Start Your Own school Tip 16: Should I hire a teacher for my school?

teacherbearSo farΒ in this seriesΒ I’ve concentrated on what’s called a “lifestyle business” Β i.e. Β where you work because it’s fun and whilst you still *have* to work you choose exactly who you teach, Β how much time you spend on it and how much money you make from it.

If this sounds good to you, Β aim for 120 students (15 classes a week) Β in total, follow the tips and you’ll have made a wonderful job.

And you’ll still keep on doing what you love i.e. teaching.

It’s fun, pretty much stress free and this is what I recommend for most people.


Pay for your retirement?

Now … the only problem with this is that you have created yourself a job.

And when you stop working the income stops.

And, more importantly, all the kids have to go elsewhere to get a great education.

So you may be thinking about hiring other teachers so you can build your school, get more students and create your legacy.

(I know some teachers who started from zero and add hundreds of students each year.)

Fair enough.

If you want to go there it’s a great way to leverage what you have done and to take this from a “lifestyle business” to a real business that will live beyond yourself, maybe make you rich and quite possibly pay for a very nice retirement.

Just one word of advice here.

There is no middle ground.

Once you hire one teacher you will no longer be teaching.

You will be a manager.

Full time.

Believe me, it’s a slippery slope!

Personally I’d say, get to the 120 student level and enjoy making your difference in the world.

But if you do want to head down the rabbit hole and hire staff, Β just how on Earth do you find amazing teachers for your school without all the heartache?

Well, Β it can be easy if you know what to do.

I often cover this in theΒ live workshopsΒ but… Β would you also like me to talk about it here on the blog too?

No promises (this is valuable stuff!), but if you would like me to write up some tips then doΒ let me know in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. 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. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

31 Responses to “Start Your Own school Tip 16: Should I hire a teacher for my school?”

  1. Trevor

    This is a big one isn’t it. A one person show and a business are totally different things. I think many people don’t realise this. Interesting topic.

  2. Jasmine

    Hi Richard, I would love to hear more advice on hiring teachers. However, I heard that hiring other teachers can be a headache and that some of them are not dependable. what do you think? looking foward to hearing back from you. Thanks, Jasmine

  3. Richard

    @Trevor: Yes indeed, and it really does seem to be one or the other.
    @Jasmine: Oh yes! There are some horror stories out there, but if we get enough interest here I’ll show you how to do it properly.

  4. Belinda

    Most definitely, a slippery slope, but I would still love to know how to obtain good teachers. This always comes in handy as I’m always approached about getting good teachers. Cheers!

  5. Ewa Kucharska

    Please do share this knowledge with us. I’d love to get to know more about the topic.

  6. Martin

    This is an interesting topic. Even when thinking about simply handing a class off to another teacher when I’m done with a contract at a school is a tricky thing, especially when I personalized so much of the class using my own materials and curriculum beyond what the school was using (Genki and my own phonics awareness and spelling program).

  7. Barbara

    Yes, very interesting!! I’ll coordinate a city camp in July and I’ll have to supervise few tutors and choose helpers so … very interesting subject!

  8. samantha hyer

    Hi Richard, I am so glad you mentioned I was about to hire staff for next year.
    I keep my classes small, maximum 6. I feel it is manageable this size and the mums love it.
    However, not much room for growth as i have limited myself. I already have 15 classes a week.
    so taking on another member was looking to be the option to make more money.

  9. Barbara

    Yes, I can confirm this: 8 is a very good number:). You can play a lot more! By the way, if kids are “polite” 10 is still good πŸ™‚ but it really depends on the kids behavior:)

  10. Martin

    Yeah, 8 is probably the sweet spot. I don’t have a problem with larger classes (at least when they are my own classes) — larger classes being 12 – 15 MAX at the schools I’ve worked at. I have a primary aged class that only has 5 students. Harder to get the energy going with them, but the smaller class size lends itself to playing card games and smaller activities.

    Even 8 kids seems to be stretching it when playing card games, but I say it is the sweet spot because it is just small enough to play card games like “Go Fish” and “One Left” but also big enough to play a number of the Genki games. Big problem I usually find with the small classes and the Genki games are that the kids just don’t mingle and move around enough because there are only 6 to 8 of them! The Pros and Cons of everything, right???

  11. Mrmr

    Im going to go freelance as a teacher soon, so would like to hear about this also. Ive found, especially in Japan, that people can be quite vague about what they want in a teacher. Someone good looking? Clean cut? Knowledgeable about grammar? Takes orders well?

  12. clay

    I am wrangling with this problem now. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

    My school in China is fairly new. So far the teachers I have hired have been either totally stubborn or unreliable. They seem to gravitate back to boring traditional Chinese repetitive teaching. I have some good ones but my batting average seems to be 20%. You usually have some golden insight and I have my fingers crossed that you will enlighten us.


  13. ESM

    I’m all for hiring qualified teachers, the problem is in countries where there is shortage of English teachers and massive demand, teachers seem to behave like divas: not too dependable, not too willing to do much effort and still quite expensive. I really do my best to provide all they need and more, I also changed teachers choosing more mature and experienced ones but I can’t see it working. It seems they see part-time jobs just as a way to gain that extra-something and don’t care to much about the rest. Any tips for start-ups that are still small-sized but need good part-time teachers?

