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Perhaps you began your career as a language teacher with a student here, another there. It was manageable, you had time, and all the logistics that accompany any such venture weren't leaving you fazed.
But as all great things grow, the key to ensuring they work as smoothly with 2 students as with 20, is to make sure you're keeping things scaleable.
A tool that we've found incredibly helpful at The Language Plan is Trello. A very straightforward, user-friendly piece of software which is flexible and is easy enough to understand from the moment you sign up, its simple functionality can woo even the hardiest pen-to-paper or excel fans - if such a thing exists.
Below, I've put together a sample of how a language teacher could use Trello as an organisational tool though it's worth bearing in mind that the below is just one way of many that you could set up your boards.
Setting up Trello
After setting up your free account on their site, it's time to set up your first board. I've labelled mine 'Teaching Schedule' which will include all the work I have, though you may choose to separate your agencies by board, for even further distinction.
Within each board, you have an infinite amount of available lists. Above, you can see the first 3 lists are individual agencies, whereas the last list refers to the invoicing.
And under each list, you can add as many cards as you like. Focussing in on Agency 1, you can see all my students that I have with this particular agency.
So that I can see my general schedule at a quick glance, I've included just the name of the student and their standard class day/time. As you add students with an agency, you can simply add more cards within the list.
Details within a card
Now let's dig a little deeper. Opening up a card - let's say Student A with Agency 1 - I've added more detail specific to this student.
There is a large text space available at the top where you can paste any description you like. Above, I've added when the student began classes, their level, and the language they're learning though this area can be expanded on in much more detail.
Further down the card, you can add comments. First, before the class, I made a note of what I had to prep and my plan for the lesson. Then, following on from the lesson, I noted that it was complete and also summarised what we had covered.
And finally, after each month ends, I summarised how many hours I had taught that particular student to make invoicing a snap.
This pattern repeats for every student, meaning if I want to check any detail about any particular student, I can click into their card and see how many classes they've had, what point we're reached with their classes, and what my plan is for the following class.
When working for multiple agencies, there is always the potential for invoicing to be a disaster or at least a monthly headache. Organisation and keeping detailed track of all the hours teaching is crucial to make sure you're charging correctly and not letting any details slip by.
Here, I created a list just for invoicing with all the agencies I work for listed as cards:
And clicking into a card, here is all the detail I need to invoice a client. The person I need to email my invoice to, my pay per hour, when to send my invoice, and when to expect payment have been noted within the description box at the top.
Below in the comments, I track how much I charged for a particular month, whether I had emailed the invoice or not, and whether I had been paid.
The brilliant thing about Trello is that it leaves you to determine exactly how you'd like to use it. And what's more, as software that has been around for a few years, there are integrations, tips and tricks galore that you can dive into to fine-tune your experience even more, so that your account suits exactly your needs.
The above set-up only brushes the surface of what Trello is capable of but it's a good start for language teachers like yourself to be organised and keep the background logistics running smoothly, so you can be focussing on your classes.