Video 2: How to Grow (or Start) your School? My Top Tip

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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...

66 Responses to “Video 2: How to Grow (or Start) your School? My Top Tip”

  1. Margit

    Great video.

    Put me on the list for more, of course.

    I think you talked about the most important points here:
    1. Being yourself.
    I have a gut feeling, this is the most difficult one, too.
    Especially for teachers who are in a culture, not speaking the language, not understanding the differences in humor etc.
    And often it means to also show my weak points to students, or on the other hand present my strong points.
    For many the “Middle” is so comfortable.

    So, absolutely “being yourself”.

    And Blogging; my best new students and parents are the ones who come because they have searched the net and found my website. They know exactly what they will get and this is what they want.
    Now, a concrete example with many many thanks to you, Richard:

    Last year, you shared a TED talk here.
    I loved it and put it on my blog:

    Now, right after that I got 2 new students calling. I had to tell them I was booked, but that there was a possibility 6-8 month later.
    There answer was:
    “I have seen your blog with the TED talk, the other day, and a teacher who shares something this wonderful is amazing. YOU are the teacher I want and I will wait patiently until you can take my daughter, even if it will take a few years.”

    you can imagine I was blown away, and this feed back of course got me on my legs to work something out getting them over.

  2. Ewa

    As always it’s been a real pleasure watching you and listening to your invaluable tips. Keep ’em coming.

  3. Susy

    Thank you so much Richard for taking the time find ways to help us grow, as people and as teachers.

    Love your enthusiasm when you share things with us.

    This was a great video with some great tips πŸ™‚

  4. Anna Jany-Pietrazewska

    Terrific video. Your enthusiasm, useful tips are extemely inspiring. I hope to watch more. Looking foward to your next video!

  5. Richard Graham

    Thank you, thank you everyone for the kind words! It is so nice to hear!

    I’ll get working on the next video for you now. Is there anything in particular you’d like me to cover?

  6. Dr. Ingrid R. Yap

    Great tip. I am an advocate of inclusive education i.e. making quality education accessible to all kinds of children , especially those with special needs. And you are right. We get more students from families who believe in our philosophy and mission.

  7. Wayne Green

    Thank you Richard. I teach part time and I believe in being myself, if they don’t like my lessons that’s fine.
    I use genki english and I also teach children art, so I combine english and art together as well as singing your songs and jumping around. Be yourself and people will appreciate it.

  8. olga

    Great job! Thank you for your love and energy in teaching English. I’m always excited by all your works.

  9. Richard Graham

    @Ingrid: Fantastic – love what you are doing!

    @Wayne: Great stuff. I’ve actually got a friend here who is doing some amazing, like crazily amazing, stuff with art in class. I’ll see if I can pop down and make a video for you!

  10. John

    Thank you for the video. I’d like to see more

  11. Dan Burgess

    Hi Richard, I like the “be yourself” idea. You certainly practice what you preach! πŸ™‚ However it still requires venues for your potential clients to see you! One time I heard you mention the idea of being seen in the community. Not just in the context of teaching English, but doing other things like volonteer work. That can be your best publicity.

  12. Todd Finnigan

    Thank you for continuing to give back, again and again.

  13. Richard Graham

    @Dan: Yes indeed, was just giving one tip at once here πŸ™‚

    @Tood: Thank you, much appreciated!

  14. Milona Simeun Carmichael

    Great video.
    It was inspiring to hear that being yourself can help.
    I would like to hear more.

  15. RM.Murugappan

    Hi Richard
    This video is really pragmatic… Offlate I see lot of schools spending a lot of money in advertizing for growing their school strength. As you said people could believe only if they know you better. So blogging and demos are cool ideas.
    Thanks a lot

  16. Elena

    Thank you, Richard for the such positive message!)))

  17. Claudia Borghese

    Thank you so much Graham for your precious advice!
    Look forward to your next tips. Thumbs up!

  18. patrizia bini

    Hello, Richard you are always inspirational, it’s a great idea. So many people have web sites, and their own pages, but all they do is fill it up with, often videos taken from other places, or it is purely publicity which only shows, for example, english lessons with happy kids. It is certainly more interesting for people to get to know you on line, and then choose, and so one more time such a simple idea, and so effedtive, thank you!

