The problem that gives sleepless nights to many owners of language schools. Now do some fast soul searching to find out how many hours weekly you allocate to being a teacher and to teach? For many of you, the story below will seem familiar: a good female teacher and an excellent male teacher decide to establish a language school where they are… the chief teachers. They are good, customers sign up for their courses so they teach more and more because more and more students are willing to learn from them.
Sounds great but this is a vicious circle. How can you develop your school if you mainly teach? How can you think about the company’s development if you constantly plan the classes and run them? The recent session of Luiza Wójtowicz-Waga addressed the topic of leaving the comfort zone, changes in owner’s mind, fear of the new and this speech full of inspiration and motivation provided the basis for today’s article!
Luiza Wójtowicz-Waga holds a double MA in linguistics and American Studies (University of Warsaw), and a certificate of a renowned Grupa TROP School for Trainers. She is a co-owner of edunation, a teacher-training and development centre, organizer of the biggest teacher-training events in Poland. An English teacher, used to serve as the director of studies in one of the largest language schools in Poland. Luiza’s chief professional interest lies in the complexities of teaching adults, creativity, motivation, professional burnout, teacher leadership, classroom effectiveness, and management skills in education.
Luiza worked for 11 years chiefly as a methodologist and teacher, devoting definitely a majority of her time to teaching. When she opted to establish an education firm jointly with her associate, after some time she realized that she did anything to make this huge step she had taken… change absolutely nothing!
She did not reduce the number of teaching hours, so she was still teaching 25-30 hours weekly, at the same time trying to develop Edunation. In other words – she was making changes in such a way that nothing changed. This is a form of self-sabotage, which eventually leads to a situation when being in the role of a teacher all the time you have at the back of your head the thought that at the very same time you should be answering e-mails or attending a meeting with a customer. In other words, be the manager of the company you want to develop.
If you want to manage, then you need to leave the comfort zone and stop teaching as much as you used to. This is a complex issue owing to many factors influencing your approach, not only to this type of change but also to changes in general. Each implemented change is accompanied by fear. The same is true when you make a decision to reduce the number of teaching hours.
What type of fears accompanies us during such change?
1. What if I do not make money?
Giving classes is the main source of income for a majority of schools. So how will I earn my living in the transitional period, when I cut down the number of teaching hours and start being a full-time manager?
2. I like teaching so much!
I love teaching so how could I give up on it? Probably 90% of people will sign up under this item. After all, for a majority of them, this was the main motivation why they established their own school and teach under their own rules. And what if after settling all matters I want to return to teaching and it turns out I dropped off the marketplace?
Maturing to giving up part of your classes is a process. If while giving classes you increasingly think you should be in some other place and be concerned with some other matters, it means you are ready for this. However, you do not have to give all teaching hours away; you just need to keep a healthy balance between the roles of the teacher and of the school owner. Such a solution is characterized by several advantages:
– you keep the contact with the customers, so you continue to know their expectations,
– you are credible as the owner of an education firm,
– you have the time for visitation at classes of core teachers and for the training of the teacher team (you can temporarily transform your love for teaching and teach teachers instead of students 🙂 )
It is worthwhile to remember! Your teaching is a stumbling block to development of your school/firm. Leave for yourself just those few hours weekly, but bear in mind from now on your role is already different. This is the first step to start leaving the comfort zone.
What does it mean that I like teaching?
Have you ever wondered what is the basis of your fondness of teaching? When you enter the classroom, you are in your so-called „comfort zone”. This follows from the fact that this is an activity you have been repeating for many years. You know what is going to happen and what you might expect. So when you say you like teaching, think whether this follows perhaps from the fact that you feel confident and comfortable in a classroom. This is the place where you are experts and hardly anything may surprise you. Remember how you felt during your first lesson? Certainly completely different than you feel now and though you were also filled with fears and uncertainty you reached the position you are in now. Try to look similarly at the road you need to cover now as the school owner. On the road from a teacher to the boss, a moment comes to leave the comfort zone. The development of your school only starts outside the borders of that zone. It’s cool you teach but your role as the owner is different.
The second part will show up soon. We will write more about leaving the comfort zone and three steps to overcome the fear. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to don’t miss the next article. 🦁💙