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Unquantifiable Business Decisions – Closing for Training

Pre-COVID Training in April 2019 (2020 training has been spread over multiple locations using Microsoft Teams)

 

There was a time when we offered 46 lessons per year, sometimes 47. We were much smaller then, with only two fulltime teachers. We would meet once a month after lessons finished on Saturday for an all-staff meeting, a portion of which was used for watching and discussing a video of a teacher’s lesson. (I was the first to record a lesson and have it discussed.)

 

As we grew and opened multiple locations, however, it became clear that these monthly meetings were no longer practical, even when attempting them over internet video. We decided more formal continued training was necessary–not just for new teachers but also for experienced teachers, to keep them from becoming complacent and atrophying.

 

At first, we reduced our number of lessons to 44 a year and set aside 7 of those extra days for full-day teacher training. None of our teachers teach any lessons those days, including at on-site corporate or ALT locations. Instead, everyone gathers together for training. One of those days became a MY Expo, styled after the ETJ Expos, where teachers give short presentations to the rest of the staff on any education-related topic they’d like. Later, when we felt we could use even more time, we reduced to 42 lessons a year, increasing to 10 days a year of training along with two days a year for each location where those locations close and the teachers there instead observe lessons at other locations.

 

 

It costs a decent amount of money to run these training days. Not only do we close all of our schools, but we then have transportation for what is now 24 teachers and staff (not including our immersion kindergarten), some of whom we put up in hotels for the three times a year when we schedule back-to-back training days. The sessions are now planned by the Professional Development Team, which does an amazing job. As with the other unquantifiable business decisions I’ve written about, however, I believe the investment is well worthwhile. The message is reinforced with new teachers that we take education seriously, while more experienced teachers are not allowed to start resting on their laurels. The quality of our lessons and level of our students both improve as a result. This in turn helps our reputation–and profits.

 

 

As with almost everything we do at MY (MY English School), the training day idea didn’t originate from me. As many of you know, I highly value visiting other schools and talking with their owners. When visiting Dean Rogers (then of Dean Morgan Academy but now of Rosetta Stone Learning Center) eight years ago, he told me of how they closed their schools once a month for teachers to study topics of their choice. I felt it would be great if we could do something similar.

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