I have admittedly not been in this ELT game for very long, but since I passed my CELTA, I have now taught in two very different private language schools here in Berlin, as well as having attended a few in the past as a student myself. Without naming any names or specifics, I therefore would like to share my thoughts on what I believe makes a good language school, based on this experience and my reflections on being a teacher or student within these establishments:
A good language school…
…gives its staff a good induction; showing them where the books are, where the class files are kept and even how the coffee is made!
…gives its staff appropriate notice of their teaching hours for the coming weeks/months, and makes sure that the staff are happy to teach each class.
…has adequate stationery and photocopying facilities.
….invests in resources such as new textbooks, as well as teacher’s books, and makes an effort to order and preserve them.
…provides extra facilities, such a televisions, projectors and laptops, to allow staff to keep their lessons interesting.
…shows an interest in the personal development of its staff, offering workshops, observations and an open-door policy with the Director of Studies.
…offers free tea, coffee and other caffeine-containing products for its staff who have likely never slept enough!
…keeps its staff up-to-date with any changes, relevant notices and new arrivals of materials and resources.
And, most importantly, I think, a good language school employs people who enjoy teaching English – whether they are British or American, native or non-native and new teachers or experienced teachers. There should be a place for everyone and, something which our Cambridge Assessor remarked when he spoke to my whole class on the CELTA, there should be some sort of sense of community – a place where people actually want to come to work! I’m really enjoying the wonderful world of ELT, and I look forward to settling into my current place of work more over the next few weeks 🙂