We teacher-owners of Smith’s School of English are very lucky to be able to enjoy not only the rewards of owning and operating our own schools but also to make a difference in the lives of our students and to really be able to help them to realize their full potential. Unike the teachers at the corporate schools, who I am sure also work hard to help their students, we have more freedom to tune the lesson to the needs of the students and make that very important little extra difference that pushes them over the top.
Of course we cannot single-handedly assure their success. They must make extra effort outside of class. Adrian’s words about homework, reminded me that such extra-class activity by the student is essential. His words about the level of success reached by some of his students reminded me that in the end the most important thing is the success of our students to reach their goals, whether that be to get a higher TOEIC score, to pass EIKEN Grade 1 or successfully be accepted by a graduate school in the US, the UK or Australia. We must always have the student’s success as our goal as well. We must remember that we are more than teachers. We are mentors, advisers and supporters. There is no success more fulfiling than to help a student reach his or her dream.
60% of all the English conversation school students would have joined that other corporate school next year (approx. 200,000 students throughout Japan!). Instead they will be choosing another school and hopefully most will be a lot less likely to be sucked in by another corporate school with a 6 or 12-month plan and claiming to be different from that school. It is time to show our students what a real school with teachers having a vested interest in their future can do to help them reach their potential. Our success is measured by their succcess and not the success of our company’s stock price. We are not going to earn $1,000,000+ annual salaries while teaching no-one nor are we going to be able to cash out most of our 70% stake in company stock and disappear from public view. We are going to be out their in front of the station greeting potential students with a smile and working hard in the classroom to make a difference in our students’ lives.
So I want to pledge here and now to do my best to help each of my students to reach his or her goal in the New Year! Let’s do it! Let’s make it happen! Success brings success!
Go for it!
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)