This last week has been the roughest work week for me yet. I’m very pleased with the progress of my students, and the development of my EFL curriculum, but the business side of things has been disastrous. I had thought that I’d be opening two new classes this Monday, but neither opened.

We had a list of several students who wanted to attend my evening classes but couldn’t find space this spring. None of them were still interested when we called. The only three remaining students who want to take the class are ones I’ve given entrance tests to over the last couple of weeks.

What’s worse still, is the fact that nobody wants to enroll for my 1st and 2nd grade class. Originally, there were four students who were planning on enrolling, plus a few maybes, but now there aren’t any. There was one mother who was planning on signing up a pair of twins just last night, if we could move the class time half an hour earlier, but when we talked to her today, she said she’d found something else. Ditto for the other two who had signed up.

Of all of my classes, there are none I’m as proud of as my 1st and 2nd grade class that just finished this summer. I’ve never had a class make such great progress in my entire life. Some students who had studied for years at Sesame Street or Uncle Jason tried to join that class after it had been going for just over 6 months, and it was too hard for them in every aspect. It’s was no surprise that students were much better at phonics and spelling than those from other schools. However, my students also had learned more grammar, and had far, far larger vocabularies. Over the last year, I’ve poured so much of my time and my effort into designing and teaching the best classes I possibly can and the results show. Being faced with the idea that nobody wants these kinds of classes felt like being punched in the gut.

I feel like we’re always right on the cusp… if we can just get the number of students we need to open a class all at the same time, then it’s great. If we come up a few short, though, those who have already signed up leave by the time a few more kids trickle in. All of my summer students’ parents are pleased with class and have decided to continue. The problem is getting new students in the door to replace the older ones who can’t continue. Direct mailing has been almost completely ineffective. We need some better way.

I passed out stacks of fliers at a local elementary school yesterday, but not even a single prospective student came into the school today.