How to start your own Spanish Program
How to start your own Spanish Program
For a better reading experience, download the PDF version of this here:
Do you want to start teaching people how to really speak Spanish? Are you brand new to teaching, or frustrated with the results you’ve been getting using traditional, grammar based curriculums? Would you like some more independence, free time, or higher earning potential?
Welcome to The Language School’s Let’s Start Talking! Conversational Spanish Program!
This is a truly unique program that was designed by teachers to make it as easy as possible for new teachers to simply show up to class and start teaching with no need to spend anytime doing class preparation or creating lesson plans, while at the same time ensuring that your student learn how to speak the new language as fast as possible.
Most students become conversational in just 3-6 months!
This program is for teachers that
- Are just starting their teaching careers and not sure where to start
- Want to start their own school or to work with students independently
- Are tired of using traditional grammar based methodologies that don’t work and want to try something new that really gets their students speaking
See what our students have to say about our program on Google!
“Started about a month ago. After consultation I signed up and started the very next week. I have learned the basics of starting a conversation and I am learning enough to feel comfortable. Signed up initially for ten sessions and just signed up for five more.”
“I’m loving The Language School! So glad I found this program to help me learn Spanish. In just 2 sessions I’m feeling like I’ve learned more than I’ve ever learned before. Conversational learning is the way to go! A+++”
“I’ve been taking Spanish classes now for approximately three months and I absolutely love the staff at the school. Both David and Pedro are wonderful teachers and are very accommodating to my busy schedule. I work in the local construction industry where speaking Spanish is a must. Both instructors are very good at explaining the differences in construction/Denver Spanish and proper/conversational Spanish. I definitely feel I am getting the value from each and every class. I am very glad I chose this program over online classes or classes at another facility.”
“Have had a phenomenal experience with The Language School with Pedro as my instructor. Have been studying for 2 months and feel like I could order my own food at a restaurant and understand a good amount of casual conversations. Can’t wait to keep studying!”
“I have tried to learn Spanish on my own for a while now and I’d never progress to anything. I would get frustrated and stop for long periods of time.
I went to Mexico and realized I needed to learn a lot more to have conversations. So I started this January in The Language School. It’s been three months and I’ve noticed a big difference. It is the interaction with my teacher Pedro and practicing at home and in the neighborhood that has expanded my talking.”
“I’ve been attending The Language School for about 6 months now and I couldn’t be more pleased! I’ve tried to learn Spanish on my own several times but always ended up quitting after a short time. Private lessons have helped me to learn more quickly and focus on the topics that have been most important to me. My conversational skills are improving and I’ve finally got the confidence to move to a group class! Thanks, David!”
“An excellent all around class. Taught me the basics of conversation well enough for me to travel in Mexico somewhat confidently very soon after taking my first few lessons. I took lessons for four months and found what I learned extremely beneficial. Professor David was very easy going about learning basics and making mistakes and the curriculum was very well thought out. Overall, a great experience!”
These reviews could go on and on, but I think you get the point… our students love learning with us and gain conversational confidence in a matter of months!
This is a program that I have created over the past decade or so collectively with a dozen or so Spanish professors in our area that aims to move away from the traditional, grammar based approach to teaching Spanish to a truly conversational approach, which gets students speaking Spanish fast.
Step by step instructions for starting your own language business:
1 – Contact me so that I have your information:
+1 (720) 634-2589
2 – Get the first level of Spanish presentations from Teachers Pay Teachers here:
3 – Read this section of our website so you know about all of the resources available to you and your students:
4 – Contact me again to setup training. I can also start sending you prospective students.
5 – Decide where you will teach your students. I suggest being flexible and offering the following:
- Online classes via Zoom
- In person classes at your house or local coffee shop
6 – Decide what your prices will be. I suggest flexible pricing:
- $25-50/class for groups
- $50-100/class for private lessons
7 – Start advertising
- Setup a Facebook page
- Setup a Google business page
- Distribute flyers in community centers in your neighborhood
8 – Sign up your first student. Send them the links to buy the class materials they will need:
Hola FIRST NAME,
Thanks for signing up for Spanish classes with me. To get the most out of these classes and for best results, you should also buy these items so that you can practice when not in class:
9 – Start teaching!
It will probably take you at least 3 times of going through the entire first level to get the hang of the program.
10 – Repeat with level 2, then 3, etc. Here is a link to our TPT site with all of our levels:
About Let’s Start Talking! Spanish Foundations 1:
This contains a combination of 10 lessons, a final review, and a final exam. There is also a conversational evaluation you can use to determine which level new students may start with, if during your initial call with a prospective student they mention they have previous experience.
