How to attract more customers to school, and more.

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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How to attract more customers to school, and more.

Unread postby fatma » 03 Mar 2009, 00:52

Dear Lucy,

I have been employed by a private institute as an English instructor. The institute is 20 years old. Now, there is a lot of competition in the city as new and international institutes have opened up. According to my boss, they used to have up to 200 students a month before. Now, it's dwindled to around 50-100. She has asked me to help her draw more customers/students to the school, to do new things with the students, to come up with new ideas, etc.

I have only just started to work there. From what I can see, the problems are:

1. The location is not good; the street outside is dirty.
2. The school needs MAJOR renovation - the grounds, the building, the classrooms, everything is old and unattractive. I have been to many other institutes in the city; they are aesthetically pleasing, professional looking. Customers do see what the place is like; after all, first impression does make a difference.
3. I believe #2 above draws students that are not seriously interested in learning English; they are more interested in socializing and getting out of the house. Many come to class when they please (I have been told this by my colleagues but have not experienced this myself). Usually they turn up late for class and the teachers put up with it, because the students are in their early 20's and are 'customers' of the school.
4. One reason I feel might be why the students are not that interested is because of the teachers. They don't have any ESL/EFL qualifications like TEFL/TESOL, or any other. They have done their Bachelors in English or Education or something, but are not qualified in this subject. I have not seen their teaching yet and have not had much interaction with them as yet, but I got this impression by talking to them and seeing the students. The students really enjoyed my class, in which I played a lot of games. Also, I feel they come from rich families that spoil them instead of disciplining them.
5. And lastly, I feel that the owner is also only interested in her business, but because she is not involved in the teaching aspect, she cannot understand how to improve the situation.

Needless to say, #1 above is something I can only suggest to the owner - to improve the physical aspect of the school. Other than that, as a teacher, what can I do? I can focus on my lessons, and make them as fun and meaningful as possible. I can encourage the teachers to do so as well. But are there some projects teachers could do with their students of different levels, that would be enjoyable, meaningful and helpful for the school in the long run?

I would love to have your input and ideas for this.


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Re: How to attract more customers to school, and more.

Unread postby Lucy » 20 Mar 2009, 14:08

Dear Fatma,

I would suggest that you tread carefully in this area. You are a new teacher in this school - or at leat that is my interpretation of your post of instructor, if I am wrong and your job is management or supervision, please write in again and I will reply again.

As a new teacher, it is important for you to be accepted by your colleagues. Then they can see how you work, learn to respect you and then you can start trying to make changes.

I suggest you work on motivating your students, giving classes that engage the students and motivate them to work well. Do not accept lateness or other issues without making a comment. You can look through this forum for answers I have given on dealing with diffiult classes and on project work. When you give a class that goes well, you can talk about it enthusiastically to your colleagues and possibly make your lesson plan available to others who want to try the same thing. I think this softly, softly approach will achieve a lot with your colleagues.

I suggest you focus on the new ideas and new things to do with students for the time being and let your boss focus on bringing in new students. You can work on marketing with her, when you know more about the school.


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