Education is a difficult word. It has many meanings and is as much a collective good as it is a personal possession. Depending on how it is exercised, education has the equal ability to mobilize as well as to paralyze those who are subject to it.
Investing in a good education is investing in your future. Education means progress and – regardless of age, job, or gender –many of us continue to seek it as an opportunity for further development. This blog post aims to take a closer look at the people who are at the center of educating us; teachers are at the gates of our educational progress and therefore have a crucial role to play in shaping our futures.
Being a teacher is a mammoth responsibility that is too often taken for granted. At minimum, the job skills of an educator need to include extensive field expertise, loads of patience, and high social intelligence. In order to be successful as a teacher, none of these characteristics can outdo the other. Being a good teacher is a very nuanced, complex job that deserves the unconditional support of all those who care for education.
I work with TeachPitch, a web-based learning platform for teachers all over the world. Our goal is to give teachers additional support to be great at their job. As a growing online global community, we have discovered a great variety in learning needs from educators from all over the world.
Many Kenyan teachers with whom we exchange ideas are keen to develop themselves further in basic teaching skills and theories. Mathematics is a popular choice for them as it forms a solid basis for further analytical thinking and is an easily exchangeable course on both a national and international level.
From teachers in India, we have received many requests to be trained in English. Such a need is very understandable as it comes from a country where only speaking and comprehending a few words of English can make an enormous economic difference for the teachers, the pupils, and their families.
TeachPitch teachers in the US— like in the UK and the Netherlands— are looking for development opportunities beyond the curriculum and are curious to learn more about how to optimally manage their time and classroom in a rapidly changing environment. Even though many educators in the US feel the Common Core standards are important, it takes time to fully understand and implement the many changes they entail.
Though there are lots of differences among our teachers, we’ve discovered many similarities. All teachers ‘pitch’ passionately about their love for school and the classroom and are seeking to exchange ideas with other educators around the world. Other than the clearly defined courses and materials we have to offer, teachers are also striving to get hands-on advice about the daily things that define their working life. This advice seeking varies widely in content, from teachers seeking time management strategies to tips related to classroom management and technology integration. Regardless of the content, it is clear teachers are eager to collaborate and learn from each other.
What we find most similar about teachers around the world? They’re all life-long learners.
We have only just given life to the platform, but we hope to improve a teacher’s job by working together and learning for each other.
Aldo is founder of the London-based start-up TeachPitch. Previously, Aldo worked for Springer and Digital Science, a venture capital fund of Macmillan Publishers that focuses on building technology solutions for scientists. Follow Aldo on Twitter: @aldodepape
TeachPitch is a web-based learning platform for teachers from all over the world. It allows educators to find a customized solution for their learning needs– whether through teaching materials, online tutoring, or direct exchange with other teachers–in any required field, country, city, district, and even school. Users can draw existing solutions or ‘pitch’ their questions to the rest of the community. Learn more at TeachPitch.com.