Start your own school tip 6: Get a contract!

However hard you try problems will happen.  Parents will be too demanding, arguments over holidays will crop up, or someone will moan that something isn’t fair.

A verbal contract is only ever worth the paper it’s written on.

But far from being a hassle, a written contract can be your best friend, by not only solving just about all the problems, but making you stand out as an amazing school.

For example along with the all the boring things about lesson length, cancellation policy, holidays, payments etc.  the most important point is the expectations part.

Set out exactly what will happen in the lessons i.e. you agree to give totally amazingly brilliant ways of learning English (and students can pull you up on this if you don’t!) and they try their best, act with respect  & tell you when they don’t understand (and you can pull them up on this when they don’t!)

( The not understanding part is a big one, kids usually don’t give up because they are bored but because they don’t understand either the English or what is expected of them. )

You should even have a “firing” clause where you can fire students who break the rules.  Run through it, or have someone else run through it, with the parents when you start and you will save a huge chunk of future problems.

If the parents do have complaints in the future they can look up the contract and really see how much you care, that you are not just another chain school, which also really helps in resolving the odd crisis.

Needless to say the contact needs to be in the parents native language as well as English of course!

Again just a little work here can save months and months of stress and hair pulling!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

15 Responses to “Start your own school tip 6: Get a contract!”

  1. Margit

    I made my contract about 5 years ago, because I was fed up of heaving to discuss things. (things you are mentioning above)
    What happened that since I have the contract nobody even starts a discussion or would question things.
    I think it’s really a psychological thing, if you don’t have a contract parents somehow seem to “think” they are doing you a favor by having their kids come, and they can tell you how you have to do things.
    but when they see the contract it’s “wow! This is a real school” and they will listen to you without demands.
    I also really recommend this even if it’s friend’s kids you are teaching, or maybe especially if that is it.

  2. Amri

    I was wondering if it’s possible to see some kind of draft maybe of such a contract. I have been thinking about doing one, even I’m not a school. But the behaviour of some parents just makes me crazy. I don’t know if it is something you should do even when you just teach without a school behind you. So what I mean to say is – contract for if you have your own school or even contract when you are giving private lessons? What do you think?

  3. richard

    @ Draft contract: I had a feeling this would be requested! Maybe we should start one up on the forum?

    @ Private lessons: Yeah, I’d say go for a contract there as well for all the reasons above!

  4. Margit

    Sorry, mine is all in Japanese…
    if nothing’s coming up I could translate some of it into English, but I set it up with my husband and it does “sound” like a “contract”, solid and clear. I would need ages to put this into a similar English.

  5. Kristin Nishimura

    I would love to see a contract in some way or form,to get an idea of how to make one.( Even if it is in Japanses, I will find someone to translate for me.)

  6. Ash

    Hi Richard

    Firstly thank you so much for these tips. I am finding massive value in them. I’d like to echo krisin though and also request a sample contract. Thanks!

  7. Craig

    Contract! Contract! We’d like to see a contract! 🙂 Japanese would be just fine for me. It would definitely be a big help to know where to start if I could take a peek at someone’s working contract.

    BTW, I am really loving all this information. I’m getting close to starting my own regular school! Excited…but still lots of work to do first.

  8. Vany

    can i have a sample of a contract? I’m planning to open my own english school because lot of friends are asking me to open an english school but honestly speaking I really don’t have any idea how to start… thanks to genki english for these tips. Really help.

  9. Elvira

    Is anybody working on a contract? My school really needs a sample especially now, when we’re planning to start an elementary school with our friends.Please help!!

  10. Juan Carlos

    Hello Margit, I’m Juan Carlos from Venezuela, I’ve been using GE already 2 years, I am in Thailand now and have several japanese private students, I am planning to make a contract in Japanese but I’m not so good at it, I would like to request if You could share your contract in japanese would be so valuable..

    Here is my email: venerussiafamily@gmail.com

    Arigato gozaimas..

  11. Charlotte

    My hard earned experience – make sure that the contract covers a cancellation policy. Pretty annoying to have two classes cancelled last minute without pay when you could have taken in another students and taken home the money.

  12. Juan Carlos

    Hi guys, I would like to share a contract that I prepared, Thank You Margit for helping me out with Your contract.. I made up this simple one.

    PRIVATE LESSONS CONTRACT

    Lesson Day: M T W T F S Lesson Time: ______ – ______ /P.M.
    Lesson Time: ______ – ______ /P.M.
    Length of Lesson and fees: 1 hour (60 minutes)

    4 Students 250 (each)
    3 Students 300 (each)
    2 Students 400 (each)
    1 Student 500

    The course consists of 13 sections (13 CDs). Each section includes 8 lessons.

    SPECIAL DISCOUNT: If you bring new students and they enroll in the course you will receive a free lesson per each student you bring, for every 4 enrolled students you will get your next section (8 lessons) for free. The more students you bring the more free lessons you get.

    Payment Information: If the student enrolls after the demo lesson he/she must pay 1 section (8 lessons) in advance. Payment for lessons, and material is due at the first lesson of each new section. An invoice will be sent via email (Paper invoices can be given by request.) Payments can be made via cash or wire transfer.

    Lesson Cancellation: To cancel a scheduled lesson, please give notice the day before (preferably 24 hours in advance) to ensure a make-up lesson. Lessons cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled time will only be refunded under the following circumstances: I. Student illness II. Family emergencies.

    Students are allowed only one cancellation per month. Lesson fees will not be refunded for multiple cancellations, and make-up lessons will be given solely at the teacher’s discretion.
    Make-up Lessons: If the teacher is unable to give a scheduled lesson, a make-up lesson will be provided within one week.

    Tardiness: Lessons will start on their scheduled time, tardiness in excess of 15 minutes will result in a cancelled lesson. The lesson fees will not be refunded, and there will be no make-up lesson scheduled.

    Lesson Requirements: Students should bring the following items to every lesson: workbooks they are currently working out of, a notebook, and a pencil. Students should come to each lesson with all of the week’s assignments completed and be ready to discuss what they are working on.

    Code of Conduct: Students are to refrain from using inappropriate or disrespectful language and/or behavior during lessons. The first offense will result in a verbal warning. The second offense will result in a written warning, and a conference may be required. The third offense will result in automatic withdrawal from lessons. Additional lesson fees will not be refunded.

    Withdrawal from Lessons: Notification of withdrawal from lessons must be given at least one month in advance to ensure you are not charged for extra lessons.

    Contract Agreement:
    I, __________________________, have read and understand the terms and conditions of this contract. By signing below, I agree to abide by each of these terms and conditions.
    _____________________________ _____________________________ ____________ (Printed Name of Student) (Signature of Student) (Date)
    _____________________________ _____________________________ ____________ (Printed Name of Parent/Guardian) (Signature of Parent/Guardian) (Date)
    _____________________________ _____________________________ ____________ (Printed Name of Teacher) (Signature of Teacher) (Date)

    Thank you for being a part of_____ Looking forward to working with you!

    Contact Information:
    Name:
    Tel:
    Email:

  13. Miya

    Hi everyone,
    first of all I want to thank Genki English for all the great information about opening a school, teaching and so on. My dream is to open my own school in Japan and therefore I need a contract. So if anyone would share his/her contract (esp. Japanese), that would help a lot. Thanks, Miya

  14. Richard Graham

    Thanks for posting this Juan Carlos, and we need to incorporate the expectations part from the post on this page – that really is the key to getting the parents on board!

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