  14. Stephen

    Hello everyone,

    Its been a while since I checked in on this blog, one of the main reasons being that I have just made this transition myself – from teacher to manager! Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. πŸ™‚

  15. Evaggelia Charalambous

    Richard, this is a serious issue. No one cares about your job/business more than you do. So, it is very difficult to find teachers that are committed to give their best! I would love to read your tips!

  16. Irina

    Yes, Richard. I would love to hear your tips on the subject. How much interest is enough?

  17. Anya

    Interesting topic. Sometimes it’s necessary to employ other teachers. This year because of giving birth to the child I employed two teachers for the replacement. They teach English using traditional method. The process of employing and managing wasn`t difficult, maybe becouse I did it in my previous jobs.
    However I clearly saw all my mistakes: too little numerous groups and too minimum price per hour. Now I think how to change it…

  18. Niloc Deeps

    I’d love to hear any tips you may have. I’m not ready to hire teachers to do my teaching, but we’ve recently moved premises and I have an extra classroom. So I’m thinking of introducing a new language.
    Pretty please?

  19. Matthew

    Glad this topic came up and glad to see that others are having the same problems that I’ve had with hiring part time native speaking teachers. I’ve had my own school in Thailand since October 2011 and I can definitely relate to the behaving like divas as well as unreliability. It’s hard to protect your school’s reputation from the practice of “handing out the coloring sheets” which seems to be the common refuge for hourly teachers in Thailand.

    Although I read all of Richard’s tips for starting your own school from the getgo due to unavoidable circumstances I ended up with a much too big 7 classroom school and unfortunately haven’t had much success with using it to its full potential. I find myself very tired with 40 – 60 teaching hours a week, lots of smaller classes that kids dropped out of when I tried to make ’em start reading and writing stuff and it wasn’t just games all the time.

    It seems I stand to gain TONS from this discussion and any advice you all have about what seem to be the two main concerns:
    A) How to hire teachers and ensure that they follow training and do a good job?
    and B)Consolidating numerous smaller classes into fewer large ones.

    I’m excited to see what you guys and gals have to share. Thanks!

  20. clay

    I think Matthew brought up a whole possibility for this topic I hadn’t considered. I am having trouble hiring local talent myself. Both are of interest though. Richard, I am wondering. Do you usually hire local or native speakers? Why? Both have pros and cons I am sure. I have always looked at hiring native speakers as a headache I am not willing to deal with till I have a large enough staff to cart the divas around. Opinions?

  21. Margit


    I must honestly say, I prefer to keep control and do it all by myself and on my own.

    When I started to have too many people asking I tried to get more students per class.
    First I had 4-6, if it got more, I would split it to two classes. Now I take 8 kids per class, so I practically have double of students for the same 9-10 hours teaching per week, and it works so much better.

    the reason to split classes for me also used to be when writing and reading started, but with GE phonics, this isn’t necessary anymore. As GE Phonics (like the whole curriculum) stimulates, eyes, ears, hands, heart, voice, and body (gestures) there is something for everyone and none left behind anymore. I can approach each kid through its own way of learning.

    Weak side: It happens that I have to refuse students, or put them on a waiting list, because I don’t go over my limit of lessons and max. of students~ but I think this would happen this way or the other.

    I love teaching too much, I want to do it myself.

    So, my tip is to keep it juuuuuust right (wink:)

  22. Ania

    Richard, thank you for the topic, I would love to here more! Regards everybody!

  23. David Chandler

    Hello everyone and thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this topic. It’s great to hear so many different opinions and perspectives.

    Richard, this is very important topic and I think many of us will benefit from your advice and tips on it. Hope to hear from you soon.



  24. Rianti

    I’m new to this field but I made my English course because I love to teach. Unfortunately, I’m late to be genki and find these 12 tips. So, I started it with giving chances to some friends to teach. Once or two times I heard and saw the way they taught and felt annoyed. I’ve tried to talk to them and suggested some stuffs, but I’ve no enough courage to tell them that they made mistakes in pronounciation or spelling or they made mistakes here and there. It’s dilemmatic. So, any idea Richard? fellas?

  25. Richard Graham

    Hi Rianti,

    If you’re the boss then you first of all have to very carefully plan out your exact vision of what you want for the school. Who will come? How will they be taught? What results will they get? Then write this down in the simplest, clearest way possible. Once you’ve done this the next step is to sit down with your teachers, show them your plan and ask them if they share your vision. If yes, excellent. If not, you have to let them go!

    Be strong, your school is your baby!

  26. Rianti

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the answer, I owe you much hehe… and yeah, I’ve told them about what I want for my course, in a “friendship” way. And it’s quite work. They asks me and see dictionary and video how to spell the words. I really appreciate that.

    And as you’ve said, you’re school is your baby, I’ll promise myself to grow it strong and healthy. Once again, thank you Richard. Please, keep inspiring:)

    Ps: ah, I have a wish, wish to meet you face to face one day:p

  27. rhayza

    Hello , I have quite question about native or non_native teachers

  28. Richard Graham

    Very good question!

    And your answer will determine your marketing and how you sell your story to the parents. For example some schools will go with “None of us are native speakers, we all learnt how to get fluent. And we’re going to show you how to do it too!” or some schools will go with native speakers. It’s up to you, and the quality of the teachers you want to attract!

  29. Adriana

    Hello Richard! Thank you for your valuable advice. I would like to know your suggestions as to how to plan for hiring teacher in the future. I am in the process of planning and structuring, making the decisions that will help me keep going when my program starts to pick up.
    Please advise me as to what to consider when hiring. Thank you

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