Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Private Students

Earlier, I posted some of my ideas about teaching private students---those you get on you own without a company. These now make up the largest part of my teaching time. I still work on a contract basis for a corporate teaching company for which I have worked with since 2000, (Except for a 2 year nightmare with Berlitz during which I taught a few courses off and on with them) but I have my own company courses as well as numerous---as many as I want right now---private students. I will modify some of my ideas and maybe add a few.

I suggested that one should not get involved in "lessons" which are nothing but sitting around and chatting---or trying to. However, if the "student" wants this--a minority do---and if you are willing to do it, why not? There may not be a goal nor objective and no way to measure progress or much of anything else, but frankly, when a large percentage of people WILL NOT study or prepare, there is little difference. Why waste your time preparing a lesson for a student when he/she spends no time preparing for it? It is pointless. Of course, being your own boss, you could dump this kind of student. Just become "too busy" to continue teaching the person. They'll get the hint.

Write out your lesson policy in easy to understand English, and give a copy to the prospective student at the first meeting. Emphasis that you are serious about it. (For example, if you say you don't do "free conversation" as a class, make sure this person realizes that you are now feeding them the usual horse manure.) Many people will agree with everything you say during the first meeting---this is Japan after all---but then tend to forget any and everything agreed to soon.

Ignore every single person who says that they will study and prepare. Assume that it is false. That way, in the extraordinary case in which someone actually does that you will be pleasantly surprised. You will find that you are suddenly a much better teacher. This is sort of a hint, that unless you are a total nitwit like some whom I knew at the place where I had the nightmare experience, it matters little what the teacher does. The most important thing for success or failure is the student's efforts. Period. Forget Steven Krashen, CLT, whole language and all of that. If they won't study, you could just about stand on your head and whistle Dixie and be as successful as you would trying to assist someone who comes to class for an hour a week and makes no other efforts.

Deflation is dying in Japan, and some price increases are noticeable. Pass all costs on to students as a general rule. Copying, transportation, some people even charge the student for the coffee they drink if a lesson is in a coffee shop. Why not? At 230 to over 500 yen for a cup of coffee which you must buy to sit in one for an hour or two, it eats into your pay fast. If you gotta use one, you aren't the person who should pay. I don't do this, but am considering it in the future. Of course, it could be a tax deductible business expense too if you buy it (I am not sure ), so keep records for when you pay taxes.

More to follow later as I learn myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment