Thank you to everyone who participated on our fourth webinar yesterday. Thank you for your contribution, open communication and for your commitment to high-quality educational experiences for international students.
Helping me, helping you
The theme was how we, Bucksmore Homelingua, can work with you, the teachers, in better ways to increase our effectiveness in the marketplace.
2014-15 has been a lean year thanks to the Russian rouble and the Euro and across the EFL industry there has been a significant drop in Russian and European bookings. We’re therefore all called to up our game a little bit if we are to run successful businesses – us as a company and you as a self-employed freelance person.
What can you do?
1. Respond to enquiries as soon as you can. When we get enquiries, we contact potentially matching teachers in an order of “matching-ness” until someone says yes. The first positive response is the one we will propose to the student. Generally, when the enquiry is vague we email you and when it looks more likely we phone. The first teacher to confirm that the student and dates are ok, we send that teacher’s profile to the prospective student. We don’t usually send more than one profile at a time.
2. This is a relationship business. A nice hello perhaps every other month, also updating your non-availability, may create your own luck. I mean by this that if enquiries come in shortly after you contact us, our course consultant will be more likely to think of you.
3. Your teacher profile. This is a big one. It’s the first document a student sees of you. Less (text) is often more (impact) and the photos make a HUGE difference. Choose sunny days. De-clutter.
4. Training. Do online training courses or attend events. There are many around e.g. www.IHLondon.com CPD, www.Global-English.com 1-1, www.tefl.org.uk are but a few. Let us know when you’ve done them and send the certificates.
5. Roadshow events. The British Council host occasional events around the country. Publishers like OUP, CUP, Pearson, Heinemann and others, sometimes have pop up shows to promote their newest books. You can mingle with other teachers, get ideas and sometimes get wine and nibbles too. See their websites for info.
6. Expand yourself in terms of types of students you can teach. Be open to adults or children if you don’t usually take them. Learn how to teach SELT exams such as IELTS, PET/FCE/CAE, GESE and ISE, as outlined by the UK Home Office since 6th April 2015.
What are we doing?
1. Bucksmore Homelingua is not the old Homelingua or the old Bucksmore Home Tuition. Bucksmore Homelingua was formed in Sept 2014, merging Homelingua and Bucksmore Home Tuition. As mentioned before, it takes time and frequency to build relationships. The previous staff you may have known (Kelvin, Kathy, Fran) had got to know you over time. The current team of me, Ellie and Julian are new – I’m the ‘oldest’ and will have my first anniversary in July 2015. And, we’ve got teaching experience, commitment to quality and a range of company resources available. We’re passionate about developing and growing. Bear with us in the time of transition, and get to know us 🙂
We invite you to webinars, we’re offering a training day on 6th June, we’re developing the IT in the background to support a smoother website, we’re building connections with other EFL companies… There’s a lot going on in the background and we believe we’re laying firm foundations for future success.
2. Home tuition is firmly a niche product on the international EFL market. We’re educating sales agents overseas to try and raise its profile.
3. Bucksmore’s traditional target market is young learners (11-18) seeking high-quality courses in prestigious locations (Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and London). We’re training Bucksmore’s sales agents that adults are also welcome! Ongoing Homelingua sales agents continue to sell adult and YL courses evenly but there are fewer of them.
4. A major IT overhaul is going on and being rolled out. It’s coming in stages and you may have noticed some changes already – things ain’t what they used to be. Part of this overhaul is looking at promoting teacher profiles and marketing different regions. You won’t see the old sites any more but in case you remember them, you can compare with the new ones and you can come again to see further updates: Homelingua and Oxford International Education Group.
A final thought
All us can do the best we can do, given out current starting point. Practice patience and cooperation. Keep your path your own. Do what’s best for you and we’ll do the same. When what’s best for you and for us is in alignment, together we will make home tuition the best educational experience for international students that it can be.
We’re committed to quality in home tuition. We look forward to getting to know you and working with you.