In the summer months, students around the world will be taking a much-needed break from their studies to enjoy the warm weather. They will spend their days relaxing at home, getting some sun on the beach, or taking trips abroad with their families. Some students may use their spare time to practice their English and will consequently book a few extra lessons with their favorite teacher. However, many will also be too busy vacationing to devote any time to English lessons.
Whatever the case, you are likely to experience at least a slight drop in bookings in the summer months.
There are several things you can do to prepare for this summer slump in order to mitigate any downtime, and subsequent loss of income, you could experience.
This article will explore three different strategies you could use.
You can start by understanding your current students’ vacation schedules. Then you can adjust your hours accordingly and use the opportunity to possibly recruit some new students, while using your spare time wisely to work on lesson plans and your profile. You can also use the prospective downtime to schedule your own vacation.
The first step to preparing for the summer downtime is to understand the vacation schedules of the countries of most of your students. You may have students from all points of the globe, and this could make it a bit more challenging. However, that could also be an advantage because they won’t all be taking their vacations at the same time.
For most teachers on italki the students come mainly from China, Russia, Europe, and South America (especially Brazil). It also makes a difference whether your students tend to be school-aged kids or working adults. Children will have more prolonged breaks, while adults will have less free time. Generally, Chinese students go on summer break starting in early July and return in late August. Many Chinese adults try to take a vacation in July or August. Europeans tend to take vacations in August and September. In Brazil, and the rest of South America, December, and January are the summer months and this is when children and many adults take their longest vacations.
Whatever the case is, it is a good idea to talk to your regular students and find out if their schedules are going to change. It’s possible that they may want to use their spare time to work on their English and take more lessons. In that case, you won’t need to adjust your time very much at all. However, you could find that many of them will take some time off. Also, you probably won’t be getting as many trial lessons or new students from your regular target audience.
You can adjust your calendar to open lesson slots in areas of the world that you normally don’t pull students from, in order to offset the decrease in lessons from your normal target area. For example, if your normal working hours make you available mainly to Chinese students in the evening, you can adjust your hours so that you are available to South American students in the evening. This may require you to split your day into two parts, or wake earlier and end your day earlier. However, this is actually a great opportunity to experiment with different time zones and markets. You may end up finding that your profile appeals to a new or different market, or that you like your new schedule better for some reason.
As a precaution to offset any downtime and reduced income you may experience, you should evaluate your finances and adjust your budget, so the loss of bookings doesn’t sting your wallet as much. Once you have done that, you can plan to use the downtime productively. Use this time to work on projects that will benefit you in the future when your schedule returns to normal. For example, this would be an excellent opportunity to create new lesson plans or update existing ones. You can also use this spare time to update your italki profile and profile video. It also wouldn’t hurt you to update your other social media accounts and profiles you use to promote your teaching. Lastly, you can use this time to update your skills by enrolling in online certification courses. You could become certified in specific skills such as teaching business English or teaching ESL to children.
You could probably benefit from a short vacation yourself. So, schedule your own time off. Use this opportunity to take a short trip or a relaxing “staycation” of your own. This way, you can rest up and get ready to go back to work full steam when your students return to their regular schedules.
Whatever the case, it’s just around the corner, so start planning soon and good luck!