“Who was your favourite teacher at school?” That was the one question I asked all candidates for teaching jobs when I was Head of Studies of an international language school. People turned up with all sorts of CELTAS, DELTAs and don’t-know-what-else diplomas. They had beautifully prepared CV’s, neatly laid-out and colour printed. But it was that one question – Who was your favourite teacher at school? – which informed me best. It wasn’t what they told me about their favourite teacher that mattered. It was how they told me. If their eyes lit up with enthusiasm, if they moved forward in their chair, if they displayed a need for me to see what they saw, then I knew I was in the presence of a real teacher. The best teachers are inspired by great teachers. They are evangelists. They want to run up to you, grab you by the lapels and say ‘Look at this! You’ve got to see this!’ I think the same not just about the teachers I was looking for as head of studies, but also when I am looking for a teacher to teach me something.
I was looking through the teachers who work with MyCoolClass and I was struck by how similar they are to my idea of great teachers. The common thread in all the teacher biographies is passion. But not just passion, there is also empathy – an essential quality. Teachers are experts in the art of explanation and to become an expert you need to understand what your students are experiencing. There is a colossal difference between being a virtuoso in something and being able to teach it. You will never work with MyCoolClass if all you can do is play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons perfectly – wildly impressive though that is. MyCoolClass wants to know you can teach it. Education by osmosis is not a thing. That’s why they insist on all the teachers having qualifications. You won’t find anyone on MyCoolClass who thinks being a native English speaker makes them an English teacher. That old, disproven myth is left for other platforms.
And talking of myths, online education is not limited to learning English. The teachers who make up MyCoolClass offer all sorts of learning opportunities. Kelli from California, for example, offers a two-day course about Van Gogh. You can learn all about the great artist through practical activities. Teacher Joe can teach you music through guitar, bass, violin, viola, or piano. You can start your musical adventure from as early as 4 years old. Or what about Teacher Noori who offers Business & Management, Cooking, English, and Travel & Culture. She is a one-stop academy! These are just a few of the teachers who make up MyCoolClass. They are qualified, passionate and care deeply about their students.
These teachers all have something else in common. They, along with all the other teachers, are joint owners of MyCoolClass. It’s a cooperative. There is a board of directors who will be regularly elected by all the co-op members – one member, one vote. Many online teachers are moving to MyCoolClass because they are tired of exploitative conditions on other platforms. They are tired of working to make someone else rich. Joining MyCoolClass is simple and clearly explained on their website.
MyCoolClass is on the cusp of becoming a major player in the world of online education platforms. This will be the story of how a teachers’ cooperative took on the venture capitalists and put the emphasis back on education in the education industry.
In 2022 there will be a community share offer to give MCC the economic wherewithal to become everyone’s favourite teacher.