their home. Both are former academics who began hosting foreign students in 2010 when they realised they wanted a career change. They have hosted 40 students from all over Europe since Pauline gained her CELTA qualification. Last year was their busiest when they hosted 20 students, each for between one week and three months, but more typically two to four weeks. English lessons form the core of a stay in their home. “We now require all visitors to do a programme of lessons with us, and we try to maintain an English-only environment,” she says. Pauline says a highlight of her career change has been, “Working with some great young people, most of whom stay in touch afterwards.” It was a similar desire for change that led Chris Williamson and his wife Vicky to offer home stay language learning opportunities in Brighton in 2001. They now provide a fun, immersive, educational English courses in their home. Chris obtained a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification to learn how to teach English while Vicky is a qualified school teacher. “We offer two hours of English lessons every day as well as sports and day trips,” says Chris, adding, “The lessons mustn’t feel like school because it’s a holiday, after all. They can be games or just conversation. We develop lesson plans to meet the needs and desires of each child.”
Demand for the service is huge. According to Peter Goldstein, Founder and Director of Lingoo.com, a website that helps to arrange language exchange and paid stay holidays for children and teenagers, demand is far greater than the supply of British families who are offering it. “Every week, people across the world conduct thousands of searches on our site for British Lingoo homestay members offering a paid for stay in their home and the search volumes are far greater than the number of weeks available. We need more English-speaking host families,” says Peter. To become a host, all you need is a spare bedroom in a friendly home and be willing to offer activities and day trips. English lessons are attractive but optional. Everything is paid for by the visitor and, when booking via websites like Lingoo.com, charges are arranged between both parties. Other than that, says Jane, you also have to be motivated to give students a great holiday through an authentic experience of English home life. Jane says, “If you treat hosting children on paid stays in your home as ‘just a job’, it won’t work. You need a passion for pleasing other people and a desire to offer companionship.” And that, she says, is one of the reasons why she continues to enjoy this work so much.
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