Besides course prices, quality certificates or convenient language school location, teachers are also an extremely important aspect in attracting students. Their personality and how they run lessons are factors influencing opinions about a given school. A good teacher is a real treasure so today we are giving some clues on what you should bear in mind when shaping up cooperation with teachers.
Select proper staff
Shaping up cooperation with teachers takes place already at the recruitment stage. It is important to match the teacher’s personality and skills to school’s or courses’ profile – this will contribute to building of satisfaction on either side.
Example: If your school specialises in training corporation employees in their offices, it is worthwhile entrusting the related tasks to a professional with experience in the said field than to a teacher who has not had any contacts with business community so far.
Also watch out for certain interdependencies: while conversation lessons are in many cases more efficient with a native speaker, then e.g. a Pole with experience in a given area (e.g. a former member of an examination commission) with work better as regards preparation for specific language certificates.
Define cooperation rules
You have selected the best candidate? Now it is paramount to define cooperation rules clearly. Inform teachers both about what you offer to them and what you expect of them, e.g. keeping the class register, regular posting of additional materials at the online platform or participation in tests helping to qualify new students to particular groups. The best option is to insert such arrangements into contracts concluded with teachers. This will help to avoid misunderstandings.
Enforce your demands
If you think certain things are mandatory – be consistent. If you want the teachers to complete the e-gradebook, check regularly if they do so, reprimand those who forgot, and take disciplinary measures against those notoriously failing to deliver on the agreed requirements. If employees see your demands are only apparent, you will swiftly learn that your instructions are not carried out, or even ignored. Nobody takes seriously people who make empty promises.
Determine the teaching method and limits of freedom
If your school has some defined teaching methods, it should inform about them the teachers just starting work. Approach to the issue of textbooks should be similar. Already from the very start a teacher should know if they can choose any textbooks or there is a specific title mandatory in the school. Generally speaking, talks about “limits of freedom” require sensitivity, diplomacy and experience.
On the one hand, the language school’s methodologist or owner have to define the teaching method, indicate or develop the syllabus teachers should adhere to. On the other hand, a teacher works for an hour with a group – they see how students cope, if they make any progress, what kind of exercises best appeal to them and what the learning pace should be like. Communication and mutual understanding is needed in search for the best solutions.
Define the degree of freedom in teaching the lessons
So what degree of freedom shall we leave up to teachers’ discretion during classes? This will largely depend on the chosen teaching method (some are more flexible and some are rigid), and on a specific student group. The teacher should have some degree of freedom in teaching their course – they can use support of additional reads or exercises from beyond the textbook. A good indications of whether their methods work are the attained effects e.g. the pass rate of external exams (e.g. FCE or CAE).
To control on ongoing basis the quality of teacher’s work, it is worthwhile to perform surveys among students to learn their opinions. But if the students indicate that the main reaching method is watching movies in original language version – we have to intervene.
Final call: appreciate your teachers!
Remember that teachers are the showcase of you school. If you develop good relations with them and you manage to hire a “star team”, i.e. teachers with whom students want to learn, you can find a key to conquering the market. The better your relations with your teaching staff is, the smaller is a chance that your “star team” will be willing to change the employer and take your students with them.
So in the part related to teachers at the website do not write well-rounded general sentences about “professionals”, but list your teachers by full names and write a few sentences about their experience. Even the best teaching methodology and the most magnificent textbook will hardly work if a competent teacher is missing. Do not forget to appreciate the successes of the teachers. We do not even mention that the remuneration should be adequate to competencies and commitment – we take this for granted.
Do you know any other methods to develop good relations with teachers?
Share your experiences with us:)
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