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Thread: Opening an English school

  1. #1
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    Opening an English school

    I have been entertaining the idea for quite some time now, but always got sidetracked by other ventures. The idea appeals to me, I think that I will enjoy doing it. The problem is that I don't have any hands on experience teaching English in Russia. I think that it should be a good investment if done correctly.

    If I do it, it will not be in Moscow, but Moscow region. Somewhere like Ramenskoe, Noginsk, Podolsk, etc. I could open a school from scratch, or alternatively buy a franchise.

    I would like to hear your professional opinions on this subject. Maybe, you would want to make a partnership offer. Please consider me to be someone who has absolutely no idea about the subject matter, so write about everything from licensing rules to teachers' wages and student fees. I will greatly appreciate all the information and all your inputs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaNozri View Post

    If I do it, it will not be in Moscow, but Moscow region. Somewhere like Ramenskoe, Noginsk, Podolsk, etc. I could open a school from scratch, or alternatively buy a franchise.
    Good idea to stay away from Moscow centre - I get the impression the English/Yank teaching market is saturated.



    Life is tough pilgrim, it's even tougher if you're stupid


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    Quote Originally Posted by robertmf View Post
    Good idea to stay away from Moscow centre - I get the impression the English/Yank teaching market is saturated.


    that´s true!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaNozri View Post
    so write about everything from licensing rules to teachers' wages and student fees. I will greatly appreciate all the information and all your inputs.
    These question are peripheral.

    You need to hire a Director of Studies, who has extensive experience in the TEFL field. The questions you need to be asking early on are:

    • What age-groups you are going to cater for?
    • What course materials you are going to provide?
    • What the benefits of your school will be over the many, many others schools?
    • What certificates will your courses offer?
    • What the class size is going to be?
    • What ability-levels will you offer? (the most popularly-seen mistake is just shoving everyone in together, to make more money. Such groups rarely last more than 3 weeks.)
    • What's the teaching methodology?

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    You can ask me any questions about what you want to know. A good language school has a 100% profit margine- a dream for most businesses...but there are so many factors you have to think of.

    The biggest mistake that 99% of people make is focussing on the adult market. hey do this for the prestige factor or whatever.

    Let's say you have an absolute begiiner- to take him through all the levels(a big if that he will finish them) is max 3 years. Business and conversational courses or Ielts examination training would be 3-6 months max.

    Get a 5-7 year old kid(and parents spend a lot more on their kids) and ou can have them for the next 10 years or more. Now that is a cashcow. And classes are during the day, when there is less demand for students. Chldren lessons are usually the same price but go for half the time. At my last school it was 3500 roubles for the kids class for 2 hours of English a week(two 1 hour lessons). AndI don't live in Moscow.

    The next decision is whether you are prepared to get native speakers and all the required paperwork and invitations for that-or just employ locals. Hiring natives creates an incredible number of problems and headaches, but gives your school prestige and the ability to charge more. Still, it is a big decision.
    cured

  6. #6
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    English school

    Thanks a bunch guys! I just got back from a trip to Iraq. What I desperately need to know are the licensing rules, square metres (if applicable), and most of all let us start a discussion on who exactly is a native speaker? I tried this thread once, but it bumped.

    What I mean is this: my mother was Russian, my father was an Iraqi Kurd. I was born in Moscow (Тушинский роддом) in 1970, at 2 y.o. went to Baghdad for 2,5 years (with my parents of course!). At 5 y.o. we went to Tripoli, Libya where my dad was a professor of Economical Statistics. Of course my birth language was Russian. However, at 5 y.o. I attended a British Embassy Kindergarten. At 6 y.o. I went to the Tripoli American School. That didn't last long, as our wisest of the wise Colonel kicked out all the Americans with their oil companies and schools.
    So I attended the Tripoli College. It was an English language school with Arabic and Koran lessons once per week. I was there until grade 7. Russian embassy school only had classes up to grade 4 and I (and my parents) had a weird dislike towards Russian schools, especially abroad. Obviously Tripoli College deteriorated from 80-90% British teachers, to 80-90% Pakistani teachers. I wanted to go to Malta, but at the last minute talked my parents to put me in a Bulgarian school. Best decision in my life! After the glamorous colonel Qaddafi started hanging people at the Tripoli University square, my father decided to return to Moscow (best decision in his life).