  19. G. Wagner

    Thank you Richard for the lovely advice. I have a direct question. How much is the hourly going rate for a private lesson in Japan that is not held in a big city. Not too many foreign teachers in my area. Thank you.

  20. Zhazira

    Hi Richard, thanks a lot for your video and for sure i liked your ideas about being yourself and blogging ! i’d like to get some videos with fantastic ideas.

  21. Ivana Virga

    Great! I really enjoy your teaching. Congratulations and thank you for sharing!

  22. Anastasia

    Good tips! Thanks, Richard!

  23. Kheng Bunny

    I totally agree with you.

  24. Anna

    Richard, I call you the “God of English”. Because the songs you come up with are so amazing (even moms are singing them), the ideas that you share are so valuable, the energy that you give to teachers around the world is worth a lot!!! Thank you so much!!!!

  25. Julia

    Hi Richard and everybody!

    Being yourself is just the most important thing when you follow a great leader, because you never can be an exact copy of him.
    As I saw how Richard works I thought to myself: I like it so much but I don’t think I can do what he does, and HOW then can I teach GenkiEnglish? So it took me some time to “tame” GE, to find a way how I can be myself and use all tips and techniques Richard shares with us.
    But frankly speaking I can say that ‘me’ before using GE is not the same as ‘me’ now πŸ™‚

  26. Uli

    Hi Richard
    thank you thank you thank you! I am using Genki English already for 9 years and it is simply the best.
    I am always preferring teaching at Kindergardens. Using their rooms……….
    I come and I go ………easy!!
    My problem are the mornings. Kindergartens are having their programs usually in the mornings, therefore they want me to come in the afternoons from 2 -4 pm. How can I find ways to teach Genki English in the mornings?
    Any idea?

  27. Richard Graham

    Wow, thank you everyone for the nice words!

    @Uli: Great idea to use kindergartens! For mornings, although it probably wouldn’t use Genki English, Mum & Baby classes are really popular. Or of course you could just enjoy the time off! πŸ™‚

  28. Fleur Paumen

    A very inspiring and motivating video Richard! Exactly what I need to keep moving … towards my goal : opening an English school in two month’s , in September. I want to do this in a room in my house and I am exciting about it! Your video’s make all the difference to push me in the right direction. Thanks a millions!

  29. Nina

    Richard, thank you, you’re saying all the things I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve got my own school and…yeah, you’re right, the rent sucks up all of my savings, especially in the summer. The thing is that I’m not sure if my landlord will ever agree to sell one part of the building (I’m only renting a half of the first floor) and that means we’ll have to move which doesn’t sound very nice ‘cos we have lovely design and everybody knows we’re here… and we’ve already moved three times))….but thank you for sharing your great ideas!

  30. Richard Graham

    Hi Nina, as long as you have a good excuse for moving everyone will be fine. But do it soon, as soon as you take that weight off your shoulders you’ll get your whole life back!

  31. Nina

    Wow, Real Richard (hopefully:) has left a reply to my comment)) Thank you, you’re closer than you seem to be! -) Thank you for sharing these simple but so valuable things, I’m sure that the more we share, the more we get back, don’t we))

  32. Angelika

    Hi Richard,
    Your vidios are as amazig as your work shops.Thanks!

  33. Angelika

    I’m going to have open doors on several days at the beginning of September to present the Genki system.

  34. NoemiNishi

    Hello Ricahrd! You are always here for us, newbies or experts. And I want you to know that I am very grateful for that. Everytime my email notifies me, I am rushing to check it on because i am waiting for some inivitations for a job interview. But then, It was always you. I just thought that, ”wow!this guy never stops” . As much as you are helping us to teach english effectively, you are also teaching us to keep our passion and positivity AND the fun! I just had one adult student and I tried to teach not by Genkli English but with the boring stuffs so, i guess, I scared her away. BUT i learned my lesson, and i see you as my very optimistic and energetic mentor, I will pursue my home-based teaching and if i fail again, i will never give up to try different ways to do it. Thank you for the videos and for your inspiring attitude. More power to you, Richard. I will always read anything that you posts and implement them as much as possible.

  35. Julia

    Hi Richard!
    Thank you very much for your desire to see every single teacher happy.
    It’s amaizing how many people you help and how thankful they are for your tips! I’m also among them.

    The second video made me clear that financial literacy is a subject I was never taught. So now (never late, hopefully!) I have to cover the field to get onto next level.

