Adam Chambers is an online teacher and the creative brain behind chatbots to help education institutions grow and automate processes like recruitment and engagement. His patience and understanding of Chinese culture have helped him excel as a teacherpreneur.
1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview. Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?
I have taught English online for 6 months. My students are all Chinese kids. It's a fun way to keep connected with the culture because I lived in Shandong for two months interning at a company. Teaching online for a Chinese company is a decent deal. My hours are flexible, and most classes are enjoyable. I’d recommend it to anyone seeking to earn income part-time.
2. Can you describe a typical day?
I wake up at 6 a.m. and dive into a shower of ice-cold water. Then I read some Spanish texts while guzzling oats and milk. Informed, I mount my bicycle and I’m in the office by 7 a.m. without a second to waste: #teacherpreneur.
At the office, I work on chatbots for education institutions. This group includes language schools and online teaching companies. The goal is to automate processes like recruitment, engagement, and lead generation. Ultimately, I grow language schools and create happier teachers and students.
If it’s a Monday or Wednesday, I’ll leave the office before lunch. Valued conversations are cherished with the other entrepreneurs in the entrepreneur accelerator where I work. But not for long: China awaits and I teach online. From about 4 to 6 p.m., I’ll do some more work on chatbots for educational purposes with Teachie. It doesn’t feel like work because I love it.
3. Teacher self-care is so important. How do you relax?
Good question. I relax by not thinking about things which do not seem urgent or an opportunity to grow my business. Learning Spanish has been my main hobby since 2018. Going to the gym 3 times a week is another escape.
4. You took on the tremendous task of starting a company. Can you talk a bit about it?
It’s more of a duty to myself than a task. When I graduated from university in July 2018 I was fortunately spoilt with choices of things to do. I greedily wanted to do it all – you only live once! Creating chatbots is fun so my company feels like playing a lot of the time.
6. How did you come up with the idea for chatbots?
This idea stemmed from serious problems in recruitment for online teaching. Only 5% of online English teaching applications are successful. Some companies are filling only 2/3 roles, and 86% offered a job did not begin teaching.
I’ve since found the same principals of powerful communication can be applied to marketing language schools. The ESL market is set to increase by over 50% in the next five years. I aspire to become the expert in powering language schools’ growth using digital marketing.
Chatbots are powerful communication tools. Whereas emails are opened perhaps 15-20% of the time, bot messages on Facebook are opened 80-90%. Schools can engage students, update applicants, and grow their review numbers or presence. The best news is it can be automated.
7. You managed to balance teaching and working on chatbots? What is your best productivity tip?
I try to make sure East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. Separate working on your business time from teaching time.
8. Where can schools purchase the service?
Schools and teachers who want to grow their audience, engage better with students, get more online reviews, or hire more teachers can find out how here: https://m.me/goteachie?ref=Grow-Your-School-Now
9. Where can we find you on social media?
10. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
Yes, I am working on an AI teacher recruitment chatbot. In my experience, international teacher recruitment agencies are slow or unclear in communication. This is especially the case in China.
I’m using AI from Google to understand and process language. It’s easier to find out about a school and find English teachers with automated responses and visual content so making that happen is my goal.
11. How do you promote or market your service?
1. Identify which language schools I would like to market for.
2. Contact them asking about their problems and pain points.
3. I will send a demo video of my services, chatbots for education, or a marketing report. This is to prick interest and show I’m not just emailing the same thing to 100 companies. (Check out a demo video I made for marketing a Wall Street English school).
4. Follow up with a solution to those problems. Don’t give up! If they ignore your first email, send another. Phone them up. Connect on LinkedIn. What have you got to lose?
12. Do you do everything yourself or do you hire people with specific skills to help you?
I have a large network of colleagues. For instance, Jason from Digino.org is an expert on SEO. John and Ollie from Superstar Bots advise me on running a marketing agency. It’s important to get help for things you cannot do.
At the same time, I think everyone should adopt a growth mentality and try to learn the important things. For instance, graphic design on Canva is simple. Knowing how to do this saves time, money, and allows for more flexible projects.
13. What skills did you gain from online English teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?
Patience, communication, and understanding of Chinese culture.
14. What have you had to do go outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?
My comfort zone is pretty fluid. I did a Facebook live in a group with 20,000 members; I’ve negotiated deals with multi-million-dollar companies; I’ve cold called language schools owners. All these are positive experiences.
15. I talk to many teachers about their fear or doubt in trying something new or "putting themselves out there". What advice would you give to these teachers?
Well, let’s think about your fear and doubt. It exists because you have never done this before. You have a picture of what you need to do. This is intimidating as there’s no proof you will succeed. All this is normal.
Everyone is reluctant to do new things because we don’t like being judged. Why is being judged bad? For what reason is it hurtful when someone criticizes your ideas? I believe it’s because of the ego.
That’s the identity you’ve constructed, and what you are going to destroy. After all, putting yourself out there is different from staying here. Detach yourself from your actions’ outcome and become free to pursue whatever your creativity requests.
16. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Yes. If you are seeking to grow your language school get in touch! We are opening up our waiting list for clients. https://m.me/goteachie?ref=Grow-Your-School-Now. I’d especially like to work alongside other teacherpreneurs from this community. Finally, thanks Patrice. I think your voice is very important in the teaching community. There are so many opportunities to succeed in the education industry. Teachers may often feel they facilitate others being successful, and your encouragement is much needed.
You are most welcome Adam. Keep us posted on your work!
My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., CPP. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. I spent seven amazing years teaching in Hong Kong and have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs. I now work as a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing books, courses and teaching materials; coaching teacherpreneurs, travelling at any time of the year and applying the science of positive psychology to all my work (www.patricepalmer.ca).
Contact me at [email protected]
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