Monday, June 05, 2006

Teaching English in Japan - seeking private students

The two lines of Japanese both convey pretty much the same message, something like "If you're interested in group lessons with two or three people or more, then let's talk."

But the top line was composed by me in my own primitive version of Japanese, whereas the second line has been native speakered into proper Japanese by my wife.

The top line, romanized, says "Kibou wa ni, san nin ijou no jugyou dattara. zehi soudan shite kudasai."

The second line reads "Ni, san nin ijou no jugyou ga go kibou deshitara, zehi go soudan kudasai."

Translated word for word, as literally as possible, the first line reads "Desire, that being the topic of this sentence, two, three people or more's class if exists, by all means consultation do please."

The second line, redacted by my wife, has a couple of honorables thrown in to make it more polite, and translates, literally, word for word, like this:

"Two, three people or more's class, this is now the subject that I am talking about, honorable desire if is, by all means honorable consultation please".

Rectification accomplished, I printed out a copy of my Japanese-language advertisement ready to put up on the community noticeboard, something I can do for free.

As for advertising elsewhere, well, I'm still thinking about that.

I did plan to take out an ad in the free give-away magazine METROPOLIS, but now I've done a rethink.

Rereading the data about the ads in METROPOLIS, I find they are actually more expensive than I thought, and what I thought were the cheapest commercial rates were actually for upgrades from free ads, and I do not fit into the free ad category.

As I read the information now, it seems to me that the cheapest ad I could buy would be a "silver ad" for 9975 yen.

Now we're talking about serious money, particularly if this becomes a weekly overhead.

One of my experiences was to work for a debt collecting company for a couple of years. We had a file on every person, a file containing a form which they had filled in, a form detailing their financial outgoings, including all their regular expenses.

And what I realized was that it is not occasional extravagances which break you financially, like splurging on the occasional CAT scan. No, it's your overheads which kill you.

So I'm reluctant to spend money on ads when I have no idea how effective they may be.

Thinking about this, I thought about Tokyo, Yokohama and Chiba, the places where METROPOLIS says it distributes its magazine.

It occurred to me that what I really need is a local publication, and I realized that we have at least one, a free newspaper. My wife dug an old issue of just such a newspaper out of a cupboard and we took a look.

This paper goes to every household in the area where I'm living. It's in Japanese, and the students I am targeting are native speakers of Japanese. The homes that this newspaper goes to are within a reasonable commuting distance of my home.

As for cost, well, one short line costs about 1,500 yen and I would need two lines for a short ad, so about 3000 yen.
This seems to me to be a better idea from the advertising point of view.

Then I remembered seeing ads for companies offering to supply you with private students. I don't know how these outfits work, but there seem to be a number of them, and presumably they do at least some business, since they advertise.

For example this ad in section 15.15 of the classified ads in METROPOLIS:

"FIND PRIVATE STUDENTS! Interested in having your own conversation students? Set your own rates, schedule and location. Register at today. It's free!"

So I've decided to explore this a little.

Meanwhile, I've updated my resume, and have added a section about my skills, in which I have included my computer skills, in which I have listed the ability to do Japanese-language word processing with a Japanese-language version of Word.

The Word document for my advertisement converted painlessly to a web page, but I decided not to use that Japanese-language HTML document. Instead, I opted for an English-language HTML document, and included the script in the Japanese language as a JPEG graphic, captured from the screen.


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