I recently got a new student on a Saturday who I had never met before. She had taken a trial at the Karasuma School but decided to study at my school in Okamoto because it is near her home. That was quite a pleasant surprise and it shows how being a member of a franchise school can be so much better than going it alone. I hope that I will one day be able to repay the favor to the Karasuma school.
Smith’s School of English is really great! The school has been around now for almost 13 years and there are over 40 schools around Japan. Many of the schools work together on joint events such as New Year’s Parties, Cherry Blossom viewing parties and BBQ parties. This gives the students more chances to practice English and have a lot of fun.
As Obon 2008 comes to a close here in the Kansai area and the sweltering sun of these dog days of summer soon give way to more pleasant autumn weather. With that many people start thinking of starting something new, such as the study of English. It is time to get back to work to promoting and the fun of teaching!
Oh, I included a photo of my school that was taken in July. I had just bought a couple of Bougainvillea plants and they were in full bloom. Nothing like a little color to attract eyes upward away from the street. You can see Cafe DECO on the lower right and the crepe shop “L’air de temps” on the left. Quite a nice building and being on the second floor 100 meters from the main bus station for the local women’s college is not a bad location either.
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English -Okamoto, Kobe)
Hello Al, Whoever sold that school to you surely had their reasons…You are very lucky and of course extremely hard-working…I am way jealous of your location and signage…I am unable to do that here but that isn’t stopping me from local promotion…Thanks for the inspiration…
Al Bartle says
Hi Jim, Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, it is a gem of a location with two other universities in walking distance too. Okamoto has a lot of foot traffic and two large stations each only 5 minutes from my school. Thousands of people actually walk past my school every day and I have a sign on the street (left side – not seen in the picture) on which I have one of those plastic index card boxes containing flyers. In good times I will have 5-10/week picked up. Even at slow times about 3/week are taken out. Those are the people who have already taken that first step toward taking the trial on their own volition. Together with the occasional (about 1-3/mo.) walk ins I really appreciate these people. Their motivation is great! It makes me want to keep up the good work too! Have fun!
The interconnectedness of our system (wow, big word) is a truly powerful tool and helpful. We at Ohtsu also recently got a new student who lives near Yamashina School and got a Smith’s flyer at Yamashina Station (presumably from Peter at SSE Yamashina), but works in Ohtsu, and so decided to try SSE Ohtsu.
The Smith’s system creates community and support that other [non-Smith’s] school owners don’t get. TEAMwork.
Edward, SSE Ohtsu
Al Bartle says
Absolutely! And it is getting better and better every day with franchisees like you and Chiharu bringing in new ideas for curriculum improvements and promotional ideas. This is definitely the way to go if a person wants more than a basic very limited income. You know, I taught at Berlitz about 30 years ago and the salaries of English teachers in Japan have not increased at all since then while I am sure the cost of living has doubled or tripled. Smith’s School of English has established a very well planned out and reasonable alternative path for English teachers to become school owners in Japan. Hopefully others will come to understand this over time.
Al, SSE Okamoto