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Why I Only Teach Elite Students

Popularity 2Viewed 594 times 2019-6-24 17:33 |Personal category:Education|System category:News

I have no interest in teaching every child that I meet. I do have a deep desire to help everyone that I encounter. I'll explain.

I interview parents of students before I allow the children join my class. I used to accept about 40% of them. Now, it is down to less than 30%. Why do I do this? Why do I turn away 7 out of ten students who come and whose parents want them to study with me?

First, I don't need more students. I'm very happy with having no more than 150 students. I had a big school in America with 750 students for 15 years. I don't want that again. I want quality and don't need quantity.

Second, there are many Chinese parents who do not understand nor agree with Western teaching methods. My methods are far different from traditional Chinese teachers. If parents don't have knowledge of effective and innovative teaching methods, then, they won't like or agree with how I do it. That's perfectly o.k. with me. I don't want or need everyone to agree with me. I only want those who understand that there are many better ways of teaching and learning than traditional ones.

Third, I like small classes. Why? Because I love giving more attention to excellent students in order to make them more than good. I want them to be great. I require them to be great. I give them my best and expect them to give their best in learning English.

Fourth, I have found many parents who understand and want Western teaching methods for their child. Many people tell me, 'You need to go to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing or Chengdu because people are more Western minded." I realize that is true. However, I've found such parents right here in Zhengzhou, Henan. 

I have to talk to a lot of parents who don't want what I offer to find the ones who do, but, it's worth it. Parents who want excellence for their child with the idea that they will study abroad some day, aren't easy to find here, but, I've still met several hundred. There are enough.

Recently, a school in Hong Kong offered me a very high position with a very high salary to come there and lead their school. I declined their very kind and generous offer because I am perfectly happy with the students I have here.  A few years ago, another school in Beijing wanted me to come and be the principal at their school. I was grateful and quite flattered with the package that they offered, but, it wasn't for me.

I teach elite students because I know the path to English fluency. I can take most students from zero basis to fluency in 5-6 years. What I'm doing is working very well. Our students are getting amazing scores on TOEFL, IELTS and the SAT. I love what I do. I love seeing Zhengzhou students excel at such a high level. I look for and find elite students and parents that I can cooperate with in order to continue getting these kinds of results.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report SEARU 2019-6-25 10:42
Thanks for your firm effort on English teaching in China! It is Ok for a coach to select excellent athletes for the-Olympic-Game competition. But as an ordinary teacher, we are asked to treat every kids in equal way! The basic principle is that we should motivate each kid's potential ability through careful observation and take concrete measures to different students no matter they are elite or backward! This reminds one vivid story:
In 1988 I met with a naughty boy who often made troubles in my class. Once a time I had to say his behavior was ‘natural disaster (which human can't resist!)". That statement let the whole class burst into laughing! To tell the truth I gave more attention to the growth of the so-called good students while looking down the backward ones!  To my surprise, decades later this ‘bad’ pupil has become a famous businessman whose factory is as big as the schoolyard! I feel sorry for myself: Why had I not noticed his potential power in early time?    ’
Reply Report MichaelM 2019-6-25 12:40
SEARU: Thanks for your firm effort on English teaching in China! It is Ok for a coach to select excellent athletes for the-Olympic-Game competition. But as a ...
Right. You should do that. I'm going to keep doing what I do. It's working just fine.
Reply Report SEARU 2019-6-27 15:26
So happy to see this blog again after several days of missing (that had been deleted for unknown reason.)!

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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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  • Why English Is So Hard 2019-7-15 22:39

    Yes, the serious exam system has made Chinese education go in a strange way which has wasted too much for the nation!  Our physical education program should make ordinary kids become healthier and stronger rather than prepare thousands of athletes for few champion gold medals! All subjects ought to train children to do independent thinking with their own head instead of repeating others' sayings without one-word-changing!
    (A long time ago, I posted one blog (or thread)titled ‘We should learn English as kids’ .)

  • Why Foreigners Can't Teach Gaokao English 2019-7-14 23:25

    "The school I work at tells me to concentrate on pronunciation and oral speaking skills only, the students will get grammar lessons from their respective State schools.  What's the use of proper pronunciation if they can't construct a correct sentence?"

    This, right here, is the reason I gave up after 11 years. I could not justify punishing myself and pulling out my own hair any longer. I was tired of hearing the excuse, "This is China. We do things differently, here". Just play games, sing songs, and get them to talk (in a university environment). Foreign teachers are a laughingstock, in China. Everyone knows they are only there to put a white face on the school, and to justify charging exorbitant fees to the parents. Those who WANT to learn, will. The majority however, are only there because they HAVE to be there. If they don't pass, they don't get their Bachelor's Degree. That's the only reason they are in that classroom. Yes, this sounds like a negative post ... but it's the TRUTH.

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