When Singapore’s Education Minister was asked last year about his nation’s reliance on private tutoring, he found one reason for hope: “We’re not as bad as the Koreans.”
But I had no idea it was this bad:
On a wet Wednesday evening in Seoul, six government employees gather at the office to prepare for a late-night patrol. The mission is as simple as it is counterintuitive: to find children who are studying after 10 p.m. And stop them.
The story of someone spending a year building, selling and giving up on Knack, an online grade book for teachers. Some interesting lessons learnt, including this part about why his app failed:
Teachers say they love tech. Some blog about it. They tweet about it in #edchat and #edtech. They even coin their own special tech terms. This is a farce. Talking about tech and being on the Twitter make teachers look good to administrators and to the public. They can add “Technology Committee Member” to their resumes and congratulate themselves for being innovative. But using tech to do work requires a small minimum of effort and change, and any amount of these is too much for teachers.
Overly harsh, but true*. There’s a good debate about this on the Hacker News thread, where the writer clarifies what he meant in a comment: that he’d made a mistake assuming teachers would pay for a tool that they had to spend time acclimatising to.
* I say this as a former “Technology Committee Member” and a current app developer.
Found this article shared all over my Facebook news feed by ex-colleagues and other teachers. A decent read, but I was stupid enough to scroll down and read the comments. Ughhh. Here, I reproduce just parts of the first one:
You are underworked and over paid. Teaching is the best part time gig out there.
By the same commenter, a couple of lines later:
Want me to come to parent open house and parent teacher meeting? Sure, stop scheduling it for 11:30am. It’s called a job. I have one. I’ll gladly meet you at 7:30.
And then again, a few lines later:
Want to complain that you have to work some evenings grading papers? Cut the whining. There are no jobs that are 9-5, everyone takes work home.
I can definitely imagine what teachers really want to tell parents like this one.