Teachers Aren’t Marketers

A line from the original series of Star Trek is now so famous it has become a meme on its own.  The ship’s doctor, Leonard McCoy, complains to the captain about doing tasks outside of medicine: Damnit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not an engineer, psychologist, diplomat, or whatever role Captain Kirk wanted him to fill.    

Whether or not an online teacher is a fan of the Star Trek fictional universe, if they decide to teach independently, they can probably relate to McCoy’s frustration.  Independent online teachers must also manage essential tasks outside their primary occupational expertise.  The role forces them to develop the skills of an entrepreneur.   So many online teachers do this now that a new word exists for it: teacherpreneur. 

 If they want their freelance business to succeed, they must spend tons of time not teaching.

A Teacherpreneur

Independent online teachers must learn a variety of skills, such as copy-editing, social media management, and even videography. 

Above all, an independent online teacher must learn marketing.  She must advertise herself constantly to make sure she has a steady flow of new potential students to convert into regular customers.   She must become a teacherpreneur.

Diplomacy and medicine are at least metaphorically related.  Both diplomacy and medicine involve the delicate care needed for healing and the steady work required to maintain healthy systems.  Marketing, by contrast, is as different from teaching as night is from day.   

Teachers focus on their students and the knowledge they are transferring to them, not on themselves.  The traditional photo of elementary school classes has the teacher standing to one side of the rows of smiling children.  Sometimes she is barely in the frame at all.  This is a nice visual metaphor for the slogan of the student-centered teaching approach.  “Be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage”. 

Teacherpreneurs Try Marketing

Marketing requires the seller to take absolute center stage.  It requires that they become more than a giver of knowledge and wisdom to passive listeners.  A teacherpreneur must be a branded commodity.  

Teachers focus on their students’ needs as learners, who do not know everything and are not always right.  Marketing involves either telling people what they want to hear, creating a desire that didn’t previously exist, or both.  Teachers must be empathetic towards their students, but they must also be willing and able to tell them the truth about their current knowledge and skills.  

Independent teachers should be guided by their students’ goals for learning.  “Upselling” to students threatens to destroy the student’s trust that the teacher is using her expertise to serve their learning. 

A Teacherpreneur is a Gig Worker

If online teachers don’t make it as independent teacherpreneurs, they mostly head back into the gig economy.  All of the stresses and uncertainties that pushed them to go independent return.  They must pay a commission to for-profit platform sites. They have no control over how the platform works.  Like everyone from Uber drivers to YouTubers, they are at the mercy of a for-profit algorithm. The company could hire many more teachers so that each teacher has fewer and fewer students.  The whole situation forces teachers into intense competition.

The Solution is Cooperation

Online teachers have a solution to this teacherpreneur dilemma: an online teacher cooperative. The cooperative model allows teachers to share the tasks involved in marketing.  They can also learn from other teachers who may have picked up skills in this area through their journeys. 

Yet more than anything, a cooperative helps teachers by being the project they can market instead of themselves.  A service-focused democratic venture is a much better object for a marketing campaign than an individual teacher trying to make herself into a product or a “coach”.  “Come learn with us and be a part of the supportive community we’re building that centers you” is a much better message from a teacher to students than “Buy what I’m selling, which is me”. 

MyCoolClass is the online teacher cooperative teachers need.  It brings together online teachers of different subjects so that they don’t have to be teacherpreneurs.  Instead, they can be teachers who do a bit of marketing.

Teacher-members of MyCoolClass can collaborate to build a collective organization that values teaching and learning for their own sake.  They can learn as much as they want to learn about marketing.  Beyond that, they don’t have to feel that they have to manage everything or compete with their fellow teachers.  Marketing a cooperative organization isn’t about who can outshine someone else.  It’s about what we can build together for the benefit of all.

Marketing is still necessary for a teacher cooperative.  But at least now the teacher isn’t sitting all alone in a stall.  

Damnit, Jim, she’s teaching.


Tips for Online Teachers in South Africa to Deal with Loadshedding

Loadshedding has become a common occurrence in South Africa, causing disruptions and inconvenience for everyone, including online teachers. With power cuts happening unexpectedly and at irregular intervals, it can be challenging for online teachers to keep up with their classes and deliver quality education to their students. However, there are ways to deal with loadshedding and minimize its impact on your online teaching. In this blog post, we will provide you with some tips to help you do just that.

Create a loadshedding schedule

One of the first things you should do as an online teacher in South Africa is to create a loadshedding schedule. Find out the loadshedding schedule in your area and map it out on a calendar. This will help you plan your classes and assignments around the power outages, ensuring that you are not caught off guard.

Invest in a backup power supply

Investing in a backup power supply, such as a generator or an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), is an excellent way to ensure that you always have power during loadshedding. A UPS can provide you with anywhere from a few minutes to several hours of backup power, depending on the capacity of the unit. While generators can be expensive, they are a more reliable power source during extended power outages.

Make use of mobile data

Another way to deal with loadshedding as an online teacher is to make use of mobile data. Many internet service providers offer mobile data plans that you can use to connect to the internet when the power is out. You can use your mobile data to access your online teaching platform, communicate with your students and get work done.

Communicate with your students

Lastly, it’s essential to communicate with your students about loadshedding and its impact on your online teaching. Let them know what to expect during power outages, and provide them with alternative assignments or work to keep them on track. By communicating with your students, you can minimize confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Unfortunately, loadshedding is a reality for many online teachers in South Africa. However, with proper planning and preparation, you can minimize its impact on your teaching and continue to deliver quality education to your students. By creating a loadshedding schedule, investing in a backup power supply, making use of mobile data, and communicating with your students, you can overcome the challenges of loadshedding and continue to make a difference in your students’ lives.

Easter Around the World: From Bonfires to Crime Novels

Easter Around the World: From Bonfires to Crime Novels

Easter is just around the corner, and you know what that means: it’s time to get your egg-hunting gear ready and prepare for a feast fit for a king! But did you know that Easter traditions vary greatly around the world? It’s not all eggs in the basket! From really wacky to wonderful, here are some of the most interesting Easter traditions from around the globe.

Norway observes a tradition called “Påskekrim” where people read crime novels during the Easter holiday. Apparently, the crime genre is so popular during this time that even milk cartons and chocolate eggs come with a crime story printed on them. Talk about a murder mystery-themed Easter! (All hail Agatha Christie!)

In Brazil, they have a tradition called “Queima do Judas” where life-sized dolls representing Judas Iscariot are built, the disciple who betrayed Jesus and then burnt it in a public square. It’s a way of symbolically punishing Judas for his betrayal. 

People in Finland light bonfires on Easter Day to ward off witches who are believed to fly around on broomsticks and cause mischief. Harry Potter is not amused, but muggles sure are! 

Bulgarians engage in a tradition called “kravajnane” which involves cracking hard-boiled eggs with each other. The person with the last uncracked egg is believed to have good luck for the entire year. 

And of course, there are the more mainstream traditions like dyeing and decorating Easter eggs, having a big Easter feast with family and friends, and attending religious services. Whatever your Easter traditions may be, we wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Easter! 

7 Ways Reading Impacts Language Learning

7 Ways Reading Impacts Language Learning

It’s been a minute since you took a break from your language lessons, but every time you think about taking a break, the guilt comes at you like the Kool-Aid man. Sounds familiar? We know. It happens to the best of learners!

Now, is it really that terrible to skip a few lessons? Will you stagnate? No, and NO!
Experts at MyCoolClass are here to give you the most fun, yet educational solution — pick up a book instead!

Here are 7 ways in which reading can help you give a much-deserved break and still help you learn!

  1. Improves vocabulary
    Reading is an excellent way to expand your vocabulary. When reading, you encounter new words and phrases that you may not have known before. You can also learn new synonyms, idiomatic expressions, and phrases that are commonly used in a language. Through reading, you can see how these words are used in context, and this can help you understand their meaning and usage better.

  2. Enhances grammar and syntax
    Reading can also improve your grammar and syntax skills. When you read, you are exposed to a wide range of sentence structures, which can help you understand how sentences are constructed in the language you are learning. You can learn about the correct word order, the use of articles, prepositions, and other grammar rules.

  3. Improves reading comprehension
    When you read, you have to understand the meaning of the text, and this requires you to use your comprehension skills to identify the main idea, make inferences, and draw conclusions. Reading regularly
    can improve these skills, making it easier for you to understand more complex texts.

  4. Helps with pronunciation and intonation
    Reading aloud can also help you improve your pronunciation and intonation. By reading out loud, you can practice the correct pronunciation of words and the natural flow of the language. This can help you to speak more fluently and accurately.

  5. Improves critical thinking
    When you read, you are exposed to different viewpoints and ideas, and this can help you to think critically about the text. This skill can be applied to real-life situations, allowing you to analyze situations, make informed decisions and communicate your ideas effectively.

  6. Provides cultural knowledge
    By reading books, articles, and other materials, you can learn about different customs, traditions, and way
    of life. This can help you to understand the language in context and make it easier for you to communicate with native speakers.

  7. Motivates language learning
    It can also be a huge motivating factor in language learning. When you read materials in the language you are learning, you may feel a sense of achievement and progress. This can motivate you to continue learning the language and can make the process more enjoyable.

By incorporating reading into your language learning routine, you can enhance your language skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, grammar, and syntax, and ultimately improve communication skills, all while making the learning process more enjoyable.

So, which book are you planning to pick up first?

Holi: The Festival of Colors

Holi: The Festival of Colors

Spain has La Tomatina, Brazil has Carnival, and India, well, India has HOLI! 

A festival like no other, Holi is all about people coming together and immersing themselves in vibrant colors, eating lip-smacking delicacies, and dancing in the streets dripping with enthusiasm. 

The festival of Holi is usually celebrated in March and the date changes according to the Lunar calendar every year, like most Hindu festivals. Holi marks the beginning of spring in India. The origins of this festival can be traced back to Hindu mythology, where it’s believed that the festival commemorates the victory of good over evil. The story goes that the demon king Hiranyakashipu had a son named Prahlad, who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. But Hiranyakashipu was against his son’s faith and tried to kill him. However, Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu and his evil father was ultimately defeated.

But let’s talk about the fun part of Holi – THE COLORS! On the day of Holi, people gather in the streets and on the terrace of their homes armed with packets of colored powder and water guns. It’s a free-for-all, with people throwing colors at each other, smearing each other’s faces with bright pigments, and drenching each other with water. The famed water balloon fights are an integral, albeit slightly painful, part of this festival as well. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the blaze of color and madness on this day. People of all ages participate in the revelry. Even strangers become friends, as they share the joy of the festival together. And the best part is that no one is spared from the colorful onslaught – from children to grandparents, everyone is fair game! 

The vibrant colors of Holi.

Got you wanting to witness this firsthand, right? You might just be able to. Take a look at some community groups on Facebook and you might just find a Holi party being organized somewhere in your city!

But before you dive headfirst into the festivities, a few words of caution. Make sure you wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained, as the colors can be pretty stubborn. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to use a protective lotion or oil to prevent any allergic reactions. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes that allow you to break into a run, just in case you want to dodge some water guns! 

We are all set at MyCoolClass with our weaponry of choice, ready to come out of battle looking like a rainbow exploded! And you? 

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