Readers of my blog may remember that a while back I moved from the safety and stability of contractual work to the danger and instability of freelancing.
As a contracter the grass always looked greener for freelancers who had more control over what they did or didn’t do. They also didn’t have to go to meetings (something I hate with all my soul) unless they were paid. They also escaped other life sucking and demoralising menial tasks like moving desks and resorting tape cupboards.
I was also very attracted by the diversity of work people had and the glamorous lifestyle of the infamous ‘corporate teachers’ who I imagined jetsetted round the world with their clients whilst sipping fine wines over a copy of Market Leader.
Now, after a few good months of the freelance lifestyle, I can say that it’s not quite as easy, well-paid or glamorous as I had imagined. It is interesting but there are a few things that make it inherently challenging:
1)You are constantly working, job hunting and chasing up new work.
2)Some employers seem to think you are a missionary and work for free and live off thin air or the sheer joy of teaching/
3)Chasing up payment is a real pain!
4)The admin is unpaid and can be quite a lot
5)You generally aren’t paid for travel time or costs so if you teach in 3 different places in 1 day you could spend most of it travelling and it could cost you a fair bit.
6)No sick pay. If you are ill you don’t work and so no money.
7)Some places don’t give any contract or give it at the end so all you have is a ‘verbal contract’.
8)The nice woman who give you regular work is great until she goes on maternity and the new guy doesn’t have a clue about how wonderful you are.
I could go on….but I won’t.
HOWEVER, I do think that the average DELTA/MA grad should go freelance unless they have a very challenging job. Why? Because after a few years of teaching and with good qualifications doing the same old GE classes just isn’t enough any more. You need stretching and challenging. I like teaching different levels, backgrounds, courses, 121s, online, on the phone, in the park, in the wendy house, by messenger pigeon, English for hairdressers, English for cleaners…
Yet, the biggie is DOES IT PAY? Well, you work and work and weekends are given, evenings too yet you may have free time in the day. Sometimes I think “wow, I’ve mad …much this week, I’m loaded” but then you realise that you haven’t been paid for 2 months because some employers don’t want to or they forgot. For this reason there is a huge difference between what you have earned and what you have made. This makes freelancing certainly NOT for the faint-hearted. You have been warned!!!