Many people ask me what my job is, and I always answer the same thing – an English teacher. However I feel I’m much more than that to my students at Hirakata. I’m their friend, teacher and advisor; or at least I try to be. Obviously I don’t have all the answers but I try to give them the best advice I can when dealing with whatever issues they encounter. Sometimes it’s in class if it can be worked into the lesson but usually it’s over a cup of coffee somewhere nearby either before class or after. Smith’s gives me the flexibility to do that.
This year I’ve found that ex-students and friends of students have been coming to take a trial lesson. Each time it makes me smile as it means that I made somewhat of a difference in their lives to mention my classes to their friends. Just the other day I ran into my student at a convenience store just around the corner and she told me that she’d like to bring some of her coworkers to her class the following night. I was flattered and told her that it should be fine but for her to call the office. She said she’d try but she was in a hurry and wasn’t sure she’d be able to contact Smith’s in time. Ideally having her call would have been the best but as I’m always glad to meet my students’ friends I said I’d contact Smith’s for her.
I quickly got on the phone while she was still standing there and explained the situation to the guys at Smith’s front desk. As my school isn’t in the most visible of locations having people come to my classroom is a real joy. Smith’s came up with an idea of how to keep the schedule the way it was but allow my student to bring her friends without causing any trouble. Years back at my previous school this would have been impossible. For them everything needed to go through the right channels taking time and, more often than not, telling me the thing I didn’t want to hear – No! It boggled my mind when my previous company would tell some students to come back another time that was more convenient because of the schedule. While some did come back, others never did. In my eyes getting students to just come in and take a trial lesson is a success whether they choose to join or not.
In this industry sometimes one chance is all we ever get. The room that we have, the clothes that we wear and the lesson we present is what convinces them whether they want to join or not. However being a smaller school without all the big budget advertising of Nova the first trick is to get the students in the door. I’m glad to know that Smith’s agrees and is willing to go the extra mile for both my existing and future students.