Opinion / 首页Blog

Lessons learned from experience

By MichaelM ( Updated: 2015-01-29 17:25

In the international high school where I teach 10 lessons each week, I am respected and admired from the simple advice that I give to the director and others regarding several things beyond teaching/learning English. First let me say, I'm 56 years old. I've owned my own school of 750 students in the US. I've never been a principal except during interim periods where the position was vacant. Nonetheless, I've had a lot of experience in that position.

Some people say that success is gained through making right decisions (or coming up with right answers); right decisions come from the wisdom gained through experience; experience is chock full of some good and some bad decisions. I've found that the more decisions that you make, the more mistakes you'll make and the more wise you'll become. You can not only teach others what does work, but, you almost become an expert in what doesn't work.

I've found several morsels of wisdom that, when applied, are very beneficial. Here is the most important one for me in my approach to life.

1. Be positive. Being positive doesn't mean that you don't face reality. You must face reality. You must make difficult decisions sometimes. But, I've found that being positive helps you make those difficult decisions with fairness and grace. Even when it doesn't seem to be the most advantageous to others.

Example: I've learned a whole new kind of behavior from Chinese parents that I rarely saw in my school in the US. I'm estimating that about 20-30% of students' mothers here, like to complain about school, teachers, education, etc. It was actually a new experience for me when I first encountered this. My school in the US had become so successful and so in-demand that I very rarely heard a complaint. Also, I was sheltered some by having a principal/headmaster that worked for me. Being one who likes a fair, yet, swift solution to complainers, I devised a principle that I (and others who work with me) live by. That is, always be ready to send the complainer away to go somewhere else and try to be happy. I have the interest of their happiness at the front of my mind and conversation. If they are complaining, they aren't happy. So, my goal is their happiness.

My methods of teaching English have solidly proven to be very successful for the large majority of students. Thus, I'm not interested in changing them due to a complaint from someone who has never taught English, who likely doesn't speak English and who has never taught children. So, I am always ready to refund their money and let them know that I want them to go somewhere that they can be happy. It is better for them, better for their child and better for me.

The results of this approach is, after several different confrontations with mothers of students, I've only had one who didn't stay with me. The one who left, I insisted that they leave due to the irrational and very volatile nature of her complaints (she was determined to stay here and be miserable and attempt to make me miserable). I refunded the balance of her son's tuition and insisted that she go somewhere where she can be happy.

Being positive isn't about not facing reality. It is about being fair, honest and doing all you can so that everyone gets what they want in the end. Even though the lady wanted to stay with me and complain constantly, it is best for her to go away and try to find a satisfactory place for her child to learn English.

Again, my position with her was, her happiness. She really couldn't honestly argue with that. I've found that I can gracefully deal with such a person in a way where everyone wins in the end.

Perhaps you can glean some wisdom out of what I've shared here. I hope so. Just be positive and put the other person's happiness in the front of your mind without compromising what is best for you and those whose lives you affect.

The original blog is:

Most Viewed Today's Top News