  36. Trevor

    Hello Richard,

    I started my own school in Japan just shy of two years ago. It has been going well with steady growth despite the average turnover you get with students coming and going. Going solo was the best professional decision I’ve ever made hands down. However, one point I struggle with is parents who feel their children are not doing well because their children aren’t immediately able to produce what they are studying or to explain what, exactly, they learned in their last lesson. This is especially the case, it seems, with beginners learning new grammar points. They have no foundation to speak of so it will inevitably take more study and time for them to put things together. A lot of parents don’t speak any English themselves so there’s no real frame of reference for the either. I know for sure, though, that continued study and attendance brings results. Any advice on how to get this one across to potentially concerned/doubtful parents?

  37. Cecylia

    Greetings Richard,
    Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in to spreading the Genki word. I really appreciate all the information you impart.
    I am eagerly looking forward to your next video. I teach in rural Poland where there is high unemployment and money is tight, so I really don’t want to out-price myself from the market.

    My biggest problem is. . . myself! I really must draw up a contract. At present, if students don’t come for a lesson, they don’t pay. Some parents really mess me about and cancel at the last minute etc. I’m sure everyone can sympathise with that.

    So, I would really appreciate guidelines on what to include in a contract, and should clients pay upfront? If so, how far ahead, bearing in mind that I’m worried about losing clients if I charge too far ahead.

    Incidentally, I have offered some free English lessons for the school children from my local community and am thrilled to have just found out that the first two classes are full and the third class has only 3 places left.
    I will be teaching them in a room in the local library.

    Many thanks once again, Richard.

  38. Bobby Hornbeck

    Hey Richard,

    Thank you for doing this. Renting by the hour isn’t an option in my area, nor is buying at this momento. So maybe some does and don’t on renting??

  39. Chris

    I always wanted to start my own school and didn’t know how.
    Thank you for your ‘tried and tested’ advice !

  40. Leonardo Dias

    Very cool, That was exactly what I had been thinking by myself. It is always good to see something you get just as an intuition been put into reality and working already planned and done. Thanks, surely you motivate.
    But I have some questions: how do we know we are good enough to be by ourselves? How long do we actually need our bosses and their work for then owning a company?

  41. Richard Graham

    @Angelika: Thank you & good luck!

    @Noemi: Thank you and have a look here for your next adult class!

    @Julia: Do check out “Rich Dad Poor Dad”!

    @Trevor: Congrats on starting! First thing, get rid of the grammar and start teaching Genki English instead. Then the next key is to attract the parents who want what you’ve got, rather than trying to change the minds of ones who aren’t on the same page. Video 1: There are plenty out there for you!

    @Cecylia: Let me see what I can do about the contracts – it is a popular request! You can never over-price yourself, you can only ever under value yourself. As long as you deliver tremendous value you will always have amazing clients!

    @Bobby: Get a friends spare room, spare office space, community centre, garage, anything really, there’s plenty around, especially in Madrid!

    @Chris: You’re going to love it!! πŸ™‚

    Thanks everyone, keep them coming and I’ll try and answer when I can!

  42. Richard Graham

    @Leonardo: Now that is a very deep question! I guess the answer is “as long as you think you need them”

  43. Josie Carvalho

    Dear Richard

    Thanks for sharing all these tips with us. In my view you are absolutely right.
    I am looking foward to see your next video.


    Josie (Brazil)

  44. Collins Ando Kajisi

    Hi Renard
    Thanks for your regular emails. You are really great and committed to help the needy ones. Young people in Kilwa,Tanzania in 2012 still remember you for the permanent foundation built in English Language through genki English. Establishing my own school where genki techniques will dominate.
    Thanks once again God bless you.

  45. Bob

    Hey Richard,
    Good video and I agree with renting by the hour…to a point…but in Tokyo the hourly prices can actually end up costing you more than renting a place by the month.
    I started out in a Community Center and that worked great but typically you can only rent those for one day a week (in my case it was only 3 days a month). The price for a place in like Open Office in the nicer areas of Tokyo can be cost prohibitive. 5 hours a day, 2 days a week costs more than renting a place outright and putting up signs. Additionally, having a brick and mortar establishment lends a bit of credibility to your school and cements it as part of the community. It’s a bit easier to become famous when the people in the community can see your face plastered on the side of a building that they walk past every day.
    As for buying, I bought a house here in Japan and did the 15 year option. It will be paid off in about 2 years but it’s only worth about 60% of what I paid. Still, 60% is better than nothing. The prices in Tokyo are….crazy. The rate of property devaluation is even crazier! Still, it’s food for thought.

