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Opened your OWN school or plan to? ...or tutored 1-to-many?
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 938
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Opened your OWN school or plan to? ...or tutored 1-to-many? Reply with quote

Who here has started their own school (or given serious thought to it)?
This is the 3rd private franchise school in a row that I've submitted my departure to leave prior to my contract termination. A Chinese friend of 10 yrs in Beijing has been trying these past years to persuade me to go it alone so I'm seriously thinking of taking him up on his offer to assist me.

A search for "own school" at forums.eslcafe.com netted:

An ESL Management Forum OP in 2008 wrote:
Hi all, I've been teaching English for ten years now, first in France and for the last eight years in Catalonia, not far from Barcelona.
After four years working in private schools, I figured I could make more money just doing private classes and I was right.
Anyway, the next idea is to open my own school pretty soon. I have to present my friends at the bank with a well-written business plan and I have to find the right place but it's time that the idea stopped circling round the upper atmosphere and finally came in to land.

Is there anybody out there who has taken the same path and can offer some tips and warnings?
Opening my own school is the way forward, or not?

No one responded perhaps as few school owners/managers have the time or inclination to go to that forum--not much active discussion. Here's another unanswered one from the previous year: Starting an English School
Quote:
I've been living in Japan for almost 2 years and have decided to take all my knowledge from experiencing teacheing at the corporate English schools and starting my own school. I am aware that it does take a lot of research and prep, but I wanted to know of any tips or sites you might know of. Right now it seems the biggest obstacle is getting students. Thanks for all your help.


But here's one of 2 hits for "own school" from none other than our fluffy friend who just happens to be back on home turf possibly contemplating just such a venture himself:
Quote:
What if you have potentially better ideas? Much as doubtless the majority of even these more progressive school bosses wouldn't like to hear it, to teach conversation well a teacher must actually be allowed to develop a personality, and from that their own individual approach (and who else knows the students better, or more importantly, "has" to "teach" them - get to know them, and have them get to know him/her etc). So perhaps the ideal situation would ultimately be to teach self-written lessons privately, or set up one's own school (but those who haven't quite that amount of drive or initiative might like I say get lucky and find a more progressive type of school).


Had enuff 2 Fluff? Wink [/list]
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have. Decide on a strategy: e.g. what will you teach, and what won't you teach? How does that fit in with the availability of good teachers? HOw will you get such teachers and also where will you teach? (N.B. these are not always easy questions to answer, often having legal and financial ramifications).l

Also, will you stand out? Even if the sums seem to add up, competition is likely and you need to ensure that you have a quality concern and one which develops, including gaining the respect of local people. This last point is important, as the people of different countries have rather different expectations (whether or not you think they are silly), e.g. grammatical leanings, native speaker fixations, American or British English preferences, etc etc.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. Yes, we're very busy people. If you have particular questions, then ask them on this thread, but don't just expect us to write everything about 'how to run a language school' (unless you're a publisher).
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Ariadne



Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A while back there was a fellow who was absolutely convinced that he was going to be able to open and operate his own school. He had a Chinese partner lined up and was really enthusiastic about the whole deal. I can't remember his name or the name of another poster who was very helpful about details regarding doing business in China. It was a very interesting thread. The guy who offered business info was the guy who has a business related to food safety. After many hassles the prospective school owner gave up but he sure did fight the fight for a time. Anyway... maybe this bit of information can help you track down the thread.

.
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 938
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ariadne: Thanks, I'll search for that thread

Coledavis: at this point I need to continue with the market research that I started (on my own) while at Longman School last summer to verify my assumption that what that school does and this one isn't just ineffective, it not what parents most want for their children.

If I do go ahead and start my own school, I don't expect to hire any other foreign teachers, it'll just be myself and a Chinese co-teacher/and or partner. By the way, a search for "own school" on Beijing's expat site resulted in far fewer hits than I expected given the number of foreigners who now own their own businesses.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People open their own schools all the time. Are they really officially a school (that pays taxes), or just a spare room somewhere in a cafe or their house where private lessons meet? Keep that in mind.

True official schools can get tax write-offs for things, and if you have a business/investor visa in Japan, I think you can't be the one to teach in it, plus you need 2 FT Japanese employees. So, there are legal things to consider, in addition to the expected headaches of renting a facility (vs. opening up a spare room in one's home), paying taxes, getting a proper visa (if necessary), advertising, fixing a curriculum, hiring help (from teachers to receptionists), accumulating office supplies (from stapler to copy machine to tables & chairs), installing a phone, determining a screening process for students and separate classes, determining means of assessment & means to move up a level, fixing a fee schedule and rate, etc.

