New Site Home Resolutions Teaching Privately Lifestyle From Mark
home lifestyle  >  a day in the life  >  the job itself


the job itself

teacher training

I was given thorough, high-quality teacher training when I entered the Smith's system. I was also taught all the administrative aspects of running a franchise school.

During the training, we were taught that we do not call ourselves "teachers." We call ourselves coaches of communicative confidence (C.C.C). Although we do teach our students English, our main goal is to teach them to communicate in English with confidence. The key to our coaching approach is eliciting questions and answers from the students. We keep the teacher talking time (T.T.T.) as low as possible (not more than 30%) and the student talking time (S.S.T.) as high as possible (at least 70%). This eliciting approach is designed to make the students do most of the talking during their lesson time.

the smith's curriculum

The Smith's curriculum is a course of study designed to provide a framework and direction for students and a commonality between coaches.

Most students like to see that they are following some kind of curriculum, which also provides direction. When the coach uses the curriculum, the students can SEE their progress, making them feel that they're moving forward and improving their English. The material in the curriculum increases in difficulty as the student advances, but is built in such a way that material taught earlier is incorporated into later lessons, making students continually review what was taught earlier. If students do not feel that they're following some kind of curriculum (providing direction) and don't see their progress, they will probably quit.

A commonality between coaches is important when more than one teacher teaches the same student. The curriculum is built in such a way that the next teacher who teaches the same student knows exactly what was done the last lesson and what has (or has not) been taught yet. They make this apparent to the student by first reviewing the last lesson's material. This lets the student know that although the teacher's face may change, the next teacher knows exactly what was done before. In other words, the teacher changes but the material doesn't.


freedom to make my own schedule

I have a lot of freedom with the setting of my schedule. Smith's does have some rules I must abide to, such as having my school open a minimum of 17 hours a week, three days a week, including the time of 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. But besides these rules, I can craft my schedule to my liking. I simply let head office know when I'm available. I like this freedom. It allows me the chance to do other things besides teaching English.

I can also close my school when there aren't any lessons scheduled. For example, if I am at my school and don't have any lessons scheduled until three hours later, I can close my school for the next three hours and take off, coming back only when my next lesson is scheduled. I don't have to sit around waiting until the next lesson.


scheduling of lessons

All scheduling for lessons is done through head office. All I have to do is show up for the scheduled lessons and teach them.


the lessons

Class sizes vary between one and three students. I like this because it gives students the opportunity to speak a lot and the small size makes the lessons more intimate. All lessons are 45 minutes long and scheduled on the hour. This means that I have a 15 minute break in between lessons, which is very nice.

The Smith's curriculum is structured in such a way that virtually no lesson planning time is needed. I simply open up my student file, and in seconds, I can see what was done last lesson, and what has and hasn't been taught to the student. So my "lesson planning" is done in seconds. That means my 15-minute break really IS a break.


determining my own income

My monthly income is all the money I collected from students that month minus the expenses of running the business. As such, I have the power to determine my own income. The expenses usually stay about the same. Therefore, if I want to increase my income, I have both increase my student body and keep students as long as possible.

freedom to hire part-time teachers

For now I enjoy teaching all the lessons at my school. However, I have the option of sticking a part-time teacher (or teachers) in my school to teach some or all of the lessons, should I choose to. All part-time teachers are teacher trained in the Smith`s curriculum by head office.

freedom to get extra holidays

All Smith's franchises have the same holidays, amounting to about 90 days a year, which is quite impressive. Should I want to take more time off outside normal designated Smith's holidays, I can easily do so by sticking a part-time teacher in my school. I love that freedom.