A Reality Check!…

I am always amazed by true believers… people who, even after having experienced first hand a system that does not work, still believe in miracles. My question is: why do they stick around instead of moving on?… why do they not try and explore other avenues?… I admit it is beyond my understanding…

I have been seriously reflecting on this lately… my thoughts were triggered by comments posted on the forums of an online education site (which, by the way, I will not name here because it is only one among many)… This site, as well as all the other similar ones, provides teachers with a platform so that they can start their own online teaching/tutoring business… Of course, many people are lured by the idea of having their own business… therefore there is a growing number of tutors/teachers signing up… although many are inactive or left the site a long time ago… yet figures show that there are many teachers working… It is the same with students: most of them do not take either private sessions or classes… but it looks good from a statistic point of view!… A quick tour of the classes offered on the site is enough to realize that there are not thousands of individuals registered in any of them… and the ones that are popular are the ones that are free

For months, teachers have been ranting about students’ no-shows trying to find a solution (and some threads are now heating up)… most of the time, people sign up for classes with no real intent to ever attend… why do they do that?… well… your guess is as good as mine… Then, lately, it came out that many teachers do not dare to show up for the classes they opened… I guess they left the site (for any reasons) and, since they did not have the ability to cancel their classes and probably did not know that someone from the staff could have done it for them, they just left things the way they were!… I agree that it is not what is expected from professionals… anyone with a minimum of professionalism would ask for their accounts, profiles and classes be deleted…

Actually it is precisely where the problem is!… Since there is no screening done, anyone can sign up as a teacher/tutor… it is not rare to see someone with two profiles: one as a student and another one as a teacher… credentials are not important, therefore one can see several teenagers (some as young as 13) teaching!… I agree that some kids are smart cookies, yet they cannot teach!… To some extent, it is kind of insulting for experienced professional teachers!… Do you know many teenagers who are mature and responsible enough to hold a steady and demanding job such as teaching?… They will often neglect doing their school homework to go out with their friends and party!…

In a way, I do feel sad for the few true professional teachers who devote time and effort into trying to make their living on such sites… yet I cannot understand why they stick around while they could be using their time and energy in building their own online business… People who teach on those online education sites are not operating their own business: their status is similar to employees’ status, yet without a  regular salary and social benefits!…

Own a business means controlling everything from A to Z: targeting a specific clientele, establishing prices and methods of payment, choosing the proper tools, setting the rules, deciding on the ideal environment, etc… The minute there is a middle man, it is no longer someone’s business… it is the middle man’s business! He has total control on everything: rules (if there are any), methods of payment, type of clientele, platform, etc… and he takes a substantial percentage on the money his teachers earn!… If teachers want changes, they are invited to post their ideas on the Idea Board… the ones that agree with the middle man’s agenda might be adopted, but the ones rocking the boat are discarded!… Such an environment only creates frustration and dissatisfaction among teachers…

Yet I see people who are still trying to change things… investing time and energy into something that is doomed to fail! Unfortunately, teachers are not known for their business skills… it is why most of them work in the regular schooling system (grade schools, high schools, colleges and universtities). Only the ones who have an excellent sense of entrepreneuship can succeed in business!…

People who are not afraid of taking risks, however, can become very successful!… And I do believe that some can learn a few skills that would help them start their own business… All it takes is the will to succeed, some positive aggressiveness, some money, a good plan, a specific niche, some market research, a professional logo, attractive business cards and brochures, a domain name, a website, a blog (providing useful and accurate info), a good network (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other similar social networks are not the best – at least, not for training businesses), experience, credentials, excellent references and a platform (one branded with their business names that can be rented yearly – no strings attach) that suits their specific needs.

Of course, all of the above demand time and effort… it is not something that will happen overnight… On the other hand, if well done, success is almost guaranteed! Considering the hours and energy consumed in ranting on the forums of sites that will alledgedly allow teachers to become successful entrepreneurs (the question is: when? if ever…), I truly believe that people who are seriously contemplating the idea of having their own online teaching business would be better off on their own… unless they do think they still have some precious time left to waste on false promises…

Bottom line, it is a matter of personal choice… when teachers choose to work with a middle man, they have to accept the fact that it will never be their call to change whatever they do not like… they either stop complaining and try to make the best out of  a situation that is far from being ideal or they decide to take risks and jump in unknown waters where possibilities are endless…

 

“Je suis agnostique. Ce qui ne veut pas dire que je ne crois pas, mais que je ne sais pas si je crois”

François Mitterand

 

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