Teaching Outside the Classroom: Five Franchise Opportunities for Teachers
There comes a point in every teacher’s career when they have to decide if they want to stay on in the classroom or move on to something different. This moment may come from a job loss, moving, or retirement. While most people in education find little that is good about the climate of testing we are currently in, it does provide many business opportunities for teachers who want to get out of the classroom. Teachers who move into the business world will find new challenges and concerns; however, the heart of the matter is still the same – helping kids succeed to their fullest potential.
Tutoring – A natural business opportunity for teachers who want to go outside the classroom is to begin a tutoring service. With the strict achievement requirements placed on schools at both the state and federal levels, children are pushed harder than ever to succeed. Additionally, as the US moves toward national curriculum standards, children will be pushed even harder, particularly in math and reading, to achieve at higher levels. Unfortunately, teachers aren’t going to be given more time or more material in order to achieve more with their students. Therefore, more responsibility for a child’s learning will fall to the parents if that child is struggling. Teachers who open tutoring centers are more in tune with the requirements and tested subjects as well as different methods to reach struggling students. Parents feel more secure in curriculum presented by teachers when seeking a tutor for their students as they feel that teachers are the best prepared to get their child ready to handle rigors of the schools’ curriculum.
Music – Music teachers have an advantage as the idea of taking music lessons away from school is an already established thought pattern for most people. There are a variety of ways music lessons can be offered from private, in-home lessons to group classes in music appreciation or beginning instrument-based lessons. There are also opportunities for music teachers to work outside of a school as voice coaches, choir directors, or band directors. Business owners in the area of music education offer a significant amount of flexibility, limited only by their personal comfort and experience in teaching particular instruments or topics in music theory. In this type of business, owners must not only have a strong ability in teaching music but also must be able to perform in order to demonstrate their skills to future customers. However, working in a music education business can reignite a teacher’s passion not only for teaching but also for making music of their own.
Art— Like music teachers, art teachers are easily able to move out of the classroom and into a business teaching art. The opportunities for art teachers are varied and run the gamut from teaching summer art camp courses to private lessons to owning a gallery. While the opportunities to become a full-time practicing artist are limited, those who can teach art will find students of all ages in many different locales. Art teachers who are leaving the classroom for their own business must have a good capital base in order to set up their studio which can get expensive. It may be necessary to begin a business with other art teachers or begin small and work up to a larger working studio in time. As with music teachers, art teachers need to be able not only to demonstrate their teaching abilities, but also show prospective students their abilities in various artistic media. Parents of children with demonstrated artistic talent, particularly if that child is considering attending art school, will gladly pay for the experiences and learning that can be provided outside the classroom with someone who is passionate about both teaching and art.
Gifted and Talented – In today’s schools, the gifted student is usually overlooked and remain unchallenged due to the constraints of ever-shrinking budgets and focus on improving test scores across the school. Gifted children are not covered under the federal special education so schools are not required to provide courses specifically for their needs. Parents who feel their child needs to be challenged may find that in-depth, project-based classes outside of school would provide enough challenge to keep their child interested in academics. Educational businesses that cater to the gifted and talented child are easy to sell to parents because they know the frustration their child feels regarding school. Working in these types of businesses also tends to benefit the teachers as well as the students. Teachers who were feeling as if they were just teaching to the test can, in working with the gifted, feel the challenge of teaching and be able to teaching more in-depth than would be allowed in a traditional classroom.
Test Preparation – For better or worse, education exists in a world of standardized testing from the elementary level through adult education. Tests are now mostly high stakes with the ability to influence a student’s entire academic career in one test session. Parents don’t feel fully qualified to help prepare their students for these tests so they turn to the ones who do understand them – teachers. Test prep is different from tutoring in that the focus during test prep is on how to take a standardized test and be successful instead of teaching in the subject area. There are certain tricks and tips that a good test prep instructor can provide that will raise a student’s test scores significantly, making it easier for the student to take advantage of later academic opportunities. Teachers who are interested in teaching test preparation need to have a proven track record and be able to explain to potential clients what they are able to teach that is different than what student are getting in school. For the teacher who can prepare students for testing, business will grow quickly.
Many teachers decide to leave the classroom for many reasons each year, yet still want to be involved in helping students learn and become successful. Educationally-focused businesses allow teachers to continue teaching while opening themselves to working with many different types of students in a new environment. Parents are more apt to enroll their child into an extra-curricular program if it is managed and administered by an experienced teacher. Teachers who are also business owners have the advantage of possessing classroom experience and being able to tailor a program to fit the needs of each student in their care. The personalized educational experience that teacher-led businesses can provide can make a significant difference in the lives of the student with whom they work.