Post-90s dedicated to China’s English teacher training programs – Xinhua English.news.cn
From left to right: Zheng Ailun, Zhu Danna, Keren Wong (Photo courtesy of the author and founders of this program)
“This is my hard fight and my deadline: before June 30, we should attract at least 10,000 subscribers.”
Zhu Danna wrote on April 15, 2016, the day she became CEO of a Beijing-registered start-up dedicated to online English teaching programs for teachers.
Like many others, it’s a small team founded by three young women in their twenties.
What connects them is a firm belief that Chinese teachers of English should be better supported and equipped as they greatly influence students.
With this belief, Zhu joined as a co-founder when she graduated from China Foreign Affairs University in 2013.
“From villages to top universities, I have seen Chinese students struggle with learning English. It made me realize that teachers also need professional training and support, like doctors and lawyers,” she said.
While the teacher training programs available were arguably outdated and a little too grammar-focused.
Zhu wanted to make teacher training fun, convenient, and accessible to all educators.
Her company started as an NGO dedicated to rural teachers in 2013. Between 2013 and 2014, she trained more than 30 teachers in rural areas on projects worth less than 1,000 yuan.
In 2015, he began testing online courses after his survey revealed that a large number of rural teachers use smartphones to access the internet.
He now runs several online discussion groups, each hosting up to 300 teachers, to which the team charges a premium service fee for programs that include online courses designed by the team.
Each month, three or four courses on different topics would be posted online for teachers of different levels.
Most of the focus group teachers come from third-tier cities or far, said Zheng Ailun, the other co-founder.
Zheng taught for two years at a primary school in a township in Chaozhou, southern China’s Guangdong province, before joining the team in 2016.
Keren Wong, 27, a Chinese-American graduate of Cornell University and another co-founder of the organization, pointed out that it is common to see the introduction of a study abroad program in China come to an end. with little effect.
“These are the best resources, but they cannot adapt to the context. If you decide to stay, let’s hope that in the end you’re someone who doesn’t need us. You learn to learn,” Wong noted.
Almost a year has passed since Zhu declared the goal of 10,000 followers, more than half of which have been achieved.
Zhu smiled and admitted, “It is true that we are not making a profit yet, but we don’t mind paying ourselves with less salary. In addition, we can borrow money from our family (for operation).
But there is hope. Education offices in two counties in northwestern China’s Gansu Province have agreed to cooperate with the organization.
Zhu insisted that what his team did could also be commercially successful and all problems could be overcome if they worked harder on a commercial development mode.
“I chose to take the job last March because I thought it was all worth it. Even if there was a day when we failed and I was in deep debt, I think we would continue to believe that it’s the right thing to do and we would continue to do it, maybe through another organization,” Zhu said.