Megan O’Connor is the cofounder and CEO at cutting edge tutoring platform, Clark. Her story is as interesting as her company and we were delighted to be able to get her to answer 5 Questions with us. Here are her questions and answers:
Q: Learning outside the classroom, including tutoring, is an overlooked part of the education dynamic. What is your view of the role tutoring is playing, or should play, in the education system?
Tutoring plays a critical role in the education system as it provides students with the one on one assistance, catered to meet the needs of a student’s unique learning style, that’s needed to achieve academic success. In the coming years we’ll see the need for tutoring services dramatically increase, as a current shortage of teachers will lead to more students per classroom, reducing the individual instruction time students receive. Given this landscape, we need to be sure we’re giving teachers the tools they need to effectively educate the next generation and spend as much time as they can teaching.
Q: What is it that your company, Clark, is doing differently? What problems do you see and how are you working to solve them for students and, in this case, tutors and teachers?
What’s really different about Clark is that we’re empowering tutors to take on the increased demand for their services without having to rely on traditional franchised tutoring resources. And, for the first time, teachers will have the support they need to actively participate in the gig economy, allowing them to scale their businesses and take full advantage of the flexibility and one-on-one support to students that tutoring offers.
Teachers are bogged down in administrative tasks that take them away from the reason why they got into the profession in the first place, which is to teach. By handling all of a tutor’s day to day activities, Clark reduces time spent on administrative work, increases time spent educating students and increases a tutor’s earnings.
We also make it easy for students and their families to get the most out of their tutoring experiences. For example, Clark provides parents with full transparency around a student’s progress, providing them with real time reporting, delivered simply via a text, at the touch of a button.
Q: The gig and on-demand economies have changed the way many systems operate and it seems you want to more teachers to be more involved in an education or tutoring version of a gig and on-demand model. Why is that a good thing?
Studies show that teachers are leaving the profession because of frustrations with their jobs that include poor salaries. The solution to keeping teachers in the profession is to provide them with seamless side forms of income like tutoring. Clark empowers teachers to not only participate in the gig economy, but to actively create and scale a business, uplifting teaching as a profession and energizing the freelance workforce. We think there is no better cause to be dedicated to than helping to avert the teacher crisis, and providing this critical sector of the population with increased financial security and job satisfaction.
Q: It’s easy to see how Clark can help teachers and the tutoring sector. But for families who use tutors, how would Clark help them?
Clark puts an education hub in the hands of families, creating transparency and offering parents an active role in their children’s private education. Families can also search for tutors via Clark.
Q: How are people feeling about Clark? What’s the feedback been like? And, this is cheating on our five questions, but what’s next for you and Clark, what are you focusing on now?
The feedback from teachers has been excellent so far. We’ve seen our beta group reduce time spent on administrative work, increase time spent educating students and increase their earnings. We’re looking forward to making Clark available across the country to empower every teacher to become an entrepreneur, uplifting our nation’s educators and the students that they teach at the same time.