Your Viewing Zone
The viewing area or lobby of your school should be a comfortable and stimulating area. Within this zone are areas where students, parents and sometimes siblings are in limbo before, during (watching), and after class.
Obviously, the heart of a good viewing area is the chairs. The kinds of
chairs you provide as well as how they are arranged can go a long way
in sending the message to your students and parents that they are welcome. If you’re able to add a few extra comforts such as wireless internet, books/magazines and some toys or video for the younger kids, then you’ll really help make their stay enjoyable.
If you’d like to upgrade your chairs, keep in mind, in today’s economy, businesses are selling off assets every day. Search Craigslist.org for good deals on waiting room chairs. Avoid fabric chairs as they are harder to keep clean and “smell free” than vinyl chairs that can be wiped down every night.
Parents–In or Out During Class?
There was an old adage that you never wanted the parents to watch class because they will begin to gossip and talk among themselves about who should test and who is slacking etc… While that is true, preventing parents from watching class invites liability and suspicion. It’s better to be open and transparent with good two-way communication than to be hidden behind closed doors.
Some of the benefits of having the parents watch class are:
You have the opportunity to resell the benefits of your school
You can help create community and friendships by introducing parents
to each other
You can recap class with the parents and let them know how to help
their child at home
One of the advantages of having parents watch class is that it affords
you the opportunity to resell the benefits of your school class after class.
When you pull a ten-year-old brown belt up to lead part of the class, ask him how his training has improved his life. When he answers, “Sir, my school grades are better and I feel more confident,” you can be sure that the parents of the white belts in class will want their children to “grow up” to be like that brown belt.
That scene works like a time machine to show the parent what her child will be like if he continues to come to class. This will help keep the parent on your side the next time the child says he doesn’t want to go to class.
Again, remembering that each zone in your school can also be a market zone as well as a customer service zone, by having the parents stay for class helps you create friendships and a warm community within the school. It can be as simple as saying “Mr. Hoffmann, have you met Mrs. Hires? She’s the superintendent of 12 local schools and her son is out there training now.” Now they both know each other and he sees that an educator such as herself brings her child for lessons.
After each class, recap what was taught for the parents, how to practice it, the real-life skill benefits of the lessons, and what to prepare for the next class.
Be sure to tell them personally about any upcoming events, or opportunities for family specials or training sessions that they can participate in. You may get some new students from it.
Action Steps: What to do now
1. Evaluate your current class viewing area, what can you do to make it cleaner more comfortable, and allow for traffic flow for parents, visitors and students? Make a list of ideas to implement.
2. Make a list of at least five ways that you will interact with the parents or class spectators to help resell the benefits of your program and make them feel informed or important?