3:13 pm - Tuesday December 17, 2650

TESOL School Management

Some teachers make their way up to management level. These positions require organizational and people skills – talents you will have developed during your teaching career.

It is not difficult to find teachers and former teachers who have taken over managerial roles at language schools all over the world. Some accept their new responsibilities with a pang of regret for their glory days in front of the blackboard. A manager with teaching experience should be sympathetic to the needs of staff members but will also be aware of the realities of what can go on both in and outside the classroom.

Many teachers find themselves becoming managers in an incremental process. When a teacher is appointed or chooses of his or her own free will to be in charge of examination matters or of materials procurement, the initial steps towards a managerial role have already been taken. This role can develop as a teacher becomes involved with the creation and implementation of school or departmental policies, compliance with accreditation bodies, staff recruitment and teacher training programmes.

Some teachers naturally develop an interest in the commercial aspects of language teaching. It is not too difficult to understand that a school needs to recruit students in order to survive. Some of criteria normally associated with the private sector such as “customer satisfaction” and “performance” have even seeped into the current administrative thinking that governs the public schools system.

To be an effective manager, teachers need to be aware of basic business principles.

Familiarity with the theory and practice of marketing methods is a definite asset as is managerial
ability.

A head for figures and an acquaintance with accounting will also help the school or department manager deal with professionals such as bookkeepers and accountants, not that the manager has to be an expert in any of these fields.

If you decide to manage and/or own a school in a country that is not your homeland be sure
that you are familiar with local laws regarding business operations and employment regulations.
Although most schools operated by native English speakers run without major problems, there
have been reports of foreign-owned institutions falling foul of local labour laws and other
regulations and having to pay sometimes harsh penalties.

Teachers who are serious about a career in school management could consider taking one of the specialist courses that exist for managers. There is a M.Sc. degree course (taught by distance) in English Language Teaching Management offered by the University of Surrey. Core Modules include: ELT Management, Syllabus Design, Business and Financial Management in ELT, Human Resource Management, Language Teaching Methodology, Marketing Research Methods and Quantitative Techniques for Business Language Testing.

If you are interested in the issues that surround ESL/EFL school management, you may be interested in joining the ELT Management SIG (Special Interest Group) operated under the auspices of IATEFL.
Further Reading:
Impey, G. and Underhill N. An ELT Manager’s Handbook, Heinemann ELT, 1994, Oxford.
White R. V. et. al. Management in English Language Teaching, Cambridge University Press,
1991, Cambridge.

Filed in: TEFL Careers