Gone paperless indeed! No more fax! It was no small task for Smith’s School of English Japan, but it got done! Part 1 of this three-part series is here in case you missed it- https://sse-franchise.com/evolving-english-school-smiths/ In this segment I will tell you what we have done away with- mainly mountains of paper.
Gone Paperless in the Classroom
Back in 2005 (when I opened), everything was paper. Although no students were ever required to purchase textbooks, our entire curriculum consisted of hundreds of pages, stored in 4 -5 binders. It was organized very well, making it very easy for any teacher to select a lesson in minimal time. We often made copies of the supplements for the students to take home- more paper. Hundreds of cards were printed, laminated, and organized by the staff for all new owners. That required many hours and a lot more paper and plastic. All of that is no more.
Gone Paperless With Communication
All communication between teachers and Head Office was through fax. All faxes sent and received were filed in a binder in case we needed to refer to them later. Thousands of pages over the years. All of that is no more.
Teacher schedules for the following day were faxed to individual schools at around 9pm each night. Any changes to our schedule resulted in a fax coming at any time of day. If a teacher wanted to close down for any reason, a phone call to the office was necessary, with a follow-up fax for the record. I remember one day my fax machine “died” in the afternoon. In a panic, I ran to the nearest electronics store to buy a new one on my break. I hooked it up, and was able to communicate with Head Office again. No need to worry about that happening again.
Head Office Nightmare
We have a “free dial” telephone number (0120-222-248) that will always remain. That is how students from all over Japan used to reserve their lessons. It must have been ringing all day, and driving our staff crazy with reservations, cancellations, rebookings, inquiries, etc. I cannot imagine how busy they were between sending faxes and dealing with phone calls. Sometimes I received faxes that were meant to be sent to other schools. With all that confusion, it is no wonder mistakes were made. Most of that is no more.
Our webpages were okay, but not near as good as they are now. There was a very basic map to our schools, but landmarks in town sometimes changed (not reflected on the map), making it difficult for prospective students to find us. Head Office staff would give trial students directions to our schools over the phone. Sometimes the staff would fax me and say “she can’t find your school. Can you go to the train station and get her?” More wasted time. But that is no more.
Ultimately Gone Paperless
While much of Japan STILL relies on faxes for communication, Smith’s School of English has evolved in a very steady and systematic way over the years, eliminating paper. It wasn’t easy for our founder and staff, but it got done, making everyone’s job easier. My final blog on this topic will explain “what it is today” for teachers, students, and staff. Thanks for reading!
Jim, Smith’s School of English, Sagamihara