My Quora answer to: “How do you get paid for teaching chess?”

The first obvious requirement for earning money teaching chess is that you need to be able to play chess well. This of course doesn’t mean that you have be a grandmaster level chess player but you do need be able to teach from a position of authority which means that you should at least be the equivalent of a 1500 ICC rated player.

The other half of the equation is being able to teach.  I consider teaching chess to be an art form in and of itself. The best way to learn this art, is to sit in on the classes of other successful chess teachers and take notes on their lesson material and delivery.
In order to “get paid,” you’ll need to find students. The easiest way to do this would be to contact local scholastic chess organizations. You can find these by attending scholastic chess tournaments in your area and talking with the coaches of large teams. If you are confident of your chess skills, you can volunteer to go over games in the team rooms of these groups and who knows, you might land your first job or pick up a private student.
Far and away your best source of students will be “word of mouth” recommendations but you will also want to consider starting a website or blog to get your name out faster. Offering free learning material on a professional looking site will  impress any prospective students who are cross referencing a friend’s recommendation. In addition to learning material, you should also list locations where you are holding classes and tournaments you will be attending. This way, possible students can come and see you in action before registering for a session of classes.
Making a strong connection with your students is a must for any successful teacher. For chess instructors, this means remembering that the kids sitting in front of you are actual people and not little robots. Your students need to see that you genuinely care about them and their progress. In addition, you need to be there for them when they win first place or when they have a bad tournament. Being totally committed to every student’s progress is difficult work but without your commitment you will not gain their loyalty.
The fact is that parents will be expecting to see good results from their investment in lessons with you. For gauging improvement, they will be looking at their child’s rating changes and tournament results. Since kids don’t improve in a linear fashion, this means that there will be times where the child shows little improvement for a couple months followed by a sudden rapid improvement in understanding. During the slow growth times, it is important to give honest assessments to the parents and stay positive with the child. Failing to do both will likely result in losing a student just before his/her next period of growth.
The best advice I can give to new chess teachers is that they need to enjoy themselves while teaching chess. Chess is hard work and it is vitally important for a coach to keep the “fun factor” in the game. Without a genuine passion for chess, teachers can not expect their students to enjoy the learning process. If you don’t enjoy the game of chess and working with children, being a chess coach is not a good career choice.
Remember, the most successful professional chess coaches haven’t become so through luck. They have spent countless unpaid hours analyzing chess games, answering emails and offering their services at chess tournaments. If you are not willing to go “all in” for your students and business then you can’t expect to support yourself through chess. However, if you consistently try your best for the kids you serve and use common sense in managing your business, teaching chess can be a fun way to earn a living.
Original Quora answer:

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: