Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, August 27, 2006


by AJ

Since I'm now getting more students than I can handle, I've decided to stop focusing on quantity and shift my focus to quality. In other words, I'm going to fire students who are not motivated. From now on, I'm also going to screen potential clients. I'm going to make sure that they have compelling real life reasons to learn English. In my view, going to an American graduate school is a compelling motivation-- getting an arbitrary score on the TOEFL test is not.

I'm also going to make sure they understand my methods and are willing to exercise a great deal of independence as learners. Those who expect to show up for an hour-a-week textbook lesson, and somehow become fluent, will be referred to traditional schools.

As I build my freelance teaching business I realize that I'm also increasingly focusing on female students. In fact, at the moment all my private students are motivated, professional women. This happened by accident, but its not a fluke.

As I think back on all the classes I have taught- in America, in Thailand, in Korea, in Japan- I realize that in every case (EVERY!) the women in those classes were the best students. Sure there were occasionally excellent male students. And of course, not every woman was great. But there was, and is, a VERY big gender gap. In this case, it is women who are on the right side of that gap.

I'm sure there are socio-economic-political reasons for this, but what it boils down to for me is this: women are my best clients. In general, they work harder, they listen more carefully, they are more persistent, and they are more motivated. Not surprisingly, they progress faster than most male students.

For these reasons, I enjoy teaching female students-- especially motivated professionals (or would-be professionals). After all, I don't teach just for the money. I do it because I love it. I do it because I have a passion for learning, for language, and for other countries and cultures. As a language learner, I am passionate and committed. I expect the same from my students.

Therefore, I've decided to consciously reinforce this accidental trend and, henceforth, direct all of my marketing efforts towards professional, motivated, committed women.

There are plenty of ESL schools serving the "hack the TOEFL" crowd.

I prefer something with more heart and humanity.

San Francisco, CA