The Spanish expression, “Poco a poco,” (little by little) has been common in my vocabulary since February when I started teaching English classes at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe, the school I founded. Everyone says you have to have plenty of patience and vision when starting a business, and it’s true. It is easy to feel downtrodden when students leave and income is scarce. It can be really scary too. My receptionist and friends have repeatedly told me the same thing: “Poco a poco, Bethany.” It takes time for the word to spread and students to come.
So I have done my best to keep hope alive and fight for results: I’ve hit the streets handing out thousands of fliers; spent hours planning classes so that they are dynamic and fresh; frequently asked students how I can make the school or classes better; tried to stay rested so I don’t get sick or lose my optimism. And I have made plenty of phone calls to my support people. I can’t thank them enough!
And it is paying off. This month a record number of students signed up, and it appears that no students have dropped out, which is rare in this kind of business. My kid’s class, which for months now has had 2 to 3 students in it, suddenly has SEVEN little monkeys!
It is also exciting for me to finally be able to purchase some fans, clocks, and other materials so that we don’t have to move such items around the school, depending on where we need them. In addition, now I can think seriously about getting a decent sign for the front of the school.
As the school grows slowly, I want to maintain the personal touch that having a small school allows. At the end of May, we had a very special graduation ceremony that I know our 14 graduates appreciated. As the director and teacher, I have close contact with all of the students, and they have become family to me, inviting me to their homes and making me feel welcome to their city. Each student brings something special to the school, and each one helps shape it into what it will be, poco a poco.