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making it a success? how do you do it Mark? 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:33 pm
Posts: 65
Location: nagano japan
Post making it a success? how do you do it Mark?
Hi Mark, I just read your awe inspiring story about how you met your wife and how you came to be an English teacher. I just want to ask for some tips and advice on how you made a successful school on your own. What do you think is most important in teaching english? how to attract students and more importantly how to keep them!? What is it that makes students want to learn from YOU? In the past I had some students who came on a regular basis, some parents were happy wth games but some others left, and i think they didnt like the games part, and there was a real lack of communication. I tried to get as much information from the parents regarding their expectations. I never used a text you see and pretty much tried to do it myself, with my materials which i made at the time. Now my husband and I are settling down into our own house, not apartment and have no plans in moving, this is it, where we are and i want to start teaching at home again, but I have a real lack of confidence, despite taking up a TEFL course. I never ever quite manage to keep my students. What can i do differently i ask myself. What is it that works for you Mark? I know your busy too so, please write if you can whenever you have the time.

Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:15 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Well, I'd love to tell you I have a magic wand :) I would certainly wave it in your direction.

Truth be told, things here are great, but most of that has been just blessings and good luck. I seem to have been in the right place at the right time quite a bit. I also live in my wife's small hometown where our family knows a lot of people. My kids are in the baby circles through to elementary school and I'm now a leader of sorts for the local volunteer fire fighter's group.

Anyway, that has worked my way into part-time opportunities and other things to support my school/family. I have what I feel is a rather undeserved positive reputation and that is very important. (I say undeserved because most of the people who say I have a good school have never seen a class.)

I have kept some students for going on 8 years now, but plenty have quit and I know how you can take that as extremely personal. However, some teachers and some students don't mix and that's just the way things are. Some students think they want to learn English, but then decide they don't ... You just have to do your best and hope that it helps.

My main stance in teaching and keeping students is not to focus so much on teaching :shock:


What I mean by that is if I can create a positive environment and get students to want to be involved and know more. They'll do the learning. And want to.

I certainly have a lot of games in my classes, but I have a stronger reputation as being a serious person. Seriously! So, we have games and play, but we do so with purpose and I do expect the students to learn as we play. I had to back off a bit recently because I realized I was pushing a few groups too much. I might have lost some students doing that.

I'm a bit goofy and if I can say so myself, good with kids. That helps.

I have a little booklet that I give out to each new student when they come for a trial lesson. It explains how my classes run and why I do things that way. Maybe that gives people a better idea of what to expect as we go along, because I also don't have a textbook or workbook for my kids classes. (For adult classes, I do use a textbook.)

Lastly, I did do some things to make me look good for new students walking in the door. I guess it would be a bit of dressing up the package ... I created that small info packet mentioned above with my school's information, information about the class and something in their about the school's website and events. It had an official looking sign-up sheet to go along with it. I can send that information to you if you'd like.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:13 pm
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