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Teaching English in companies - info needed
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
Italian to English
Dec 4, 2005

Can anyone give me advice on a sample contract which could be used when teaching in companies? Not working for a school, but directly for the companies concerned.
Also how would payment normally work in these cases? Half at the beginning and half on completion of the course? Or would you normally invoice the hours worked each month?
And does anyone have advice on dealing with companies who - due to work commitments - keep on postponing lessons? Obviously if the course has been paid in its entirety up front then it's the customer who is effectively "losing out". Any advice greatly appreciated!

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italia  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
Italian to German
+ ...
my 2 cents Dec 4, 2005

I have been working mostly through schools, but have however also had the chance to see how they handled these points.
In a contract you should maybe include the following aspects:
* 24 hours notice for cancelling lessons (for Monday lessons Friday afternoon at the latest)
All lessons which are cancelled the same day on which the lesson is due, are going to be charged
* participants list: on which the students sign at the beginning of each lesson
* monthly billing including the orginal of the participants list+ invoice on which all lessons are listed up (easy to handle with an Excel-Sheet, containing a course language code, hourly rate in 60 or 90 minutes+ number and exact date of lessons held)
* make up for each course a new name and specify the courses'details (one-to one, group course, intensive or extensive course) in your quotation.
* try to be as transparent as possibile and also add your General terms and conditions to the quotation
* apply the same rate both for group and one-to one courses
* agree on the material to be used: the best thing is to indicate some books and let the HR department order them on their own: this will avoid you trouble in advance as you will not have to collect the money yourselve from the students.
* create your own teaching material and make sure you can ALWAYS make inhouse copies . Thus will help you a lot and save the cartridge in your printer. Experience shows that sometimes comapnies are not willing to pay for the material.
Therefore a way out could be suggesting to make copies directly at their premises.
* Suggest to carry out a progress check during the last lesson. Remember to charge for it, as correcting these PC is really time-consuming
* Hand out feedback sheets to be filled in by the students by the last lesson and prepare a commentary on the group or one-to -one performances in which you state the progress made and advise on further steps (more lessons etc)
A good idea as regards the compiling of your course feedback is to stick to the descriptions of the EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE FOR LANGUAGES, specifying exactly the level reached (A1- C2).
Drop me a line through my profile page, if I can be of further help.
Good luck!!!

[Edited at 2005-12-04 14:21]

[Edited at 2005-12-04 14:21]

[Edited at 2005-12-04 18:16]

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German to English
+ ...
Teaching English in companies - info needed Dec 4, 2005

Hello Fiona,

italia has already made a few good suggestions and I don't have much to add! One or two things I would do differently though...

- sell a 'course' of 10-15 sessions as a package with payment up front instead of billing on a monthly basis. It gives you more security and makes it easier for companies to plan if you present them with the costs ahead of time. It would probably be a good idea to agree a time frame in which courses need to be 'used up' -- or you might just find yourself 'owing' companies work for years to come!

- I would charge more for group courses than for one-to one sessions! You will probably have more preparation, marking, needs analysis etc to do with a group.

- re copying/materials: either make them on company premises or make them somewhere else and just include the costs in your hourly rate from the start! Service knows no bounds

Here are a few (Business) English books I've found quite useful:

Teach Business English (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)
Sylvie Donna
ISBN: 0521585570

Teaching English in Italy (1994!)
Martin Penner
ISBN: 1873047169

Email English
Paul Emmerson
ISBN: 1405012943

Business Grammar Builder
Paul Emmerson
ISBN: 0333754921
(in conjunction with the three-book series 'Business Builder'. Excellent materials! Cover everything from social English and telephoning to presentations, negotiations, discussions/meetings, and busines reports etc)

Business Vocabulary in Use Advanced
Bill Mascull
ISBN: 0521540704
(+ the 'standard' first edition)

Here's a link to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages mentioned by italia.



[Edited at 2005-12-05 11:23]

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
Italian to English
Thank you Dec 4, 2005

..both for your input and extremely helpful suggestions. I appreciate it very much

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
My experience Dec 5, 2005

I used to teach Business Italian at Berlitz Israel.
Typically they would sell packages of 24 lessons (3 academic hours each) to small groups (4-8 students) and packages of 15 lessons (2 academic hours each) to individuals.
Cancellation/postponing of lessons is a major issue and you have to be very strict, otherwise you will find yourself in trouble.


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:37
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I agree with what Italia said, Dec 5, 2005

However, I would limit the number of students in a given class to no more than 8. Very large classes reduce the opportunity of students to participate actively (and you need that in a language class) and are very exhausting on the teacher. Rather have multiple smaller classes.

Not only that, with smaller groups you can plan fun lessons more easily and do fun stuff like go to an English movie after completion of an X-portion of the course, English restaurant, picnic in the park, English play, etc.

My 2-cents

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Patricia Lucanera
Local time: 06:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
More about in-company courses Dec 5, 2005

Hi Fiona,

I agree with many of the tips our colleagues gave you, I´ll just add a few comments. I´ve been teaching English and Spanish in companies for 20 years, although now I mostly coordinate a team of teachers.

-There are two kinds of training we offer in Argentina: permanent, three or four year regular courses, for people with a low to intermediate level, 3 hours a week on average, and short (8-10-15-20 hours) workshops on special subjects (giving a presentation, preparing for the TOEFL or TOEIC, receiving visitors, writing emails, etc.).
We don´t generally sign a contract for the permanent courses (I´m not saying this is advisable, it´s just the practice here), while for the workshops, you get paid in advance or 50%/ 50%. It also depends on the clients: are they new or you have been working for them for 5 years? Are you teaching one student or ten groups of five? You can decide how "flexible" you can be in each case.

-In my experience, it´s very difficult to make groups bigger than four people. First, if it´s a permanent course, and you´re teaching by objectives, the chances are you´re not going to have four people from the same department taking their classes at the same time. And if you do have them, do they all have "similar levels"? Do they get along well? I never encourage groups bigger than 4.
You should definitely charge more for group classes.You have to juggle with different levels and sometimes prepare extra material for the ones with the lowest level. If the company pays for their traning out of the company, they will have to pay for each employee, won´t they? If a one-to-one course is, say, $30 the hour, then a group of two could be 45 and so on up to a maximum rate you decide.

-The attendance record should be signed by each student at the end of the class, and you can also wite down what you do every class. Then at the end of the month you give it to the students together with the invoice, unless you have a different arrangement with the company.

-As regards cancellation, you should set your policy clear by sending an email to the Human Resources Department and your students, and confirming they´ve understood how it works. I generally ask for a four/five hour cancellation notice the same day, or before 5 in the afternoon the day before for morning classes.

All the books Engsol suggested are great, I´m suggesting some Internet links where you can get great material for free:
Site from Macmillian Publishing House, if you subscribe you can have access to wonderful material, and they send free updates
every week.
About English,,

Hope it helps,


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