I’m not sure of my daughter, at age 4, should know how to read words already. What is your experience on 4 year olds? Since I’m panicking, I found this The Reading House online. I found the concept to be very interesting, so I decided to know more about the business. The Reading House is ran by Teacher D and her husband. Read her story here!
Teacher Deidre Story’s
My name is Teacher D and I am a mom to our sweet little Tala. I’m married to Marky, who works in IT Sales. I have 2 older sisters who have their own families already.
Both my sisters were equally thrilled when they found out that I was pregnant, because finally I’m no longer the “Fun Aunt” and I’m going to parent an actual human being already (haha!). My parents are simple business owners, who like any other grandparents, are “obsessed” with all their apos. Apos call them Abuelo and Abuela. All our kids are lucky to have them.
I have been a teacher for almost 10 years now (and counting). My first teaching job was in Wordlab, a school that specializes in teaching kids with Learning Disabilities. During the years that I stayed there, I taught in the Reading Clinic, a one-on-one learning set up that closely implements reading intervention programs for kids with learning needs, mainly Dyslexia. I became the Head Teacher in that Department. I learned a lot about how to become an effective teacher, one that assures that no child is left behind. But being fairly young then, I wanted a new environment, I decided to resign and try out other types of school. That’s when I applied to Xavier School, something new and also somewhere close to where I live before. I taught 3rd Grade English there for 3 years. I have nothing against traditional schools because I am a product of one, but the ways of it didn’t conform with what I believe as a teacher so I decided to transfer to Keys School Manila, a progressive school. I enjoyed my stay there in Keys. I like that the students are assessed not just as a learner but also as a person and even a citizen.
Then last year, after some waiting time, I got pregnant.
When I decided to resign from teaching, I told myself that I am going to enjoy motherhood in all its glory and I am! I enjoy each day that I get to see her wake up, bathe, eat her first solids, the teething drama, dressing her up in cute outfits (by far my most favorite), story time, nap time and all her other firsts. Apart from all these, what I really enjoy is I don’t need to pump anymore! Yayy! One (sort of) promise that I made to Tala and myself is to do all my best to breastfeed her up until her toddler years. I guess that makes me a breastfeeding believer too. During times that Tala allows me to have free time (a.k.a. her nap time), I enjoy reading and watching TV series. I’m lucky that I have a husband that is very hands on and just willing to grant me “Me Times” from anytime I ask for it. I’m thankful that we both believe that self-care is an important part of being parents.
The Reading House’s Story
Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?
Teacher D: The Reading House is a Literacy Center that aims to help children with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties. The services of The Reading House covers all the sub-skills of reading that we use in order to read continuous passages meaningfully.
Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?
Teacher D: We aim to help children with Learning Disabilities and/or Difficulties. We chose to help these kids because as a teacher, each child learns differently which is why I believe that no child should be left behind in learning.
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Teacher D: I wouldn’t have learned everything about Reading intervention, if not for my first teaching experience. That is where I will credit this idea to. As a teacher, I know that there aren’t enough teaching facilities here in the Philippines that can help children with learning needs.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Teacher D: This center took me almost a decade to build. I had to learn a lot about the approach that is proven effective for these types of children. There were moments of self-doubt whether I am fit to build such center. There were a lot of questions (largely from me to me) if I am equipped enough. I know that these children need consistency and dedication. I know that because of frustration a lot of them just lost their interest in learning overall.
I studied, did a lot of research and studied again and really took time to further educate myself about Learning Disabilities and what is the best way to help children with these conditions.
Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?
Teacher D: The greatest challenge that I have had ( and so far I am having ) would be how to spread awareness about it. Sadly, the Philippines’ education system is not completely geared to help children with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability is something that we misinterpret as a lot of things, slow, lazy, disinterested and other more. What I want is for teachers to have patience and understanding before tagging a child. I want to convince them that not all children learn in the same way and it’s our job as teachers to determine what way do our students want to learn.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?
Teacher D: According to importance, I think that first is to be passionate. I don’t want this to sound as a cliché, but passion is what really pushed me build The Reading House. I think that I gained an interest on helping these children and worked for it to become a passion. Second would be patience, it’s not a secret that putting up, let alone maintaining a business is a lot of work. I believe that every challenge and all the hard work that we pour into it will all be worth it at the end.
My last most definitely not the least choice is, prayer, some of my friends would probably be surprised if they hear me say this. I am known to be the type of person that keeps it to herself and misconstrued as carefree, but throughout this whole process of putting this center up, I found that prayer is a sure fire tool that helped me in all my decision –making, be it a small one or the most major of all. I became more secured and assured when I talk to God about it first, whatever it is.
Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?
Teacher D: This venture is a partnership with my husband. Being in the line of sales, at times, my husband tended to deal with things in a ruthless (for lack of a better term) manner. This would sometimes contradict with how I, a teacher, is used to doing things with diplomacy, gentle and thorough processing and explanations. It’s like he’s the brain and I’m the heart, and we can’t work things together. It’s also heartbreaking that sometimes it happens in front of our daughter, which really truly concerned me. This is the sole reason that brought us to the resolution that we, in the future will really have arguments and sometimes we won’t be able to keep it from our children, but what’s important is for them to see that we make up and fix things at the end of the day. We also made sure that all mealtimes are (and will be) spent together, argument –free.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Teacher D: One advice that I can give other Entrepreneurs is to have a perfect balance of mind and heart. You have to be logical in all your decisions but at the same time be kind and considerate on how people around you would feel. I also strongly believe that if you treat your employees right, they will in turn develop a genuine love for what they are doing.
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Teacher D: I’d like to believe it, because initially I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. All I wanted was to help kids with Learning Disability, but with the challenges that came in my way as I am building this center, along with the struggles of a first time mom, I was able to make it possible. I believe that’s what being an entrepreneur is about, jumping over hurdles and still finishing strong.
Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?
Teacher D: My husband saved up for this. We opted to have a small and intimate wedding so that we can use the money up for something we think is more worthwhile. Aside from these, we pitched the concept to our trusted friends and family and gave them share of the ownership.
Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?
Teacher D: Our main marketing strategy now is through the Internet. We spent on a website and created a Facebook page where interested people could reach us. We also gave out leaflets to schools that are near our center. We reached out to fellow parents who we think has a great influence on others. The Reading House sought their help in not just promoting or featuring our center, but more importantly, to raise awareness about Learning Disabilties.
Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?
Teacher D: Our “edge” from the other Literacy Centers here in the Philippines is that we use a digital multi-sensory program. The name of the program is iSpire. iSpire fleshes out all the subskills of reading to assure an optimum learning experience for its users.
Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important
Teacher D: The Reading House is also open to conduct some workshops about spotting and handling children with Learning Disabilities in a classroom set up.
Ginger: Thanks for the inspiring story, all of the advice and for the tips, Teacher D! 🙂
We have a surprise for our readers! We will be giving out ONE FREE Literacy Diagnosis + Reading Enrichment Session. All you need to do is leave a comment below on why do you think you need to win this! 🙂 We will raffle of this prize on July 25. We will announce the winner on this page, too! 🙂
For more information about The Reading House, check these out: