Ooohhh… playing with fire with a question like this. Let’s see what happens
Last week I asked the question, “why did you become a teacher” and received responses from over 30 teachers from all over the world. A refreshing theme in many of the comments was that we enjoy “sharing” “helping” or as one PLN-member put it well, “[we] have a common thirst for knowledge and the ability and desire to help others develop through that knowledge and to touch their lives“.
This generosity and sense of community is a core part of my beliefs as a teacher and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one ! Which brings us to the topic of today’s post, and one that moves from a positive upbeat “why” to a seemingly negative disapproving “why not”….
Why don’t teachers like big business, or even just business ?
Is it true ?
In this blog I’ve already addressed how I would have never seen myself ‘doing business’ in a post back in the spring, and how, in the end, I’ve understood that ‘business’ is not the dividing line, but really the people and actions behind the exchange that count.
To come back to the issue, I think many of our gut reactions to the question is simply that many business, especially large multi-nationals, are greed-driven, putting people and the environment in second place. If teachers are drawn to generosity and helping, then of course they’d be upset with profit-driven companies going in an opposite direction. I was reading Kirsten Winkler’s take on the Future of Ed-Tech Business models last week. It’s a nice piece and one of the first comments shed quite a bit of light on the issue:
I think that teachers would be very willing to buy from any brand that stands for what the teacher believes in. If there is a trouble with brands it is that many of them don’t stand for anything that resonates with teachers. I bet that teachers are probably more critical of brands than most but just like everyone else they are starved for authencity. -China Mike
Times are changing. Take a look at our industry and see how there’s a bottom-up movement for independent publishing, opensource materials and a “fairer” way of sharing and doing business. It’s changing before our eyes and we can all be a part of it. The internet, globalization and English as a lingua franca are driving these changes and with change comes opportunity. My team at Edulang is considering how we can participate and we want to think globally with our approach.
I’m going to be honest: Being a small team of 10 in the enormous industry of ELT is tantamount to being David among a number of Goliaths, and yet I know our positive direction will help us succeed. Later this week I’ll share how we’re going to be doing things a bit differently, a bit more in line with teachers’ values and I have to admit, I’m EXCITED and I hope you will be too ! WATCH THIS SPACE ;-)