The idea is that you should simply be able to use the presentations to lead classes, with absolutely no need to do lesson planning or any work outside of class time. You simply show up to class, open the presentations, and follow the activities that are presented.
Since going online, I began recording my classes on Zoom, so you can see how I do this:
This is also a really helpful resource for your students, so if they miss class or need to repeat a class, they can follow the lessons on YouTube at any time.
There are a few more resources that students and teachers have access to with this program, and I wanted to make sure that you were aware of all of this. The complete program overview, along with all of the free and paid resources that accompany this level can be found on our website here:
First, the presentations are meant for the teachers to use to lead a class with their students. Most activities are to be done conversationally in class. Next, there are student workbooks available that accompany these presentations, which are available on Amazon here:
For best results, students perform the activities from the presentations in class with the help of the teacher, and then repeat the same activities in the books between classes to really create solid connections with the new material. The books also include easy to cut out flashcards that greatly reduce the time it takes to study and memorize new vocabulary.
If your school is still online or hybrid, there is a digital course available here:
Please let me know if you are amenable to a follow up call at some point to go over all of this in a little more detail. I’m here to support you and help you start using this program. Here is a link to my online scheduling tool:
View my availability here: http://www.scheduleyou.in/npDVA2bGN
¡Espero sus noticias, y estamos en contacto!
A letter from the creator of the Let’s Start Talking! Conversational Spanish Program, David Stevens
This is exciting! If you are reading this, that means you’re looking forward to starting a new adventure and creating your own conversational Spanish program. I remember when I decided to do that myself, back in 2011. It was one of the most exciting times in my life. I was nervous, excited, optimistic, and absolutely ready for a change in my life.
I graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in International Business, Spanish, and Marketing, and started my career doing sales and marketing with a software company in Boulder. Several years later, I was miserable. While the money was great, I was not using my language skills, and I came to realize that learning how to speak Spanish was really the greatest accomplishment of my life, and that is where my passion was.
I started posting flyers around coffee shops and advertising on Craigslist, and little by little I came to have enough students that made me think that there was some real potential here. So I decided to quit my job and start my own business, teaching Spanish and English in Denver.
It was a lot of hard work, especially in the beginning because there weren’t any good programs on the market to teach adults, which is who I found to be the ones looking to learn from me. That meant I essentially had to create my own program. I also didn’t have any experience in this particular field, so I ended up making a lot of mistakes over the years. There were lots of ups and downs, but it was all worth it. I was making money, on my own, independently, and really helping people breakdown communication barriers.
The business really started taking off in 2016, and by 2019 I was managing Denver’s most popular language school, with 300 students and 15 teachers working for me.
The Pandemic that started in 2020 changed everything for our industry. Schools were forced to close, and everything shifted online. Students decided to take a break from studying, and teachers began losing their jobs. Many private schools went out of business, while the largest universities began laying off their professors and cutting pay to the ones that stayed.
I know, because when the pandemic hit, I was forced to close my language school here in Denver. The state of Colorado issued an executive order that schools could not provide classes in person, which was supposed to last for only 2 weeks. Well, that 2 weeks stretched into 3 months, and I had to make a decision to close our doors permanently and ride this thing out from my house and online.
The optimist that I am, I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to understand what possible good could come out of this situation, because I firmly believe that good things come from bad things. So we have a worldwide pandemic that is forcing us to stay home, causing massive amounts of businesses to close and go out of business, and making millions of people lose their jobs. What can I do to make lemonade out of these lemons that are pouring down on us?
During this period, there was no shortage of phone calls from students that wanted to learn Spanish or English, we just couldn’t do things in person, at our physical location. However, I was still staying really busy teaching. It actually took me back to the days of teaching on my own, before I opened up my full on language school. Those were the best days of my life. I was able to help people, work for myself, set my own schedule, and charge a decent amount of money for my services. In fact, I made more money as an independent teacher than I ever did while I was running a full fledged school.
The thing about running a school is that it is a business with massive amounts of overhead. You have to pay for rent, electricity, insurance, office supplies, staff, advertising, etcetera. To pay for all of that, you have two options:
A – Set your school up as a non-profit and fund your operations through grants
B – Set your school up as a for-profit and charge your students tuition
I went for option B, because I see option A as flawed. As a non-profit organization, you are eligible for a lot of free money from the government. This may sound great, but then you become bogged down by the government. For one, you have to adhere to the requirements of the grant, which I never liked. The grants typically require you to tie your curriculum to a particular standard, which means you must use a grammar based teaching approach that simply doesn’t work. In terms of teaching English, the grants prevent you and your teachers from using a student’s native language in the classroom, which simply doesn’t work as well as being able to explain things in a language that your students can understand. Strike 2. The government also typically tries to fund programs that work with as many students as possible, so class sizes have no limit and 20 to 40 students sign up at a time.
