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Why Franchising Wasn't For Me

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Roughly a year ago, I signed a franchise agreement to rent theCoderSchool brand for 10 years. The franchise owners, Hansel and Wayne, are amazing people - cool, smart, and fun - and most of all share my passion for teaching kids to code. The system seemed to be a good fit because all of us were in it to reach as many kids as possible by offering them opportunities to learn to code and change the world. I loved what theCoderSchool brand stood for and thought their logo and tagline were exciting, plus the schools themselves were beautiful, lively spaces where kids could be challenged and inspired.

Unfortunately, theCoderSchool and I were just too different despite having a similar mission and design ideas. I struggled regularly to understand their teaching philosophy and approach, and much of the explanation can be attributed to my background in both education and computer science. I was certified to teach Math and Computer Science in the state of Illinois. I worked as an instructional designer for a few years after graduate school before becoming a trainer at a software company. I'm not a fan of rigid curriculum but my K-12 training and industry training experience has made me a firm believer in structure. This is not to say theCoderSchool does not provide structure because they do, but this is an example of an area where I think we differ on teaching approach.

I was also too interested and passionate about content and delivery and had too many of my own ideas. The fact that I was a software developer and studied computer science in undergraduate and graduate school made it hard for me to fit into a franchise system. I wanted to spend my time talking to our instructors (called "Code Coaches" at theCoderSchool) and developing Scratch, Python, or Robotics projects and looking at ideas for teaching Roblox with LUA, Minecraft modding with Java, and Game Design or Virtual Reality with different platforms. I was regularly suggesting new ideas, questioning their ideas, and expressing frustrations to the point where I was unhappy and I'm sure Hansel and Wayne (theCoderSchool executives) were not thrilled either, though they were absolutely 100% supportive the entire year.

Eventually, we agreed that it would be best if I terminate my franchise agreement, and they offered to waive the non-compete that I signed in the Franchise Agreement allowing me to operate independently. So while I have to rebrand and there is so much to do like coming up with a logo, website, posters, swag, etc, I'm super excited about what's ahead and super grateful to theCoderSchool for all their support getting to this point.

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