It doesn’t matter if your background is in education, business, engineering or science; Kumon University can provide you the tools and training to become a successful Instructor.
Maybe you haven’t taught children or developed a learning plan and lesson plans for a student. Or maybe you’re an experienced teacher but have no idea how to bill customers or do payroll.
Don’t worry. Kumon has you covered with its extensive training and support program, which covers all facets of running a successful centre, from in-person trainings to online modules and shadowing senior Instructors. You’ll be surrounded by a team that wants you to succeed.
“One of the great things about how Kumon operates is that it’s really open to anyone who wants to make the leap into a rewarding career of educating children and running a business,” says John Collins, Kumon’s vice president of centre development. “Kumon is a company built on an educational foundation. When you become a Kumon Instructor, your education doesn’t stop after you complete our new Instructor course. Learning and continuing your education becomes part of your lifestyle throughout your career here.”
That learning begins before your centre even opens and is divided into the three stages of an Instructor’s lifetime with Kumon: opening to six months, seven months to five years and six years and beyond. Within those stages, Kumon’s training staff has identified specific skills that need to be accomplished for an Instructor to be considered successful.
“We have six skills that we want them to be able to have,” says Andrea Podgarsky, Kumon’s assistant vice president of Kumon University. “Part of that, of course, is instruction and lesson planning for students, but it also has to do with centre operations, staff development, as well as professional development and business management.”
Throughout the different training timelines, the curriculum touches on those same skills, but at different levels depending on where the Instructor is in their career.
“Whenever we think about our training program, we want to consider what knowledge is necessary for an Instructor to have to be able to open their centre and be successful,” Podgarsky says. “What skills do they need in order to do that?”
As its name implies, the basic level is where everyone starts, no matter your experience level. The ultimate goal in the first stage is to have the centre recognized as an educational resource in the local community.
“Ultimately, we want Kumon to be recognized in the community as this trusted resource when parents need help with their student’s education,” Podgarsky says. “And in order to do that, Instructors need certain skills, right? That's why we created this, so that Instructors have a clear image for themselves.”
The initial training stage begins with self-study and online modules that potential franchisees begin before signing on as full-time Instructors. That way, they can complete their modules online as they continue their careers and are still in the researching phase of Kumon. The training takes about eight weeks to complete on average.
“This part of the training is them getting to know what Kumon is about and is a test of sorts for them and us to see if it’s a fit,” Podgarsky says.
Following the initial round of online learning, the potential franchisees attend a four-day, online meeting where they can interact with other potential franchisees and hit on more of the basics of Kumon instruction, but in a face-to-face setting.
This also leads to the initial in-centre training with a more senior Kumon Instructor, where they can begin to put their skills to the test.
The second leg of the training digs deeper into the operations of centres, along with processes, planning, staff training and marketing. There are also separate educational tracks depending on whether an Instructor is opening a new centre or taking over an existing one. This portion, along with another set of online modules, will complete the initial training before a centre opens.
While it might appear to be a lot to take in at once, the lessons are spread out to give the Instructor time to spend on the opening. Also, Instructors have the support of Kumon’s teams throughout the process.
Three months following a centre’s opening, Instructors enter into a third stage of their basic training.
“The shift in the training focus changes a little bit, because before they opened, it was really about the theory of Kumon and all the different basics of Kumon,” Podgarsky says. “And now it's more about what you have learned as a new Instructor and how we improve upon that. How do we build upon that?”
For the next few months, while Instructors are also teaching classes, they focus on finishing the final segment of the basic training. During this time, they complete a self-reflection and a case study of a student.
The self-reflection is a time to look back on the previous months to assess their skills and use that to create a plan to grow further. The case study is to help Instructors understand how to observe students to help develop instruction skills and reflect on whether they worked. This time also reviews more of the same topics on centre development to reinforce the skills already learned, but in more depth.
Intermediate training for Instructors begins at about seven months after opening through an Instructor’s second year. Advanced training takes place during the Instructor’s third year and beyond.
“We provide one-on-one support throughout the Instructor’s career at Kumon,” Collins says. “Whether it’s through our extensive training, online module library or through our field consultants, we want to support you and help you become successful.”
Throughout the life of the Instructor’s education, the goal of the training is to further the development of the Instructor and the Centre.
In the second stage, the goal is to have the centre meet a major need in the area and have the Instructor’s academic ability and skills developed. In the third stage, the Centre should be able to meet a variety of needs in the community and have a solid reputation for developing self-motivated children.
“Learning never stops with Kumon,” Podgarsky says. “There are all kinds of different things that an Instructor can use to learn from the online modules we have, to our team, the field support centre or through in-person meetings. We are here to help Instructors in any way we can.”