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Friday, March 27, 2020

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Educators

With the world in the midst of a crisis and schools shut down, we need people who can educate the masses and improve their prospects. Finding such people, however, is no easy task. In ordinary times, the best educators are often in positions of power and authority elsewhere in society, leading the change that we need to prosper.

Today, though, that's all changed. With so many people at home, leaders are finding that they’re at a loose end. Demand is drying up. Businesses are closing.

At the same time, schools around the world have also shut their doors. When they reopen, education won’t be the same. Students will have become accustomed to an entirely new way of working - and that’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Right now, we need to think about ways educators can innovate when educational establishments reopen. Kids will need services that can fast-track them to the next stage of development. The old model isn't sufficient.

So if you’re an educator at heart, what can you do to help in this brave new world? Where can you best apply your skills?

Take a look at some of these options.

Teach Kids About Entrepreneurship

If you’re a naturally entrepreneurial person, your skills are invaluable right now.  Don’t imagine that shutting down the economy is without long-term consequences. The future is grim compared to the recent past. Young people, therefore, will need business acumen to create new wealth in a society ravaged by economic hardship.

Entrepreneurship is the economic equivalent of green shoots sprouting after a forest fire. As companies fail - which they will - new people with new ideas will move in to create opportunities. It is only by starting firms that young people will enable the economy to recover.

Start A Further Education Center

Schools and universities provide students with a strong foundation - especially when it comes to technical skills. But many employers want more than this. It is not enough to have a science qualification - companies need people who know how to apply what they learn in the real world.

You can help here too. If you have experience in a particular role, then it can pay dividends to set up a further education center. You can teach pretty much anything you like, from accounting to financial skills. For some courses, you’ll need to seek accreditation, but once you have that, you can go in pretty much whatever direction you like.

While conducting sessions online is okay, most further education centers benefit from having physical premises and comfortable school chairs that are stackable. Bringing people together to a single location is often more effective than running courses through the internet. Physical proximity seems to make a real and measurable difference to learning outcomes.

Become An Online English Teacher

Sometimes, though, you don’t have the option to set up physical premises. English-as-a-foreign-language teachers, for instance, regularly have to teach people on the other side of the world. Meeting up is not practical.

Currently, there are several platforms available that offer one-on-one tuition for English teachers. You can either hop on one of these (and put up with paying a commission to the agency) or set up your own.

Teach Employee Skills

The current crisis is going to change the structure of the labor market. That means that there is going to be a large number of people who require retraining. The most recent job reports from the US, for instance, suggested that there were more than 3.3 million new unemployment claimants in March alone. Some of those will go back to work when the economy reopens, but many won’t - and they’ll need new skills.

Here again, you can help. Before the crisis, employee training companies were doing well - and they’re likely to continue to thrive as the economy adjusts to the new reality.

Before launching a new training business, be sure to take a look at what your competition is doing. Look for opportunities to specialize in specific industries. Ultimately, you want to become the "guy who knows about X." You want to be able to provide a “masterclass” in a particular discipline. Once you become known for your expertise, people will seek you out.

Design Online Courses

While online courses might sound a little cliched, they’re a great way to reach a lot of people at a low cost. You don’t have to have a school or college - just a few good ideas in your head and something that people want to learn.

Where possible, try to make your course unique.

One promising idea is to create an online course designed to help educators. You could, for instance:
  • Introduce teachers to better pedagogic techniques that enable students to learn faster
  • Update teachers skills in specific subjects so that they don’t rely on outdated textbooks
  • Provide courses for how universities can engender higher levels of engagement among the student population
  • Teach private schools how to manage their overseas student applications better
  • Provide a business-like approach to help educational establishments cut costs without affecting the quality of the service

Become A Test Prep Coach

While the number of people taking tests is likely to fall in the immediate future, exams aren’t going anywhere. You can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be back next year with a vengeance.

As the pressure on young people to perform in their exams grows, so too will demand. Business as a test prep coach, therefore, might be slow for the first few months, but it will eventually pick up. And when that happens, it could become something you do full-time.

Anyone can become a test prep pro, but it helps to have a few qualifications in the bank first. If you’re the type of person who always did well on tests in the past, then you could be ideally suited. Your goal is to provide the intellectual and psychological tools that people need to do well on their exams. Covering course material is important, but putting people in the right frame of mind is too.
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