superhero stood teacherIn the last post I talked about why it’s probably a good idea to not hire any extra teachers.

But if you do want to make the leap of faith,   how to hire great teachers – and not end up with nightmare scenarios – is probably the most popular question I’m getting now.

And, along with Tip no.3, it is probably the second biggest mistake I see people making.

The thing is that there is a huge worldwide shortage of *great* teachers.

They are just so hard to find and if you get one,  treat them well! :)

So if there aren’t enough great teachers around …. what’s my top Ninja Tip here?

Don’t hire teachers! :)

As I said most great teachers already have a job (or are starting their own school), so you have to ask “Why did they leave their last job?”

Sometimes of course it is a legitimate reason.

But very often we see it being because of clashes with the previous school owners.

And these clashes are usually one of two things:

a)  Bad personalities.  (Either the teacher or the previous owner)

b) Differences in teaching methodologies.

You might *think* you’ve told them how you want to teach,  but what they’re thinking is “Nah, I’ll do it my way” :)

I’ve seen so many owners make this mistake.

It *will* happen.

And anyway you don’t want mediocre people.

That is the definition of stress.

What you want are *great* people.


So how do you hire great people?

The rule, and this applies to any hiring anyone not just teaching,  is always…

Hire for personality.  Train for ability.

It doesn’t matter if they have zero teaching experience, in fact if you’re doing Genki English this is probably a plus point as it’s so different from everything else,  but hire for the one thing you can’t train for … an amazing personality.

Believe me if you hire someone who has all the qualifications in the world but doesn’t have the right personality,  it’s going to be heartache all the way!

But if they have the right work ethic, smile, attention to detail, ethics and dedication,  you can train them up in no time!

Ninja Tip:  For training someone up, get the book “The EMyth revisited” it will show you how to simplify everything you do so that anyone, with the right personality, can pick it up.   It will also save you hours and hours by helping you streamline your business.

Ninja Tip 2:   Even before you hire *always* be keeping an eye out for amazing people.  Just  like when you buy a red car & suddenly every car you see on the street is red, when you start thinking about people with amazing personalities, work ethics or dedication you suddenly start seeing them all around.   In the coffee shop,  in the cafe,  on campus,  ex-students, parents, wives or husbands of students,  university returnees.  They are all over.

But keep your eye out well before you need to fill a position.

That way you’ll have a list of possible candidates in your head already when the opening comes around.


Don’t rush in 

Then the second rule is  (and this one comes from bitter experience, everyone I know, including myself, has made this mistake!!) …

Hire slow. Fire Fast.

Take your time.  Get to know them.  Fill in classes yourself if you have to.

I know it’s tempting, but never, never, never give someone a job just because you “have to” fill a teaching position.

You don’t “have to”.  You’ll find a way.

And that way is *not*  by hiring someone who isn’t perfect.

Believe me you will regret it.

I promise.

Always wait.

Get the *perfect* person, not the nearest,  for the job and they will not just fill it, but they will exceed all your expectations.

Ninja Tip:  This is one more reason to keep your eyes open well before you actually will be hiring.

And finally, if they don’t work out,  do fire them.

I know emotions (and laws) come into this,  but we all make mistakes.

And it’s not the teacher we have to think about, it’s the kids.

If the teacher isn’t suited to teaching,  they have to go.

They will be happier elsewhere, you’ll be happier and the kids will be happier.

I know it’s hard,  you think they’ll change,  but they won’t.

Hire slow. Fire Fast.

I’ve seen so many owners go from quivering masses of stress and sleepless nights, to happy, relaxed human beings just by getting rid of that problem staff member.

You need to do it.

Remember we’re in a different industry.

We’re not selling widgets.  We’re guiding kids to their future lives.

Your school is where they come to gain their energy, their positivity, their passion for learning and their ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere.

They deserve the best,  teachers who have all the passion and energy you do.

And you deserve someone who can take your vision for your dream school and make it a reality and often a reality that is even better than your biggest dreams.

You guys are all my team, and your staff are all your team.

And for team Genki English we want superstars all the way.

When you get those superstar teachers, cherish them, nurture them, be strict with them and be there for them.

They will be your diamonds, your superheros, your inspiration and your guides on this amazing journey!

OK, those were my top tips,  what is your best advice for hiring great teachers?  Do let us know in the comments! :)

Good luck and be genki,


P.S.  Do check out that EMyth book, it’s how you will write your training course.

