Today’s guest post is written by Mawi Asgedom the Founder and CEO of Mawi Learning, which provides blended and online courses around mindset and leadership training for students and educators. As an Ethiopian refugee who graduated from Harvard University, Asgedom knows firsthand how to overcome struggles to achieve growth and personal success.
I checked my calendar again to ensure that I was seeing correctly. I had 43 fifteen-minute calls scheduled over the next two days, all with teachers.
Several years prior, I instituted a certification requirement for any teacher who wanted to teach our online courses. The teachers had to complete several assignments and have a certification call with me, the CEO of a (presumably) scalable online company.
That moment, as I saw that I would be on the phone for almost 11 hours over two days, I changed the strategy. I could no longer do all the calls myself. But I still do many calls, and I maintain that talking directly with hundreds of teachers is among the smartest moves I have ever made, and something that ed-tech CEOs should prioritize.
Ed-Tech Entrepreneurs Need Educator Feedback
Here are the biggest benefits of talking directly with teachers, one on one, in structured phone calls:
- Shared Vision: As the CEO, you can invite the teachers into a powerful vision of impact and ask for their help to transform student lives. I always tell teachers, “You are much more powerful than the technology.” I believe this to be true and they appreciate that I appreciate them.
- Increased Effectiveness: I often ask, “What is the single most effective thing you do in your role to help students succeed?” Using the teacher feedback, my company can help increase effectiveness.
- Increased Student Impact: Teachers can only have the calls after completing assignments that prepare them to deliver the product with impact. So each call ensures that teachers are ready to impact students from day one.
Some members of my team think I’m crazy because I have given my cell phone to every teacher I’ve talked to on my calls–over five hundred teachers. I tell the teachers, “You can always text me, and of course, reach my staff at any time if we can support your success.”
Almost no one contacts me, but they tell me they appreciate that I trust them enough and value them enough to give them direct access.
Using ed tech does not mean trying to replace teachers. It means connecting with, supporting, loving, respecting, and enhancing the capabilities of teachers. As CEOs, it’s our job to lead the way.