Having a native English speaking English teacher means several things to students. I guess status is a factor for some – having a ‘real’ English teacher over a Mexican English teacher seems to be akin to owning a BMW rather than a Ford. For some. There is also the perception that a native speaking English teacher is better. Which really depends.
I personally won’t take on beginners or really low level students. They are better off with a Mexican teacher, who can not only provide quicker one word translations, but has probably studied English grammar for longer and more recently than any native speaking teacher the student is likely to find. They also have more recent experience in learning English, which they can utilize and share to the students benefit.
There is a market for us native speakers though. We do have our benefits! For an advanced student, a native speaker is in a much better position to teach idioms, phrasal verbs, common collocations, slang and generally improve fluency.
We have one more advantage. We’ll always give the lesson in English. The inspiration for this post came from a lesson I eavesdropped on at a job yesterday, at a table a couple of metres away. An hour and a half’s worth of English lesson, at intermediate level with a Mexican teacher, conducted entirely in Spanish. Entirely. I never heard a single word of English. So fascinated was I by the whole thing that I almost forgot about my own students!
The market for English teaching, at least from my experience, seems undiminished despite the financial crisis, rocketing food and fuel prices et al. In fact I am thinking of putting my prices up in the New Year to 250-300 pesos per hour, from the current 180-250 pesos per hour. But I guess I’ll wait and see how things pan out.