P.P.S.  If you’re wondering how many people you’ll need eventually, keep in mind the rule of 7.    In any business if  you have 7 people reporting to you, that is a full time job.  No teaching, that’s full time managing.    And it will usually take 7 teachers to match the teaching work you can do (because you’re so amazing! :)  Well, that and because it’s your baby so you are more passionate. )   So the next goal line is 7 teachers with you managing them.     Then when you get near to 7 teachers, you need to hire a professional manager.  Each manager will only manage and not teach.  They will manage a maximum of 7 teachers each and report to you.   So once you pass the first 7 teachers the next goal is 7 managers (a full time job for you to manage them) x 7 teachers per manager = 49 teachers.   See, I told you it was a never ending rabbit hole!  But that is a million dollar company.   If you want it.  My advice?  Stay small.  No teachers.  Just you. And 120 students.

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Thank you to everyone who took up the special offer last week – welcome on board!

If you’re lucky enough to see your class everyday you have lots of skills to teach, not just English and confidence.

And of course it makes sense to try and Genki those up too! :)

So Amye has come up with this amazing basic skills workbook that I’m sure is going to be a lifesaver for all the VIP members out there!


Ninja Tip:  If you’re not a VIP member yet,  order your Teacher’s Set  now and you’ll be able to download this workbook too.

It covers Tracing & Motor Skills,  Numbers and counting skills, Pattern recognition and observation plus a whole bunch more all for the first Adventure level.

Over on the VIP forum Amye wrote up a few words:

-I am in the process of making a teacher’s guide which has instructions and hopefully an answer key. This will hopefully clarify what one is supposed to do with some of the more confusing pages.

-The pages with (the back for card sets) is for if you print the entire book out in one go. They usually come after a cutting page.

-I used full colour backgrounds as my kids want nothing to do with B&W paper haha, but I am definitely thinking of making a more ink-friendly version if there is interest.

I think it’s amazing what Amye has done, thank you so much for sending it in!

And if you have comments for Amye please do write them on the blog comments, or indeed if you’d like to see further books made for the other Genki English levels!

Be genki,


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How to motivate students who just aren’t into learning English?

For younger kids ….

With younger kids, if you’ve got their attention then sometimes just bringing in the computer to class is all you need.

When you add in the songs & games the biggest problem is often how to get them *out* of the classroom!

For older kids ….

And for older kids, 6th grade and above,  the computers really help but  you also need to give them a more solid reason.

I usually do this by simply asking them what they want to do for a living.

What is their dream life?

Invariably in this day and age to be world class at anything, whether it’s to become a welder or a CEO, a farmer or a rockstar, a world class loomband maker or superhero vegetable means you’ll need English.  (Well, maybe not for the vegetables :)


And very often, this is all it takes.

The kids have just never seen the simple link between the English they are learning in class and their big dream.

Once you show them, very often, they’re hooked!

And for those in between ….  The Cinderella Game
golidlocks sleepOr if you have kids somewhere in between, this fantastic idea from Moza might help get them thinking about their dreams…

1- Show them a video about Cinderella when the fairy makes her wish come true  (or Harry Potter when Hagrid first meets him, or Star Wars where they first meet Anakin) . Then ask the kids some questions about it.

2- Tell them that this fairy is coming to our school to make your daydreams come true too.

3- Give each student a star to write her daydream and what she is going to be .

4- Stick a magic wand on the wall and put all of their stars around it so they could see it every day.

I’m sure you have at least one class who would love this! :)

Be genki,


P.S.   You still need dreams too, of course. You’ve got your dream job of being an amazing Genki English teacher, but how far do you want to take it?


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If you’ve picked up your Teacher’s Set   then this is how you can use them to get some awesome ESL (English as a Second Language) or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) lessons!


I also did a video of this if you’d prefer learning that way.


1.  Warm Up & Review

The very first lesson is easy with the Disco Warm Up to set up the expectations and the all important first steps of discipline and getting the kids excited, but still under control.

Then from the second lesson we start reviewing everything we’ve done so far,  this is the real key that gets the big results.

You can see how I do it in video here.

2. Input

Then we need some sort of input of new materials.    You could do this the old fashioned flashcard-repeat-after-me type thing,  but the research shows that doesn’t work too well, and it’s as boring as anything!

So that’s where the computer games and the special songs  come in to play, this is how you get the grammar and vocab well and truly stuck in their heads.

With the “words” section of the software you get the flashcards for each vocab item, with lots of different pronunciations.  Then use the “mini lesson” before moving on to the song.  Remember to build things up and get the kids all genki before they start singing! :)

Ninja Trick:  The key here is “multiple intelligences” so that’s why we have big, bright, unambiguous (but sometimes a little weird!)  pictures,  fun sounds, plus melodies and gestures for everything.  This hits as many of the different ways of learning as we can (hey, smell would be cool too! :) ) so all the kids have a chance to learn & remember.   If you skip a few (say you don’t like gestures or don’t like music or computers) then you’ll miss some kids!

Then there is one final, really important step …

3. Output

A lot of courses miss this out and that is why you find lots of kids who study for years but can’t speak at all.

Speaking is the most important part of learning a language, and it can be terrifying!