I wonder what the ratio is of successful long-term schools like that vs. those which end up folding after a couple of years. And the reasons for failure.
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bulgogiboy



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 787

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I talked about opening a school in Turkey, quite a few years ago now, and my Turkish friends advised just going down the unofficial 'spare room school' route, in order to avoid taxes, and a large amount of red tape. I would imagine China has a similar, if not larger, number of hoops to jump through. If you want to open a school, I'd suggest either going 'off the books' or going somewhere where the state doesn't have such a paranoid grip on the day-to-day dealings of people, especially foreigners.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought people were talking about real schools, not illegal establishments. I don't know about the rate of failures. In legitimate schools, it probably has to do with your market and quality. Although in some countries, they may fall prey to criminals or over-bureaucratisation.

In these glorified tuition centres, run in spare rooms, then they probably get shut down for being illegal. I hope so. I have no sympathy with people who don't want to pay their taxes and if you're running an illegal joint, it's part and parcel of the whole affair.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
I thought people were talking about real schools, not illegal establishments.

In these glorified tuition centres, run in spare rooms, then they probably get shut down for being illegal. I hope so.
Many people teach private lessons in Japan, whether in their homes, the students's homes, community centers, cafes, etc. Government has better things to do than chase them down.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
coledavis wrote:
I thought people were talking about real schools, not illegal establishments.

In these glorified tuition centres, run in spare rooms, then they probably get shut down for being illegal. I hope so.
Many people teach private lessons in Japan, whether in their homes, the students's homes, community centers, cafes, etc. Government has better things to do than chase them down.

I wasn't referring to individual tuition, if that is what you mean by 'private lessons', Glenski, although even then I think people should examine their consciences. Re governments' priorities: my concern is a moral one, not a matter of what you can get away with.
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bulgogiboy



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 787

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
Glenski wrote:
coledavis wrote:
I thought people were talking about real schools, not illegal establishments.

In these glorified tuition centres, run in spare rooms, then they probably get shut down for being illegal. I hope so.
Many people teach private lessons in Japan, whether in their homes, the students's homes, community centers, cafes, etc. Government has better things to do than chase them down.

I wasn't referring to individual tuition, if that is what you mean by 'private lessons', Glenski, although even then I think people should examine their consciences. Re governments' priorities: my concern is a moral one, not a matter of what you can get away with.


Coledavis, do you ever do private lessons? If so, do you immediately notify the relevant authorities, for tax purposes? I bet you don't. I bet if you teach privates, you pocket all the cash yourself and don't give a hoot about your tax obligations, right? What exactly is the difference, in terms of morality, between profiting from teaching a 1-to-1 private lesson 'off the books' in your home, and calling it a 'private lesson', or doing the same with a number of groups, as part of a timetable, and calling it a 'study center', etc?

By the way, thanks for sharing your moral indignation with us all. Laughing
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You bet wrongly on each occasion.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9583
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taxes? Taxes? What are these taxes of which you speak? Legalised extortion is a better name for it in Russia, Cole, don't you think?
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. I'm sorry but I think people come out with this sort of thing as a post hoc rationalisation for what they are doing.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
Glenski wrote:
coledavis wrote:
I thought people were talking about real schools, not illegal establishments.

In these glorified tuition centres, run in spare rooms, then they probably get shut down for being illegal. I hope so.
Many people teach private lessons in Japan, whether in their homes, the students's homes, community centers, cafes, etc. Government has better things to do than chase them down.

I wasn't referring to individual tuition, if that is what you mean by 'private lessons', Glenski, although even then I think people should examine their consciences. Re governments' priorities: my concern is a moral one, not a matter of what you can get away with.
By private lessons I meant that in addition to someone's regular employer, a teacher will take on students themselves on the side completely separately from their own employer. Private teaching. It may be an individual student or groups, so the term "individual tuition" does not necessarily apply. I understand your feelings about conscience, but just letting you know that system is quite common here in Japan. Of course, if you want to pay the taxes, nobody is going to stop you. And, if you want to set up your own home for it, that's generally ok, too. (Some apartment managers frown on it.)
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