Many SIGs address different aspects of the educational side of what happens in our classrooms, but no other SIG within JALT addresses business issues, thus the School Owners’ (SO) SIG was born. The SO SIG is a place where owners or prospective owners of language schools in Japan meet, discuss and learn the business aspects of running language schools in Japan. School owners are unique in that they must balance the educational goals of their students with the economic realities of running a business. Managing one’s own school can have significant advantages, such as allowing one the freedom to teach in the ways that one feels are most effective. It also entails unique challenges, such as signing employment contracts, managing staff, collecting fees, conducting marketing, and many other aspects that involve finances and management.
The SO SIG ran its first conference on Sunday, January 28, 2018 in Osaka. The full day of presentations and discussions on topics ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to hiring practices and teacher management gathered 67 attendees from all over Japan. A resounding success for our first event. The next conference is tentatively scheduled for Tokyo in January 2019. Members of the SO SIG are able to attend the conference for free. Non-members can attend for a fee.
The SIG hosts several webinars each year. Some recent topics have been SEO, creating a positive employment culture, and making employment contracts. These webinars are free for members, and when attended live, allow for real-time interaction with the presenters and do not require attendees to travel. Recordings can also be accessed at any time by SIG members (https://jaltsosig.wixsite.com/home/members-only).
The SO SIG produces a newsletter with articles related to running a language school in Japan. Some sections have highlighted mistakes different owners have made or contain articles on the balance between educational quality and maintaining a profit.
The SO SIG website (https://jaltsosig.wixsite.com/home) is our main source of information. Members are able to login and access videos of presentations from past conferences, audio from past webinars, and PDF versions of past newsletters. It is also a good location to see information on upcoming events.
Please join the “JALT School Owners SIG” group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchoolOwnersSIG/). It is currently open to anyone interested in issues related to school ownership, not just SIG members. It is a great place to ask questions and see issues school owners are discussing.
Jan 20, 2019 (Tentative), Second Annual SO SIG Conference
If you are a school owner who cares about operating a school that offers quality education and is fiscally and operationally sound, the SO SIG is a great resource. We look forward to sharing our unique perspective with JALT.