So that’s why in Genki English we use classroom games,  the adrenaline pumping of a competitive game is as close as we can get to the adrenaline pumping real life scenario when you first speak the language in real life.

Plus with a well crafted game the kids get lots of practice speaking with each other, not just with the teacher.

All the main Genki English class games you can find on the website,  just pop over to the curriculum page, click through to the lesson you like and off you go!

Ninja Tip:  There are also more bonus games available for VIP members.


So that’s it really.

Of course you can spice it up later on with adding in 5 minutes of reading,  picture books (as a reward and extra listening practice),  drama and plays ( check out the huge selection of those on the VIP forum), card games or worksheets,  or even super high tech methods,  but the essence is to keep it basically the same with the

Warm Up/ Review -> Input -> Output

And all you need materials wise is the Teacher’s Set.

Give it try and you’ll be well on your way to some fantastic, and stress free, lessons! :)

Be genki,


P.S.  Timing wise,  spend around 3 to 5 minutes on the warm up/review at the beginning,  maybe going up to 5 to 10 minutes after a year or so of lessons (as you have so much more to review!)  Then split the rest of the time equally between input and output.  Unless you are doing the homework programme, in which case of course the kids have already done the input at home so you can whizz through that really quickly (basically just checking they got the meanings right!) and spend more time on the output.

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Update:  This offer has now finished.  Thank you to everyone who took part, and if you missed it, the Teacher’s Set is for you! :)



How are you doing today?

I’m a bit like you in that I’m always wanting to find new ideas and anything that makes life easier – especially things that keep the kids enthralled and get them learning more.

But I’m also always a bit reluctant to pay for big products unless I can *really* see how much they are going to help me.

And although we have the 30 day guarantee, have thousands of teachers using the Teacher’s Set and it is an incredibly cheap price for a full programme that would otherwise cost so much more under a franchise system, I also know quite a few of you are  thinking:

“Can this really be as amazing as everyone is saying?

and keep putting things off for another day. :)

So … just to speed you along a touch,  if you feel you’re not ready for the full Teacher’s Set yet, check out the limited edition (just until this Friday Feb 20th)  first level of Genki English – the Adventure Level!


Featuring the full Genki English software for the first 7 lessons, plus over 25 mp3s of Mini Lessons, Songs and Karaoke tracks.

 # Title Target English
 1 Disco Warm Up! Genki Disco Warm Up
Class control, motivation techniques
+ stand up, sit down, clap, cheer etc.
 2 Rock, Paper, Scissors Rock, Paper, ScissorsTeaching the “Losing means try again!” rule,
and a game the kids can’t stop playing!
 3 What's your name? What’s your name?
What’s your name? My name is ……Nice to meet you.
+ eye contact!
 4 How are you?How are you?
I’m ..hungry, tired, cold, sad, happy, great, good, OK.
Positive words for a positive high ending to the class.
 5 I’m a superhero! I can….

I can jump, run, hide, cook, stretch, climb, swim, fly
The most popular Genki English song.
Suitable for kids through to adults.
 6 Left and right
Left, right, forward, back, stop,stand up, sit down, spin, jump
What used to be the most popular song
before the Superhero came along!
7  Pronouns I am, you are   Pronouns: I, you, he, she, we are happyCan’t teach grammar after just 7 lessons?
Oh yes you can and it becomes really easy!
pronouns + verb to be

Whilst you don’t get the full VIP access to the website you do get a great selection of pdf printables too.

If you want to get started today, this is the download pack for you!

Update:  This offer has now finished.  Thank you to everyone who took part, and if you missed it, the Teacher’s Set is for you! :)


As I say this is only available until Friday,  just as an experiment to see how you all like it.

So if you have friends who might be interested in Genki English then do please forward this message on to them.

Let’s get many more people getting great results for their kids  & loving Genki English!

Be genki


P.S.  I’m actually quite excited about this, we have 12,000 people going through the free training course at the moment so it’s going to be amazing to see so many more teachers from perhaps less affluent areas being able to get on board with the real materials too!

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Colin just sent in this very nice game to go with the breakfast lesson:

1. The players sit in a circle with a set of breakfast mini cards each.

2. The first player says: “What would you like for breakfast?”

3. Going round the circle, each chooses a card and says, “I’d like some…” + whatever’s on the card.
4. The first player has to remember what all the others have ordered.  They goes round the circle saying “He’d like some…”, “She’d like some…”.

If  they get it right, they takes the players card.

If they get it wrong, they give a card to the player.

They will probably find this very easy, so before they get bored, give them all a set of drinks cards too.

Now it’s , “I’d like some……. and some….”.

I’m thinking of adding fruit cards in the near future.

The winner is the one with the most cards at the end of the game.

As for timing, you can let them play until:
a/ somebody loses all their cards.
b/ they’ve been round the circle twice.
c/ your time limit is up.

What do you think, do let us know in the comments!


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