Well that’s a good question. First, I like being able to set my own schedule. Second, I have the personal satisfaction of knowing that I am giving a good lesson since the Smith’s curriculum is solid and was developed considering the needs of Japanese students but is open-ended enough to be expanded to meet the needs of all students. Third, I feel good to provide a good lesson for a fair price while not gouging students for a year’s worth of lessons as all the corporate schools do. The monthly tuition system really fits the lifestyles of Japanese students. Fourth, the Smith’s staff is great! I get compliments all the time from my students on how kind and helpful they are when the student books a lesson or has to change the lesson time. Fifth, I know that I have a business, albeit small currently, that depending on my effort and with the help of the Smith’s staff can be grown to whatever size I want. I will be the one to decide when to rent a larger space or hire a teacher or take on a partner or sell, but I know that I can get advice from Mark Smith whenever I need it. Support from the Smith’s head office is excellent!
What else do I like? Well, I really like the place where my school is located. Okamoto is a great neighborhood, with nice people, good restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it has one of the highest densities of attractive young women to watch in Japan. Literally thousands pass in front of my school every day. They seem to be enjoying their college lives and like to dress up and stay with the latest fashion. Ah, if I were only a twenty years younger!
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)