In the mid-1970's I was a MA teacher evenings at a school. There were a couple of us sharing the space, a White Crane teacher and I, we alternated times and days. Sometimes we swapped techniques, he was a college professor and a nice guy. I wasn't really qualified to teach much, but I did have a black belt, and back then, that was more than was available most places.
What we learned, and what I've heard from several other teachers who had/have schools open to the public, was that the white belts largely paid the freight.
Not usually the case in a garage art like silat, where you don't come across the place by accident. At a mall dojo, you get a certain amount of business from folks driving by and stopping in for the introductory package -- three month's lessons, a gi, and a white belt, $99.
In our class, you have to go to some effort to find us, more to be allowed to stop by, and if you aren't called to it -- and a lot of folks aren't -- you won't even start.
I suspect this is true with other small classes in some of the less-common arts.
But beginners paid most of the operating expenses for the school where I was teaching. They would join, drawn by the Yellow Pages ad or word-of-mouth, or because they passed by the school and saw the yin-yang symbol. They would sign up, come to classes for a month or two, then they'd quit. We didn't have the droids there were looking for, and they moved on. The turnover rate was very high.
Of those who stayed for a couple of color belts, the retention rate climbed sharply. Of those who made it higher, the drop-out rate mostly vanished.
Same people are what keep health clubs and commercial gyms in business most places. The folks who sign up, work out a few times, then stop coming, even though their memberships are still good. Which is why a lot of places want lengthy contracts. They get your money, and you don't clog up the machines by being there.
In the garage and the sand-pit, most of the players have been there for years. Now and again, somebody stops coming, but even those who can't attend regularly but come when they can, still consider themselves students. Our drop out rate is very low.
We get very few newbies, and most of them come from other arts and have been looking for something like what we do for a while.
This is not to say silat is superior, only that's how it shakes out for attendees to the classes.
If you don't have to pay for freight, then you don't have to start a newbie class every five or sixth months. That kind of starting over from scratch is what I'm mostly talking about when I say that for a world-class teacher, doing that is apt to be less than satisfying. These days, we blend the newbies in, they tend to get paired with somebody who has been there a while to help them.
It's rough on them, because they have to learn a lot in a hurry to keep up. They can learn the techniques, but without the underpinnings, they don't have as good a grasp on it as someone who has been training for a much longer period.
After a couple of years and half a dozen beginner's classes and the dropouts, I was done with it. I can't imagine doing it for decades. I let the White Crane guy have the building and started teaching a few students in my back yard. It's why when I teach writing classes. I prefer students who want to learn how to write, who will pay for it, rather than at a school where they have to attend the class.
You never know, of course, but that one of the new white belt kids is going to be The One, but it's like selling scripts in Hollywood. For every one bought, tens of thousands are rejected; for every one that reaches the silver screen, hundreds were bought and nothing done with them.
As the head instructor, you might want to drop round the white belt class now and then to see how your senior student is doing as a teacher. Let him or her take them from from zero to good, because that's doable. Then you take them from good to great, which is something you can do that your student cannot.