Bernard Kuhn - Spanish Teacher, Website Owner and Online Teacher

Bernard Kuhn started a very useful website where he reviews online teaching companies and helps teachers navigate this relatively new world.  What has he learned about trying to start a business?  "Believe in yourself, take your lumps and keep going and remember that as a teacher you are already different from other people".  

 

  1. Welcome Bernard.  Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview.  Can you tell us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching in one form or another for 11 years.  I am a high school Spanish teacher in Pennsylvania, and I have also taught online for a few different companies on and off for the past 4 years.

  1. Can you describe a typical day?

I run a website https://www.stressfreeteach.com/ where I write review articles for many different online English teaching companies.  I try to update the site at least every other day with a new company review.  A lot of my time is spent finding companies and doing research so that I can provide the most accurate information possible.  I found the best way to do this is to locate teachers from the companies on Facebook and ask them a series of questions.  I think that this gives the most unbiased information that I can use to write my review. 

After that, I answer emails and trying to match people up with companies that would be a good fit for them.  It can be a lot of work, but it is very rewarding.  I think that people feel comfortable with the fact that they are dealing with a real person that listens to their needs and not just sifts through resumes (although I do a lot of that too!)

  1. Teacher self-care is so important.  What do you do in your spare time to relax?  

I LOVE to read.  Books are my escape and help my mind to shut down for a bit.  I also enjoy exercising, watching sports, and spending time with my beautiful wife and 3 children.

  1. You took on the tremendous task of writing a developing a website called Stress Free Teach. Can you talk a bit about it?

I have always loved languages.  In school, I was fascinated with learning Spanish and I knew I wanted to make a career out of it.  After teaching Spanish for a few years, I went back to school to get my second Masters Degree in TESOL.  This was a way for me to continue to learn new things about languages and language acquisition, but I never really considered anything beyond that.

After I obtained my Master's degree I started searching for potential jobs.  I found that there was a market for online English teachers and that I was qualified to work at most of the companies.  I applied to a few companies, had some interviews, and eventually settled on one that felt right to me.  My wife, family and friends all thought I was crazy.  I already had a full-time job, and because of the hour difference, I was sometimes literally working all night long.  I really enjoyed it though and it was at that point that I thought I could make a career out of teaching in the online world.

A few years went by and we had our third child.  That was enough for me to step back for a while and concentrate on my day job and my family.  The itch, however, was not easily scratched.  I started a Graduate Certificate program in Online Teaching and Learning and one of the first things I learned how to do was develop my own blog.  For those that have never tried, it is not NEARLY as easy as it looks, and I still feel I don't really know what I am doing.  This summer I decided I wanted to start an online English teaching company review site to help others to gain valuable information about companies.  From there, people started asking me questions and I began to make contacts with various companies.  Now I am a recruiter for several companies, however, I want to be seen more as a helper than a headhunter.

  1. Where can we find your website?

My website is  https://www.stressfreeteach.com/    I participate in a lot of online work from home like in Facebook groups where I meet a lot of different and interesting people.  I also am just now starting to get involved with LinkedIn.  If you have any questions for me my email is [email protected] I would love to help you with whatever I can.

  1. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

Right now I am just seeing where this goes.  I am going with the mentality that if I am going to fail, I am going to fail fast, make corrections and keep going.  That is a good mindset for doing anything, but it seems to be especially applicable in this growing industry of online teaching and learning.

  1. How do you promote your website?

Most of my promotion at this point is done on Facebook.  Literally, everyone in the world seems to be there so it's about finding and connecting with people.  I'm also exploring LinkedIn.

  1. Do you do everything yourself or do you hire people with specific skills to help you?

I do everything myself, however, it is always helpful when someone else in the business offers suggestions or tips on how to improve.  I find this information valuable and I take it to heart when trying to build my brand.

  1. Where can people find you on social media?

On Facebook, find me at https://www.facebook.com/william.kuhn.733. Feel free to contact me.  I suppose I should have some sort of business alias, but like I said I am a real person and I would love to help. On LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernard-kuhn-48b532169/

  1. What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?

As a high school teacher, you learn something new about yourself each day.  Teenagers are volatile.  They will bring you to your absolute limits and beg you to react.  Teaching in the classroom has taught me to let go of what others think and simply do the best that I can.  Teaching is exhausting, mentally and physically.  You need to have thick skin and a sharp mind just to make it through one day.  The same goes for trying to start a business or do something that your peers have not done before, you have to believe in yourself, take your lumps and keep going.

  1. What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?

Building a website was the farthest out of my comfort zone that I could get.  Initially, I had no knowledge of web-hosting, plug-ins, or WordPress, but just like anything else once you start to put your mind to something eventually it gets easier.

  1. 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?

Remember that as a teacher you are already different from other people.  I will go to the store or to social gatherings where I do not know many people and I will just strike up conversations about random things.  People that aren't teachers find that strange.  Putting yourself out there is always the biggest risk of being a teacher.  Once you get past that so many doors can open for you if you let them.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to add?  

If you are ever thinking about teaching online feel free to ask me anything!  I will do my best to answer your questions and help any way that I can!

Thanks so much, Bernard!  I know that teachers who are considering online teaching will find the reviews on your website and your expertise very helpful!  Patrice

Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started?  Here are some ways:

1. Read more than 60 inspiring teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog

2. Download The Essential Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit - 50 pages packed with information to get you started as a teacherpreneur at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca 

3. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur

4. Download The Social Media Make-over Checklist for Teacherpreneurs at www.teacherpreneur.ca

5. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976

6. Set up a private coaching call with me  https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/pages/book-a-coaching-session-with-me

Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media.

Twitter     https://twitter.com/teacherpreneur2

LinkedIn   https://ca.linkedin.com/in/patricepalmer1

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/teacherpreneur2

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/teacherpreneur2/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/teachertoteacherpreneur

About Me

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.  Contact me at [email protected]

 

 

 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Subscribe