A rewarding education system for teachers and students should be everyone’s goal. Most of us know the status quo isn’t working. There are some great educators are working to change the system but the education system moves at a snail’s pace. Even good ideas take insanely long to get implemented and not everyone agrees on what the solutions are.
That puts teachers right in the middle of all this.
And teachers are already STRESSED!
Students still aren’t performing as well as we’d like. They aren’t as engaged as we’d like.
And teachers still aren’t satisfied with the pay they receive for their efforts.
There is a way to pay teachers more and bring more learning opportunities to students.
A Massive Shakeup to the Status Quo
I am not on the cutting edge of education and the system below may already exist or be in the works. I’d love a comment below if you know of someone already doing what I am about to explain.
Imagine an app or website where students could have access to thousands of teachers from around the country.
Imagine a student having access to thousands of teachers teaching idioms or fractions or any other topic they struggle with.
It’s possible and there is nothing insurmountable in the way of making it happen.
The site or app would record views, subscribers, and thumbs up (like Youtube). Those teachers who earned the most views, subscribers, and thumbs up would be financially compensated in some way.
The lessons available to students would be short videos (15 minutes or less) meant to be as engaging as TED Talks. A qualified moderator would the materials before it was available to make sure it was appropriate.
Students or schools would pay individual or group rates (monthly or yearly) and that money would be used to compensate teachers who contributed lessons.
Sound a bit like Khan Academy? Close. This would be all subjects but on a much larger scale and would include topics not generally taught in school that I’ll explain more below.
If you aren’t familiar with the science teacher known as VSauce on Youtube he is an example of what is possible. He has 12 million subscribers for his science videos. Students would benefit from having access to teachers as entertaining and engaging as VSauce.
Are the teachers who get more views and likes necessarily better? In the world that our students are living that answer is increasingly yes. We can fight that all we want but our students are of a generation that puts credibility in social proof. If you don’t follow marketing at all social proof means popular in a way you can prove. This could be Youtube subscribers, Twitter followers, etc.
Teachers could move up in the rankings and grow their social proof by becoming more entertaining, better speakers, better video producers, better at using sound, better at creating images, better at telling stories, and more. Wouldn’t this also make them better teachers in the classroom as well? Learning these new skills would be PD that is both fun AND useful for teachers and students.
This new system would be real performance pay. It would be fair (free market) and it would be in addition to their current salary and could either be done at some point during the school day if a school district permitted (profit sharing?) or done completely outside of school hours.
Think TeachersPayTeachers.com but with video and directly from teacher to student instead of teacher to teacher.
I believe something like this is inevitable. I also think it would be best for students. This isn’t a complete replacement for traditional schools but a supplement. Parents who wanted one on one tutoring could still get that the way they normally would but could also request a specific teacher on the site as a virtual tutor.
Having access to thousands of teachers through this platform would help answer some of the arguments of the school choice movement as well. Do you want access to other teachers? Here you go!
I fully expect some angry responses from teachers who will insist that good teaching involves building a bond with their students. Those responses aren’t wrong. But the status quo is NOT getting it done.
Earlier I mentioned that some topics not normally taught in schools would also be available. These would actually bring in a lot of kids who don’t normally enjoy school.
In addition to teachers lessons from business leaders, musicians, top athletes, comedians, professional video game players and more would be available. Students would also have the ability to request new topics.
Doesn’t this already exist?
There are teachers doing amazing things all over the internet. Putting all of this content in one centralized location, where students won’t get distracted (just like us) clicking on clickbait Youtube videos and waiting for ads would be more student-friendly.
A project of this size might need a group like The Gates Foundation or the U.S. Dept of Education behind it.
Overall, education as we know it continues to be decades behind other professions in taking advantage of technology and innovation.
How much longer should kids wait?
What do you think? Would you participate in a program like this? Do you think it would work?