There are three main types of students and which one you set out to attract really determines how happy you are as a teacher and also your teaching income.
A mismatched type will drive you crazy. A perfectly matched type will leave you feeling fulfilled.
The three types are ……
Don’t confuse this with “enthusiasm.”
“Passion” comes from the latin word for “suffer” ( the “Passion of the Christ” etc.) It doesn’t mean someone who is always energetic about something.
It means someone who goes through all the pain of learning and still does it anyway.These are people who just LOVE English and will do anything to learn it. They’ll buy and pay whatever you suggest. They’ll do whatever you ask. They’ll go 1000% in above and beyond your expectations.
And …. they will expect the same from you! So if you’re willing to go all in, with no limitations, then you will have some amazing adventures.
The challenge with passion is that it is all encompassing. It takes over EVERYTHING. And not everyone is quite willing to go this far. “Lifestyle first” is one of the mantras we have around here.
So the next category is Professional.
“Professional” means you do something for financial gain. (“Amateur” means you do it for love, amore.)
However we also include kids and students who want to beat exams here. The big difference between professional and passion is that with professional there are limits. They don’t spend every single penny and every hour learning your lessons. It’s important to them, after all it is how they eat, but they don’t put up with all the suffering that comes with doing something for passion. They measure, weigh up the pros and cons and decide to invest if they feel it will benefit them.
The cool thing for you is that it is very easy to calculate how much they will financially gain from your lessons, whether that’s for their job or in gaining higher marks in exams for kids. Hence you can charge higher prices and as it is a professional transaction everyone is happy. They also follow the rules and although they won’t go above and beyond what you expect, they will fulfill everything you expect of them. And the professionalism demands that limits are respected.
Ninja Tip: There is also the related category of “students who don’t want to learn” but as a private teacher you won’t ever take those students on. And in government school it falls into the professional category (they pay your salary with their taxes and you decide to accept or not.)
If however you have private students or low level company workers that don’t care about results, then you have the final category ….
These are people who sort of want to learn English but they don’t have any financial or overriding passion reasons to do so. They’ll go through the paces but their main motivation is fun rather than results. My Grannies class on a Wednesday evening was like this. The English was fun for them but their main aim was to share their coffee, cakes and gossip. So hobby classes can be much easier to teach. However if you are wanting professional or passion students then you’re going to end up being very frustrated. Plus of course it’s much harder to determine your prices if there is no real desired outcome.
So there you go, the three main types of students. Choose your type wisely for it will determine your sanity and income over the coming years!
And remember ….
It’s not just students ….
This, of course, applies to teachers too. I work with teachers every day. And if they are Passion teachers then that is amazing!! I can go on and help for hours and hours about educational development and go full on in with teachers who want to change the world.
Of course not everybody wants to go through all the sacrifice & suffering that that entails. So the majority of the teachers who buy the Genki English materials and courses are Professional. They weigh the benefits and savings and decide Genki English will save them either time (usually lesson preparation time) or money (you usually only need one new student to make the products pay for themselves) , buy the products, ask questions and have a nice balanced income and lifestyle.
Then there are the hobby teachers who are just doing this for a bit of fun but aren’t professional (“can I get everything for free?”) or not passionate (“meh, colours and numbers will be fine again this week”) so they tend to drain my energy and hence I’m quite happy to leave them to other publishers or textbook companies 🙂
So which are you, Passion, Profession or Hobby? And, more importantly, which students do you want to attract?