The combination of using a grammar based curriculum, not using the student’s native language, and large classes typically results in extremely low retention rates, with 75% of students dropping out after 2 weeks and less than 10% of students continuing on to the next level. While any logical person can see that this is a huge waste of money, time and effort, guess what! The only numbers that matter to the grant is the number of people that register for the classes, not the number of students that successfully learn the language, pass the class, or move forward into a new level. In other words, 30 students signing up for a class is the success criteria, and no one seems to care that only 3 people finish the class with a passing grade!
As if that weren’t bad enough, another major problem with these grants is that you have to hire staff to apply for them, administer them, and report back to the government on them. 50% of the funds that are supposed to be for teaching students a new language end up going towards administrative work that has nothing to do with the students learning the new language.
As I mentioned before, I went with option B, which was to start a for profit language school. My ethics and moral compass simply won’t allow me to deal with the above scenario, so I went at it completely independently.
The hard part with this is that you aren’t eligible for the grant money, so you have to charge your students fairly high prices, and you can only pay the teachers a fraction of that because you have all of the overhead to deal with. It’s really hard to compete with free, let alone to charge hundreds of dollars for something that people think they can get for free. I was only able to do this because I am really good at what I do. I created a program that was so good, so efficient, and so fun that people were willing to pay my school $300 per month instead of going to a non-profit organization for free. Most of my students actually studied at several of those organizations before enrolling with me, and then they stayed with me for 2+ years.
With all of this, I realized that it’s time for some new creativity and innovation in this space, once again. I took a step back, and during the fall of 2021 I stopped teaching altogether so that I could get some clarity and new focus.
My most enjoyable years of teaching were the first few years, when I was getting students on my own and working with them based on their unique needs. So I decided that this is what I would do again. This time, however, I had no desire to open up a full fledged school, I just wanted to teach.
So I started taking on new students, teaching both online and in my living room. I’m not managing a school, it’s just me and my students. It’s simpler, more enjoyable, I have a lot more freedom and free time, and the money is way better. Within 6 months, I’m also at full capacity with my ideal schedule. I’m teaching Monday through Thursday from 7 am to 4 pm, and I now enjoy 3 day weekends and evenings with my family. I can’t imagine a better situation.
So I have naturally come to the conclusion that this is the future for our industry – empowering more teachers to set up their own independent language programs so that they have more freetime, flexibility, and money. Students also save money because they don’t have to pay for the overhead of a regular language school.
Now, I want you to be able to have what I have! I have firmly decided to move more into professional development and training for other teachers, as this concept of conversational Spanish and English is relatively new here in the United States. What that means is I’m going to start moving away from teaching and into training other teachers on how to use my Let’s Start Talking! Conversational Spanish Program and how to sign up students on their own.
Moving forward, I’m planning to help other instructors access these materials so that more students really learn how to speak Spanish. My previous goal was to teach people how to really speak Spanish in 3-6 months, which is totally possible if done the right way. Now, I plan on teaching teachers how to teach people how to start speaking Spanish in this time frame.
My current vision is to make Denver the most bilingual city in the United States, and then serve as a model for the rest of the country. I’d like to set up an independent Spanish instructor for each neighborhood throughout Denver. That way students can get access to a local instructor with no need to travel very far, keep their money in their local community, and also build stronger relationships with their neighbors. The plan is to create easier access to Spanish programs at a more affordable price, while getting more of the money directly to the teacher and strengthening local communities.
The Let’s Start Talking! Conversational Spanish Program is the simple solution to this. It’s highly efficient, fun, and conversational, and has been in use for 10+ years now. It’s also now available for teachers anywhere, not just at my own language school. Perhaps the best part is that it is incredibly affordable. Teachers can buy the first level for less than $50, and essentially get everything they need to start their own independent language program. I’m also 100% dedicated to their success, and will be here to not only help you start teaching, but to teach you how to set up a real business, market your services, and sign up new students with ease.
It’s simple to get started. Follow the instructions that I’ve laid out in the how to section and get in touch with me. I’m here for your success, and together we can make Denver the most bilingual city in the US!