    So, bottom line. Yes, if you can work out of your house, do it. If you can’t work out of your house then, Yes, start off renting by the hour, BUT know where your cut off point is. Why pay for a place ‘by the hour’ that is, for the most part, far less than ideal when you can rent a place, benefit from signage and decorate it to fit your image/style for the same price or less?

  46. Richard Graham

    Hi Everyone, listen to what Bob says above, he’s a Samurai Master of all this stuff!

  47. Milona Simeun Carmichael

    Hi Richard,
    it was very pragmatic and useful video. Thank you.


    Wow! What an inspiring advice-buying a building! It takes my breath away!
    I’ll think it over…

  49. Cecylia

    Thank you so much for replying, Richard. Bless you! I am really looking forward to your next video πŸ™‚ BTW, I have had a huge response to my freebie classes. I am using it as a PR exercise to get my name out there πŸ™‚ xx

  50. Jo_Mal

    Seems you discover my little fears and frighten them away, thank you indeed- very encouraging, developing, YES, I will put it life

  51. Magalie

    Hello Richard!
    Many thanks for all the great tips: valuable and inspiring.
    Another option instead of renting an expensive building is to find some really nice parents who would not mind hosting a small group of students. Sometimes it does work.
    Looking forward to your next video.

  52. Sophie

    Brilliant work Richard, as usual your enthusiasm and optimism are very contagious! More than that, I really like the simplicity of your words and how you explain things in a way that reaches us. And making us think about aspects we’d never consider, like the real-estate side of the business. One concern I have is, I teach in a foreign country with very strict (and expensive!!) visa requirements. Opening your own business here as a foreigner means putting in a lot of funds just for the paperwork to be done, let alone the visa expenses, which might take years of savings. As a foreign teacher yourself, would you have any thoughts on that?

  53. patrizia bini

    Hi, commenting on video 2. Just a little technical critique, the video was very dark, an unpleasant contrast to its content. You are so sunny, always bring light into people’s life, why have a dark video ?NO NO NO! I remember back when I started watching your videos and Margit’s videos they used to annoy me! Yes, because I saw the people so cheerful and so successful whereas I was not, but then I kept watching them, and I followed your simple advice on discipline tips and started actually using the Genki English Software, and man, I have never looked back. What I mean is just watching your videos induces in us the same spirit of enthusiasm and ‘why notness’, he can do it, so why can’t I , and you know what? I can! ,
    thank you Richard from the bottom of my heart.

  54. Marzieh

    Thanks alot,great comments.

  55. Mari Kiyama

    Richard thank you for your video! I am teaching English at home so I don’t have to pay anything for the venue. At the moment I have not many students but in the future, I might need to watch this video again, I hope?! Mr (or Ms.)”patrizia bini” commented above could change could his(or her) live changed. I hope I can, too.

  56. Agnieszka

    Thank you Richard. I’d thought I had a good plan for the future, but now I know I was wrong :). Right now I’m renting a room for hours (or actually 3 of them in different places). I planned to continue it for some time, I don’t know, for maybe 2 years or so, depending on a situation, then rent a room (full term). But (and this is a good BUT) I’ve changed my goal. In 2 or 3 years I’m going to try to buy my own building or flat at least :)! Why hadn’t I thought about it before?! And this is what we did with my husband 9 years ago considering a place to live in. Instead of renting a flat we took mortgage and have lived in OUR house since. I wasn’t thinking this way about my business though… Thanks for inspiration dear Richard πŸ™‚

  57. Oksana

    Hello Richard! Thank you for the videos, they make me think about important things!
    I have a question regarding pricing. I teach English in pre-primary (according to my knowledge there are only 4 teachers in our city who teach English to kids aged 2 and I’m among these few), and I see I do it quite well and parents like my classes but I don’t have a pedagogical education (so I’m a teacher according to my diploma) and at the same time I have just one year experience in teaching, therefore I have some doubts regarding pricing in my situation. So I’m offering an exclusive service but don’t have a diploma.. How would you recommend me to solve my pricing issue?
    Thank you in advance.

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