Marketing Pros and Cons of In-Person Teaching, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.
Years ago I was a regular instructor at several adult schools in my local area. The process for acceptance was easy:

1. Submit your name, topic, and subject expertise.
2. Describe the instructional contents.
3. Choose your teaching day(s) and time(s), and state your fee.

There were, and still are, numerous positives for teaching at adult school and continuing education facilities, including:

1. It’s a place to polish your presentation skills.
2. You can increase and expand your topic expertise.
3. Some students may become clients when the class ends.

The one thing you can count on when the assignment ends is getting paid months later, so don’t count on quick money. There’s lots of paperwork to sign by mail which is then approved by committees. A course taught in November may result in payment early the next year.

An unexpected request

I recently decided to once again market my expertise at three adult schools. One accepted my proposals in short time, while the others notified me with this message.

“We’re interested in the courses you want to teach and want you to come in for an interview. We have time slots on Tuesday and Thursday. Which day is good for you?”

My first reaction was to decline the interviews. I don’t know what’s happened in this environment since I stopped teaching, but something dire must have occurred if every potential instructor must now submit to an in-person discussion.

If the courses were for children, I’d understand the need for interviews and background checks. I also understand the need to update rules. However, an in-person interview seems over the top for adult courses that are two-hours long during the course of two evenings.

Why request an interview for such a short period of teaching time?

The Internet broadcasts to everyone who you are along with your reputation and credentials. Why is that not good enough to prove expertise?

Think with your head, not heart

Before making my final decision, I listed on paper the pros and cons of the potential course value for me to decide if the interview was worth my time. Here’s what I listed.


  • Share my knowledge with interested students
  • Number of sign-ups gauges the topic’s interest
  • Student’s questions help create better content
  • Small potential for new clients
  • Keep my speaking savvy tuned


  • Travel time to interview
  • Wait time for interview to begin
  • Short-term assignment
  • Long wait for a small payment
  • Better results speaking at larger venues

After applying my own 24-hour wait time, I informed the two remaining schools that I declined the interview. In the long run, the process was not worth my time, which becomes more valuable every day. It’s time I can easily apply to my popular online gift basket business course.

Seeking bigger audiences at large venues continues to be my focus. Teaching at adult schools is in my give-back category. However, school rules are not my preference, so I’ll continue to seek other ways to help local entrepreneurs succeed.

What would you do?

I made the right decision for me, but I wonder how far you’d go to market your business.

In other words, what rules and terms under other people’s control would you accept or decline when marketing?

California’s continuing education facilities demand that you be fingerprinted no matter who you are teaching. Would you go that far for business?

You might say to yourself, “I have nothing to hide.” However, having your very-personal identification in a database that can be tapped for any reason, just to teach a non-credit, two-hour adult school course, may or may not be worth it to you.

What rules are acceptable to you as you market?

Shirley George Frazier

Shirley George Frazier is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost experts on marketing strategies for small businesses and creative professionals who operate firms without employee assistance. In business since 1990, Shirley is president and CEO of Sweet Survival LLC®, a firm specializing in creative business and marketing support. Shirley transforms systems by assisting professionals to start and manage productive work environments, For more information or to invite Shirley George Frazier to your next event, call 973-279-2799 or email

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