EduGrowth recently spoke with Sarah Chamberlain, founder of ReadyTeacher, about the impact of COVID-19, how the organisation has had to respond, as well as her plans for ReadyTeacher in the future.
Sarah founded ReadyTeacher in 2015 after 13 years as a teacher of English language (ELICOS) and vocational (VET) courses. The idea came from her experience at home and abroad, and specifically one personal experience.
- The story behind ReadyTeacher
- How COVID-19 has impacted ReadyTeacher
- What’s next for ReadyTeacher
- Learn more at readyteacher.com.au
Sarah became lost on the way to teach English to a class of factory workers in an industrial area, one hour outside Barcelona. At the time her manager had equipped her with nothing but a hand-drawn map and a set of car-keys.
She recalls desperately needing, at minimum, GPS coordinates and basic class particulars.
So when Sarah returned to Australia, it took her around 18 months to really get started with her idea; a non-technical, first-time founder hopeful to build an app. ReadyTeacher centralises a pool of quality international education specialists in one HR platform. The platform solves the English language (ELICOS) sector’s biggest headache by automating emergency and short-term relief placements, providing teachers with the information and tools they need to succeed.
Now, ReadyTeacher is a community of freelance teachers to international students and a developing mobile application.
What is the tech behind ReadyTeacher?
We use MERN stack with AWS and Twilio to run our app. Using AWS gives us access not only to file storage and handling but also to cool server-side applications such Lambda; we used it to create a watermark filter that makes all Teachers’ qualifications/transcripts viewable and not stealable. When it comes to finding last-minute teachers, institution managers typically SMS teachers, as text is fast and accessible, therefore we also take bookings by SMS via our virtual assistant ‘Elly Elicos’, who is available 24/7. Elly is integrated with Google calendar for scheduling.
How has COVID-19 impacted ReadyTeacher?
Finding qualified teaching staff at short notice to deliver face-to-face lessons has always been the biggest challenge for institutions. Now, with COVID-19, the challenge is to find teachers who can also deliver online classes at short notice. Fortunately, our team of teachers are on top of both modes of delivery and well versed in the platforms used by our member colleges.
COVID-19 has been a difficult time for our community, with the reduction in on-shore student numbers, class attendee limits being blown-out with classes forced online, merged classes where numbers are low, and generally less paid hours for teachers. We hear from our member providers that many students have complained about being / learning 100% online; there’s something about a face-to-face learning community that won’t ever be completely replaced by online learning. What we really need now is more providers to sign up with us and use the services of our community. Our teachers are the most flexible, engaging and reliable teachers you’ll find, and our rates are so affordable (in future, teachers will have the option to set their own rates).
What’s next for ReadyTeacher?
We have a new addition to our platform coming soon – a member area where providers will be able to recruit with us, thereby avoiding / doing away with the agonising Seek.com recruitment process!! One-off-hires and new employee introductions make ReadyTeacher the flexible way forward for hiring.
We will also start recruiting overseas institutions for online lesson delivery, to find employment for both our local teachers and teachers local to the ASEAN regions, China and Korea, where we know there’s around 68,000 ELICOS and VET institutions combined. The question remains: Will ReadyTeacher become the Freelancer.com of Certificate, Diploma and English language Teachers? Maybe, maybe not, or maybe we will throw microcredentials specialists into the mix as well!