As a long-time Smith’s School of English franchise owner in Sagamihara, I have seen things change over the years. And it is all for the better.
Teaching in Companies
Let me briefly go way back to when I first got started and knew nothing. I worked several part-time teaching jobs for many prominent companies, teaching employees. I was given a textbook, and they said “teach it.” I had classes of students of all levels grouped into one class. So, it was pretty much impossible to walk away feeling satisfied, knowing that some had no idea what was going on, others getting impatient with the lower level students, and all of them being forced to sit in an English class after work. They were tired. They didn’t want to be there.
Following that I went on to work full-time for a language school that enabled us to group the students into classes of similar ability. It was a little more satisfying, but we teachers were required to follow a very strict regimen in every class, leaving very little freedom to be “ourselves.” I had had enough of that “robotic” teaching.
Now a Smith’s School of English Franchise Owner/Teacher
Finally I decided to take the leap and become a Smith’s School of English Franchise Owner in Sagamihara. At the time there was a structure to the lesson that we were required to adhere to, but it was very loose, enabling us to present and teach the lessons in our own style. Since then, it has loosened even more. As of now there is one small (but important) requirement to be included within each lesson, but the rest is on us, because our CEO has our full trust. We are free to teach lessons in our own way. Another point that will always remain common amongst all Smith’s Schools is that the students continue to do the majority of talking. Not the teachers. We know how to do that.
Committed to Smith’s and Japan
I am happy to have gone from “here is the textbook, teach it,” to a very structured lesson style with textbook (boring for all), to a Smith’s School of English Franchise Owner/Teacher. We are an evolving group of people with trusted freedom to teach in our own style. How did this happen? I think it is because we are the only foreign-owned English school franchise system in Japan, flexible, and not afraid to make changes. Every franchise owner/teacher has been in Japan for many years. It is a commitment that we made, so we are real good at what we do. No one is looking over our shoulders and telling us how to teach. No need for “a boss.” With that said, Smith’s School of English Sagamihara is 17 years strong now, and I’m still loving it!
And guess what? We don’t use, have, or need a textbook with these veteran teachers!
Here is a 2-minute video entitled “Smith’s School of English Japan Moments.” Have a look if you want. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTX3nUJ4gnk
Jim, Smith’s School of English, Sagamihara, Japan. http://smithweb.co.jp/sagamihara/