    Anyhow, graduated grade 9 and 10 in the USSR. Attended 2nd Moscow Medical Institute (worst decision in my life). Did it for 6 months and then went to Havana via Gander, Canada where I asked for political asylum in 1988. The response from CISS was -"Welcome to Canada Sir!" I almost cried! My first job was running behind a garbage truck at 5 a.m. in Toronto for about a month, then dishwashing for a year. Then graduated Toronto School of Business, worked as a (YES!!!!) used car salesman. Then graduated an MBA program in International Finance at Concordia in Montreal.

    After that immediately repatriated to Moscow (the bestest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! decision in my life) Worked for a US Investment fund as a private equity director until the crisis when my principals asked me to do a 180% on my job. Instead of buying investments, getting rid of all that's bought. Sold a ceramic factory in Kazakhstan to a bunch of less than intelligent Turks, and quit my job.

    OH, by the way I was already married to an American girl from Oklahoma for 3 years- she worked for UPS. She literally forced me to move to NYC in 1999.
    Lived there for 5 years working as a senior financial analyst, but could not stay away from Moscow. She on the other hand fell in love with NYC. So, I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and did everything I could imagine to get fired, cause just couldn't quit myself (greedy bastard!). Instead got called to the director asking why I am so unhappy the last 6 months and got 3 raises totalling 40%. Working as a Private Contractor I DID NOT PAY ANY TAXES.

    But I Digress. All "classic" native speakers tell me that they do not hear an accent on me, does that make me a native speaker, or just a wanna be?

    P>S> Are Pakistanis, Indians, Philipinos considered native in Rusia?????????????????

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    Easy=native means white( or African American) but preferably white(Russian preference)...does't matter if you are American , 3rd generation, if you look Asian or anything else you can have some trouble. My old boss spoke with an amazing British accent-father from Iraq, mother from Bangladesh. Born and raised in the UK....he looked like a typical Pakistani...and I was treated as his boss by everyone, something he hated.

    I have a friend who is half Russian, half south african and born in Jamaica! He had a lot of trouble getting work but is actually a better teacher than I am....once he can convince them, they adore him but he has to be a little dishonest or vague about his past. They will not pay native speaker rates for anyone who isn't, in their mind, 100%.

    Hope that helps.

    And great personal history, what an awesome way to grow up. I thought my personal history was a bit out there but yours takes the prize.
    cured

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    I don't have a lot of experience with language schools, GaNozri, but I agree with Yak. If they are racist and you are dishonest, the two wrongs cancel each other out. Just make up a story which covers your accent. Since you probably have an NY accent, just say one of your parents is an Italian American or something like that.

    What you wrote looks a lot more native to me than what is often written by other EFL teachers on this board who claim to be native speakers. One is from Boston and the other from Scotland.

    P.s. and some guy from a trailer park in Alabama is probably as American as they come, but his English would be much worse than a well-educated immigrant from Bombay.

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    LICENSING

    I need all the info on licensing: fees, prerequisites, etc, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaNozri View Post
    I need all the info on licensing: fees, prerequisites, etc, etc.
    For my region, a licence costs 22000 roubles....but the real cost (re bribes) to open is somewhere between 150000 and 300000....fire inspectors are a lot of fun even if you do it right...there is a lot to do.

    To get permission to invite foreigners is a big step too, and costs about 40000 rubles and a good lawyer(minimum)
    cured

  12. #12
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    Get a qualifed Russian native teacher for your licence. Makes things so much easier. Licence is specific to one location, have you as the other director. opening a second school requires a second licence.
    cured

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by yakspeare View Post
    For my region, a licence costs 22000 roubles....but the real cost (re bribes) to open is somewhere between 150000 and 300000....fire inspectors are a lot of fun even if you do it right...there is a lot to do.

    To get permission to invite foreigners is a big step too, and costs about 40000 rubles and a good lawyer(minimum)
    I thought it was about 10 times more!

  14. #14
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    That's the official price but doesn't reflect reality coz eto rossiya...licences often have to be bought on the secondary market...they don't always issue new...it is very important the licence holder is a Russian qualified teacher if you want to cut the redtape quick...but it is possible without this.
    cured

  15. #15
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    What is the reason to open a school? What for? (Not trying to talk you out of it. Just to sharpen your idea.)
    Hidden Moscow - Expat's friend

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