Saturday, March 6, 2010

Apex English: The Website

(PICTURE: Huyen passing out fliers for my school.)

For the next few days I'll write about the formation of my new school. It's been an -- what's a good word for frustrating, stressful and exciting all wrapped into one -- interesting experience. Actually "interesting" isn't gonna cut it here; I'll go with a learning experience.

The school started with a few blunders. Firstly, I hired a web designer who had two months to design the site. After two months there was literally nothing done. The day after the contract was supposed to be done the guy began the website. The dude literally sent us another company's website with our logo on it. Ben August doesn't get mad often but that morning Ben August was furious -- so furious that I'm still talking about it in third person. After firing the guy he put together the site that is currently up. It took him literally less than two hours. What he was doing the previous two months I'll never know. The site looks pretty good but frankly isn't even close to what I envisioned. If you haven't seen the site yet, here's the link: APEX ENGLISH

All of the nicest stuff on the site, including the logo, were designed by Huyen's friend. The web designer was supposed to do these things but not surprisingly didn't.

Huyen's friend also designed a really nice flier for us. We printed out 1,000 copies of the flier and passed them out at two universities. This was actually a lot of fun. I hired Linh, a friend of Huyen's, to help me out. Linh took me to the universities and between classes had me talk to the students in large lecture halls. I wish I had video of this but sadly I don't. Basically Linh would take a microphone that is standard in all classes and introduce me. I would get a huge round of applause from the students and then proceed to pitch them why they should come to my school. After speaking to about eight classes we had over 70 students sign up their contact information, indicating that they were interested in the school.

The most memorable part of pitching to the students was when I was heckled in a class. Heckled is probably too strong of a word but you can be the judge. Here's the basic transcript of what happened:
BEN: (pitching the school) My school is very small. We have 1 classroom and we have 1 teacher...
STUDENT IN THE BACK ROW: (yells out) And maybe one student!!!

The whole class erupted in laughter. I laughed too because he struck upon my biggest fear.

Another funny experience was this:
BEN: (finishing my speech)....I hope to teach many of you at Apex English. Are there any questions?
GIRL WHO IS FLUENT IN ENGLISH: Yes, I have two questions. My first question is whether or not you're married.
BEN: (laughing) No, I'm not married.
GIRL WHO IS FLUENT IN ENGLISH: My second question is whether you like any of the girls in this class?
BEN: I will like many of the girls in this class if they sign up for my school.

Okay, I didn't really say that but should have...