Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.
— Robert John Meehan
Statistics show there are approximately 900,000 French teachers throughout the world, engaged in one of three roles:
- teaching French language to native speakers (in the same way that schools in Australia teach English)
- teaching students who are learning French as an additional language, because they live in a French speaking country
- conducting French classes with students who are learning French as a foreign language.
In Australia, French has been taught at high school and university level since the 1880s and it is still one of the most commonly taught languages in our curriculum.
Have you completed your French studies? Looking for some extra cash — or a rewarding career?
Wherever you are in the world, Australia or elsewhere, you might like to look into working as a freelancer — a teacher or private tutor specialising in teaching French as a foreign language.
Keep reading to learn about your options as a freelancer, including how to become a freelance French tutor, what you have to do about tax, and other valuable advice when it comes to teaching French as a private teacher or tutor.
Pros and Cons of Freelance Tutoring
In Australia, tutoring is a billion-dollar industry, with around 70,000 tutors either employed by a tutoring agency or working as freelance (or self-employed) private tutors.
In Australia, unless you are just tutoring for some extra cash while you're a student, you generally need to register online as a sole trader and obtain an ABN.
When you're self-employed (sole trader or freelancer), you have to do everything yourself — or hire someone to do it. This includes business administration, scheduling, finding students, tax and so on. Of course, you can hire people to help you with this.
A good French tutor will be passionate about teaching French as a foreign language and will engage students, whether they are beginners, intermediate or advanced, through varied and interesting teaching activities and lesson plans.
A freelance French tutor does not exactly have the greatest job security but there are substantial benefits to offset this:
- You decide the days and times you want to teach.
- You decide upon the price you will charge for your language classes.
- You can work wherever and for whomever you want.
- You're in charge of how many students you take and what hours you work.
- Tax and insurance is your responsibility. (This may seem to be a negative, but many people like the control and choice.)
- If you work overseas, you may be eligible for tax benefits.
On the downside, the paperwork and administration can be a nightmare if you don't know what you're doing or you fall behind. An accountant is a useful investment.
Steps to Take to Become a Freelance French Language Tutor
Anybody can work as a French tutor in a freelance-style role — tutors don't need specific qualifications or training to teach private students, although, if you are working with children and young students, you will need a working with vulnerable people clearance.
When you register your business, you must nominate if you are self-employed or a sole trader and need to identify your field of work. You will find one that stipulates teaching, tutoring or education.
The type of information you may be asked to supply includes:
- basic details (full name, date of birth, address, nationality etc.)
- marital status and/or dependents
- business name
- business address
- type of business and work being done
- starting date.
Registering as a Freelancer (or Sole Trader)
Once you've registered your tutoring business, you can start earning money — and this means also declaring it for tax purposes.
If you don't already have one, you'll need to apply for a tax file number. Once you've done that, it's simply a matter of remembering to fill in your tax return every year, which is now a super-easy process found online.
Initially, you won't have to register for GST and do a BAS statement each quarter as you need to be earning over $70,000 to do that. However, it's always best to get accurate advice from an accountant or financial advisor.
There are plenty of online guides on all these topics, as well as online support to help you navigate these processes.
That's pretty much it.
Once you've done this, you'll be ready to start.
If you don't want the responsibility of teaching or tutoring on your own, think about applying to be a French language assistant.
Tax Implications in Australia
As mentioned, once you start earning an income, it has to be declared to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Generally, this is every year after June 30 but if you register for GST, you'll need to go through the process every quarter. Seek advice before you do this!
Remember, if you're working for a tutoring agency, they will deal with all of this. Freelancers do everything themselves. Take a breath, you can do this.
If you're teaching or tutoring overseas, in most cases you'll be able to manage your financial affairs, like tax, online.
When it comes to invoicing, there are rules around the wording. Check these online, or ask an accountant for advice.
Running Successful French Classes as a Private Tutor
Most people dream of being their own boss and this is achievable as a freelance French tutor.
Here are a few tips to get you started with running your own French classes or private tutoring lessons as a full-time career.
Manage your time
Routine is essential. Structure your classes, private lessons and group courses so they are logical and allow you break time or travel time. Make sure time is allocated for administrative tasks as well. Don't overdo it — know when to stop. Tutors often take on too many students and end up teaching 20-hour days.
Find your niche
The most successful freelance tutors don't agree to tutor every student, at every level, in all subjects. They limit their scope.
If structured vocabulary and grammar tasks are your thing, you might focus on providing help for students who are undertaking revision for proficiency exams. If conversation is your forte, and you excel at speaking and listening, you might decide to focus on students who are preparing to travel to or live in France. If your skills lie in reading and writing, you might mainly run classes in literary translation.
Think about the level and student you feel most comfortable with, too. If you don't particularly like children — don't take on primary school students. If you are not confident in some of your skills, or with certain advanced topics or subjects, then only take beginners or intermediate students.
Allocate a workspace
If you're tutoring in person at your home, or online, make sure your teaching space works for classes and is an environment conducive to learning. Have all your teaching and learning resources at hand.
Keep up with your own French studies
The best teachers and tutors are lifelong learners — read widely, keep up to date with teaching trends and keep your French language conversation and grammar skills polished.
French Tutoring in Melbourne
Twenty-one per cent of French migrants to Australia choose to live in Melbourne. In addition, Melbourne also has one of the highest concentrations of people learning French — in 2018 alone, nearly 50,000 students completed French studies in government school settings in Victoria, over fifty per cent in Melbourne, and this doesn't even account for the extra-curricular studies and adult French enthusiasts.
There are similar numbers in Sydney as well.
French tutoring in Melbourne, as well as Sydney and other regions of Australia, is in high demand.
Are You Ready to Start Tutoring?
A confident teacher leads to a confident student. You will be no help to your students if you are uncertain of your skills, whether they are your teaching skills or your French language skills — reading, writing, speaking, listening, vocabulary, grammar, general conversation — if you have self-doubt, your students will know.
Engaging a private tutor from Superprof is a great way to banish those doubts. Superprof tutors offer three types of lessons:
- in-person private tutoring
- group lessons
- online tutoring (both private or group).
Once you've found a Superprof tutor with the right level of experience and skills to meet your needs, you can be assured of a tailored learning experience.
Ask your Superprof tutor to provide you with conversation practice, especially if your speaking and listening skills are a little rusty. If you need further studies in more technical vocabulary or advanced grammar, your Superprof tutor should be able to help with this. You can also ask your Superprof teacher to focus specifically on reading and writing if this is what you need.
Whatever you need, your Superprof tutor is there for you.
When it comes to price, Superprof tutors provide value for money. An online session is cheaper than in-person because there is no need for travel expenses. A group session is budget-friendly because you share the cost with other students (and these are also great for conversation lessons).
Look for opportunities to start your French tutoring in Melbourne and other areas of Australia — and have fun.
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