Starting Your Own School

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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby baberenglish » 31 Mar 2012, 19:42

If you follow that Taiwanese model you will be dead in the water.
I opened up my own school 6 years ago, I teach the way I want, don't worry about student's test scores in school. I focus on the 1% of students that actually give a shit about learning English. I don't bs to parents, I don't bell curve my tests. I have very low turnover, keep the ratio low, students stay with me for 3-4 years.
Living fine.
Here is a question you should consider.
If you really want to model yourself by paying attention to the Taiwanese 'way' , do you think parents that are looking for better improved test scores want to have a foreigner that has no experience with the Taiwanese school system? They will go to Teacher Blowass down the street that has traditional posters all over the place. They come to a foreigner because they want something the 'system' doesn't offer.
Follow the mantra of Jerry McGuire and you'll do just fine.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby ironlady » 31 Mar 2012, 22:03

That sounds very reasonable, especially given the numbers. There are SO many kids who need to learn English (read: just about all of them) and even the small percentage who have sensible parents or a different attitude should be enough to keep such an operation afloat, if not to feed it until it turns into another bloated Hess or Kid Castle.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby funkymonkey » 31 Mar 2012, 22:08

baberenglish wrote:If you really want to model yourself by paying attention to the Taiwanese 'way' , do you think parents that are looking for better improved test scores want to have a foreigner that has no experience with the Taiwanese school system?

What would make you think that we have no experience with the Taiwanese school system? :loco: All long timers here I know, who own an English school, are usually quite familiar with the Taiwanese school system. Some have taught in them, others have children attending them, etc. The parents can get the best of both worlds and they know it.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby Abacus » 01 Apr 2012, 10:05

A) Location, Location, Location.

B) You can use an alternative curriculum but at the end of the day you also need to deliver test scores.

C) A lot of savings to not only invest in setting up a school but to tide you over during the lean years.

I work in a foreigner owned/ran school that is doing well. One reason that it works is that it's the only school around for kms and it's less than a km from 2 elementary schools. It's not a wealthy neighborhood but these parents still want English classes.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby Petrichor » 01 Apr 2012, 17:13

I don't know much about buxibans, but one thing I know as a parent who pays for private tutors is that what I'm looking for is quality. And quality means a tutor who knows where my son is at and has a clear, committed vision of where he needs to be. If there is quality I'll pay and I'll stay. But I'm not Taiwanese, so maybe just ignore me.

Good luck with your venture anyhow!
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby PigBloodCake » 01 Apr 2012, 22:47

Petrichor wrote:I don't know much about buxibans, but one thing I know as a parent who pays for private tutors is that what I'm looking for is quality. And quality means a tutor who knows where my son is at and has a clear, committed vision of where he needs to be. If there is quality I'll pay and I'll stay. But I'm not Taiwanese, so maybe just ignore me.


The $1 million question is: how do you measure quality?

I'm sorry but test score is the most rudimentary way of measuring quality amongst students, period! No ands, ifs, or buts.

I'm pretty sure Harvard, Stanford and the likes would agree with me on this.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby PigBloodCake » 01 Apr 2012, 23:04

baberenglish wrote:If you follow that Taiwanese model you will be dead in the water.
I opened up my own school 6 years ago, I teach the way I want, don't worry about student's test scores in school. I focus on the 1% of students that actually give a shit about learning English. I don't bs to parents, I don't bell curve my tests. I have very low turnover, keep the ratio low, students stay with me for 3-4 years.
Living fine.
Here is a question you should consider.
If you really want to model yourself by paying attention to the Taiwanese 'way' , do you think parents that are looking for better improved test scores want to have a foreigner that has no experience with the Taiwanese school system? They will go to Teacher Blowass down the street that has traditional posters all over the place. They come to a foreigner because they want something the 'system' doesn't offer.
Follow the mantra of Jerry McGuire and you'll do just fine.


You're in what I would consider to be the niche market. Now, do you honestly think that there is a high demand for niche market products (and why do you think I would use the word 'niche' if there IS a high demand for it....and why do you think I would infer that this is more practical in a place like Taipei where more families have disposable incomes)?

Bismarck is in what Taiwanese would consider to be the boondocks (Tainan). Now, do you honestly think that there is a high demand in that area for the type of services that you're offering? Perhaps you're offering this in Hualian and so my apology for this paragraph if this is *somewhat* true.

Finally, I didn't exactly and completely written this off but I actually said that Bismarck should only consider offering this ONLY AFTER his business is in the black.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby touduke » 02 Apr 2012, 16:23

I feel it's all very wrong, and I no longer want to be a part of it.


that sounds like pissing in the wind. Maybe good during the winter.

I'd like to focus on the two "its" in the sentence I quoted from Bismarck.
"it" is the school system, "it" is Taiwan, "it" is the way parents think, "it" is the way things work here etc pp...
You have to be lucky, good and very lucky to change all THAT for you.

IMO baberenglish made a very sensible post - to do things differently you have to sell something not many people here want to buy.
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby Petrichor » 02 Apr 2012, 17:11

PigBloodCake wrote:
Petrichor wrote:I don't know much about buxibans, but one thing I know as a parent who pays for private tutors is that what I'm looking for is quality. And quality means a tutor who knows where my son is at and has a clear, committed vision of where he needs to be. If there is quality I'll pay and I'll stay. But I'm not Taiwanese, so maybe just ignore me.


The $1 million question is: how do you measure quality?

I'm sorry but test score is the most rudimentary way of measuring quality amongst students, period! No ands, ifs, or buts.

I'm pretty sure Harvard, Stanford and the likes would agree with me on this.


It depends a lot on the parent I suppose. I was in education for nearly 20 years and I certainly don't measure quality of teaching by the test score. I flatter myself I can tell a teacher who understands and cares about my child's education from one who's happy to put them through the mill regardless of the impact on the child in order to get a particular result. Guess which one I prefer.

However as I said I'm not Taiwanese and have nearly zero experience of the market.

One thing I can say is that devoting your working hours getting tired, demotivated children to jump hoops must be pretty soul-destroying. One other thing I can say is that I've met many Taiwanese parents who are heartily sick of the system here and would embrace the opportunity for their children to have a meaningful education in Taiwan. :2cents:
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Re: Starting Your Own School

Postby Abacus » 02 Apr 2012, 23:03

Petrichor wrote:
It depends a lot on the parent I suppose. I was in education for nearly 20 years and I certainly don't measure quality of teaching by the test score. I flatter myself I can tell a teacher who understands and cares about my child's education from one who's happy to put them through the mill regardless of the impact on the child in order to get a particular result. Guess which one I prefer.

However as I said I'm not Taiwanese and have nearly zero experience of the market.

One thing I can say is that devoting your working hours getting tired, demotivated children to jump hoops must be pretty soul-destroying. One other thing I can say is that I've met many Taiwanese parents who are heartily sick of the system here and would embrace the opportunity for their children to have a meaningful education in Taiwan. :2cents:


You're obviously an exception in Taiwan. The standard parent doesn't have a clue how to evaluate a teacher much less a curriculum. Some choose a school based on recognizable name (chains), location, class schedule, white teachers, cost or any number of unimportant reasons.
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