The Rapidian

A new site to change the face of ESL

Monday, July 14, 2014

3:49 AM


The reasons I started eslready.com

As many teachers who have been teaching English as a second language for some time, I have a horror story. My horror story doesn’t have a particularly happy ending, except that I got out without any physical harm (despite threats by the management to make me disappear). Others I knew in China got the 7 year ban when their companies decided that a tourist visa was good enough to teach with. Worse, some teachers really do disappear, or end up in jail after believing that they had been doing everything by the books.

In any other industry, these would be one-off stories. ESL/EFL is different. As cliché as this may sound, we are the new cowboys. We are in a nearly entirely unregulated industry (at least where the money is good), and have almost no protections or safeguards while teaching in a foreign country. To top it off, our local counterparts are largely unsympathetic to this plight, as they see a less qualified teacher getting much more money for less work simply for being from the right place. Not only that, but we have the nerve to complain about the working conditions that they are all too happy to endure.

It almost becomes enough for people to pack it in and go home (as many teachers do each year), but there are always new teachers raring to replace them.

The question at this point becomes: Is it enough to have taught and left things the way I found them? Is there anything I can do to make an actual difference for the teachers who will follow?

This is what led me to create my website; Knowing that there will be the negative stories, and that even though they are everywhere, the cowboys are still coming, spurred on by the promise of easy money and a job after graduation. 

Originally, I thought that negativity (in the form of a blacklist) was the way to change the game. But you know, there are dozens of blacklist sites, and all they have is negativity. There are bad players, but they only define the industry because we let them. What we really need is a site to shut them out completely. Unlike the “cafĂ©” which seems to post anything for money, my site investigates any schools that want to sign up. Only the good schools are invited.

To compliment this, there are a slew of free features for teachers: free lesson plan sharing (uploading and downloading), a free board for students and teachers to connect for private lessons, and of course the jobs board.

The free lesson plan board is meant to encourage the free spread of Educational materials. You can search through the lesson plans at https://eslready.com/lesson-plan-search, but you need to log in to upload or download. This is to ensure that whoever creates the materials gets to keep ownership of what they made.

There are more features in the pipeline, and a (much needed) redesign coming, but as this project is about improving the ESL community, we always want more feedback. Please check out the website at https://eslready.com and shoot an email to [email protected].  

Event Type: Rally-Causes 
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