Tech Recruiter Matches Teachers with Part-Time Gigs

Mark Phillips' GigEd matches ed tech firms with educators looking for part-time work

Teachers now have a platform that lets them participate in the gig economy and earn extra cash. 

Mark Phillips, founder of Boulder-based educational technology recruiting firm HireEducation, has launched GigEd, an online platform that matches "ed tech" firms with educators looking for part-time gigs. "Ed tech" refers to any form of teaching and learning that makes use of technology.

"The idea is that a significant portion of teachers in this country have jobs outside of their teaching jobs," Phillips says. "They don't want to leave their teaching jobs, but they go out and drive Uber or tutor."

At least 10 percent of teachers in every state have an additional job outside of the school system, according to a 2014 report by the Center for American Progress. They look on job boards, social networking sites, rely on word of mouth and generally settle for gigs that fail to recognize the depth of their commitment, the extent of their education and the unique characteristics of teachers as gig economy workers.

The gig economy is a way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for one employer. In 2016, nearly 10 percent of Americans earned money using digital platforms to take on a job or task, according to a report form the Pew Research Center.

GigEd pairs up teachers, and their knowledge of education, with companies that can hire them as consultants or part-time contractors. It has a network of about 5,000 teachers around the world. The employers are mainly publishers or ed tech companies that make their money from schools.

The work ranges from web-based research to reviewing educational videos. Teachers are often asked to write questions for standardized tests or "assessments" for students.

"The tests are very specific about vocabulary and how many words are in a sentence," Phillips says. "Formative assessments are like quizzes, and they're intended to measure how much a kid is absorbing."

Phillips' fee is 17 percent on top of what the company is paying the teacher. He encourages companies to pay teachers at least $40 an hour.

"If it's below $40, teachers tend not to respond to it," he says. "We get way better results if they feel like their time is valued. I'd love for a teacher to be making more than $10,000 a year on this."

Categories: Tech