First of all, I want to warmly welcome you and thank you for coming here to visit us. My name is Mark Groenewold and I am the president of englishbiz. Before forming this company with my wife, Kazuyo, I had been a teacher in all kinds of classrooms. I was a teacher in high school, college, university, graduate school, corporate boardrooms, kindergartens, junior highs, cram schools, and think tanks. I think that, over the years, my own teaching career has been all over the map, and I am grateful to have had such a varied background.
We started our own language school in 2008. We had just a list of names of kids and contacted all their parents. Initially we taught classes out of public community centers and rented classrooms in places around the city of Takamatsu. Soon we set up our very first classroom. It was sparse. We had a few pieces of furniture, some teaching materials, a whiteboard, and very little besides that. It was a very very lean start. But we had, and still have, a burning passion for teaching and for getting kids to have successful experiences learning English.
Our love of the teaching experience, and the time with the kids, as well as parents seeing that their child was doing well in English, generated a powerful word-of-mouth effect. Our classroom grew with students. Soon we grew from 40 to 100 kids. Then we grew to 150. We decided to take the plunge and expand. We hired staff to team up with us, and year by year we grew steadily. Each year, we reach over 1,000 students with well organized and effective English language classes. Now englishbiz has classrooms all around Takamatsu, and we also serve several major clients in private schools, companies, and local colleges. It has been a wild ride, and we are still growing.
As we grew our own schools and reached more students we realized that we also needed to do something effective for training up and helping the next generation of language teachers coming along. We realized that we needed to equip new staff with the training and certification that they need to 1) be very effective in helping kids become bilingual and 2) have the paperwork that they need to secure their working visa so they can grow their own career in Japan.
Many people who wish to make Japan their home away from home, or who want the adventure of teaching English in Japan are not sure what they need to do to make that big step. As someone who has been through the process, has a couple decades experience as a teacher in Japan, who is actually someone who hires teachers and knows what employers want to see, we believe we can help you jumpstart your teaching career in Japan.
There seems to be a lot of different options for TESOL or CELTA or TEFL all over the Internet, and there are some grey-looking places where people may look for certification. I hope that you will realize that we are very serious in helping you get the certification that you need, to give you realistic and effective guidance in your job hunt, and to also do our best to put in front of you the variety of paths that you may choose as you step forward in your ESL career.
We are passionate educators and know that the kids in English language classrooms need good people to help them. We do our best to help new teachers find their way and find their first steps in this field.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and also to seeing you in the classroom!