Why I am Teachers’ Biggest Fan
… and why I decided to change my job title from “Business Development Manager” to “Teachers’ Cheerleader”.
I joined Lalilo 7 months ago along with the other first 4 employees.
Lalilo is a startup, developing an A.I.-based virtual T.A. for K-2 teachers in both France and in the USA. Although the idea of A.I. may sound daunting at first, we truly believe that technology (which does not imply putting students in front of screens every day) can truly help teachers handle the varying levels and abilities of their students.
To give more insight on what exactly we are doing: we are building a web-based literacy app containing exercises that adapt to each and every student’s learning needs. All exercises have two main functions: evaluate & remediate. From the data we collect on each student, we are then able to help teachers with hard tasks that they face on a daily basis by: generating printable worksheets with individualized exercises, grouping students by levels, and giving detailed reports about each student’s progress.
My job, at first
I was hired as the Business Development Manager. We are now a team of 14, and I’m the only one not directly working on the product. All the other team members’ jobs consists of scientists, developers, designers, and product owners.
My role is to spend time with teachers and understand how we can shape the best product for them — with their precious help. We are all doing this because we are passionate about revolutionizing the outdated education system. But at the end of the day the most rewarding part of our work is having a teacher come up to us and say “you helped me save this kid”.
Initially, I started spending time with teachers a couple of times a week at first, before finding myself volunteering almost every day in a classroom, because almost all teachers welcome an aid with open arms. Truth be told, the 50 teachers we had coffee with and the 2,000 surveyed online almost all had the same answer to the question « If you could ask for one thing, what would it be? ». They all answered « an extra pair of hands. I need somebody to help me ».
Then I fell in love with teachers
The more I was spending time with teachers, the more I was absolutely astonished by how hard their work is, how much they contribute to society, and how little they are considered. Before Lalilo, the last time I’d stepped into a classroom was in Grade 12. I had never thought about how much work teachers had. But I now realize: they prep their lessons in the morning, in the evening, they deal with parents, they have compulsory professional development, and too often more than instructors, they have to be educators. All of them keep this hard job because they truly care about the future citizens they are shaping. They want to give their students the best chance at life possible. I met with somebody who once told me « All those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs make me laugh saying they work hard… but trust me, not one single entrepreneur works as hard as a good teacher ». I find this very true.
Why I decided to change my job title
Of course, Lalilo is a for-profit startup and we are hoping to eventually sell our software to schools. However, I want Lalilo to make a difference in teachers’ life, and I want to claim, as more people should, what extraordinary people they all are.
A huge thanks to Gabi, Tiffany, Nora, Bryan, Colette, Arnaud, Thomas, Anna, Arun, Patrick, Jennifer, Holen and all the others, for welcoming us into their life :)