The Most Exciting Story From Our 7 Years of Teach Better

Jeff GargasBlog, Connect Better, Lead Better, Reflect Better


  • Teach Better began in 2015 with an idea to create an ebook about The Grid Method.
  • Jeff Gargas, COO and co-founder of Teach Better, shares a little history of how Teach Better came to be what it is today.
  • Jeff shares a few classic stories and ends with the best one.

The Most Exciting Story From Our 7 Years Of Teach Better

7 years ago, in 2015, it was just Chad and me with a silly idea: Let’s create an ebook to share this new way Chad had been teaching in his 7th grade science classroom.

Since then, we have seen more growth in our business than we ever imagined. Our team has grown to 24 people. Our annual revenue continues to grow every year. Most importantly, our IMPACT grows every day, now reaching thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students every day.

I talk a lot about increasing your impact by sharing your story. I am passionate about this because that is exactly what happened here. That is why I’m here after 7 years, writing this post about our journey. All because Chad decided he wanted to share his story of the worst year ever that led to changes that saved his career and altered the way he and his students thought about learning.

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So, how did we get here?

It was late; probably around 8pm or so. I had finished up a pretty hectic 13 hour day at the marketing agency I was working with, and I was tired. Like, really tired. But I was also pretty excited to hear from a friend I hadn’t spoken with too much over the past 2 years or so. Chad had called and left me a voicemail saying he wanted to chat about maybe writing an ebook to share this new way of teaching with others in his building. I remember calling him back and driving around my neighborhood again and again that night, listening to the impact it had had on his students’ learning and on Chad as a teacher, husband, and father.

We decided to meet up to talk more about how he could share this thing we now call The Grid Method. Over some wings and fries, Chad shared more with me about how other teachers had begun stopping him in the hallway to ask questions about the things he was doing in his classroom. They wanted to know why students were asking them if they could use Grids. Chad wanted to help, so he had the idea to create an ebook that he could share with them to help.

Chad and I had been connected for a few years at this point. We initially met when his band competed in a “Battle of the Bands” I put on with the record label I started when I was younger. I ended up becoming his band’s manager for a while before shutting down the label. After that, he and I became friends when he agreed to help me coach a high school soccer team in the area. After I left coaching, Chad went on to become a teacher, and I started my own online marketing firm. So when Chad had the ebook idea, he thought of me. I’ve never been so happy to reconnect with an old friend!

More than an ebook.

So there we were, two guys thinking of how we could share this new framework for teaching with more people. I told Chad I thought he had something special and that we needed to share it with more than just the teachers in his school. We needed to share it with as many teachers as possible.

“Dude, we’re not just doing an ebook.  You’re going to change the world.”

I’m not sure Chad believed me when I said that. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s told me he thought I was crazy. But I believed it. You see, it wasn’t just that his students were showing better results in his classroom. It was also that he was happier, less stressed, and loving teaching again. He felt like he was not only a better teacher, but a better father and husband. Anything that can have that much impact on a person needs to be shared with as many people as possible!

Continuing with giving him reasons to think I was crazy, I told him the way we were going to do all this was to give it all away for free.

“But don’t we need money in order to survive and share it with more people?”

“Yes, and we’ll get money to do that.”

“By…giving it all away for free?”

Yep. That’s how that conversation went. I explained that I wanted to create a website and an online course. We would publish blog posts and other free resources on the website, and make it so that someone could take the course, read some posts, ask a few questions, and then effectively implement The Grid Method in their classroom without ever paying us a dime.

I believed that if we did that well enough, and enough people tried it and saw success, schools would not only be willing to pay us, but they would WANT to pay us to work with them.

(Just in case you’re keeping score, I was right. ?)

Our side-hustle.

Here’s the craziest part: He said yes. He agreed that that was the right strategy. And off we went! We created the course, built the site, and began writing blog posts and recording videos for the website. Because we weren’t generating any revenue, Chad continued to teach and I continued to build my agency. Our “work hours” for Teach Better (still called “The Grid Method” back then) were typically from around 9 or 10 at night—after our families went to sleep—until around midnight or sometimes 1, 2, or 3 am. We would hold meetings on the weekends, typically in someone else’s office (shoutout to Matt White!).

Chad would drive to my house (about 40 minutes) and spend 4+ hours in front of a camera, recording multiple videos for me to then edit and publish over the next couple of weeks. I still remember him showing up with like 8 different shirts so it didn’t look like they were all recording in the same day, lol.

Along with the blogs and videos, we started submitting Chad to speak at conferences. And we started reaching out to whatever contacts we had to try and get in front of more people. Eventually, a school called us and wanted a workshop on The Grid Method. I remember spending over 100 bucks on Panera coffee and bagels, and then everyone in attendance showing up with their own coffee and breakfast. Nothing more came from that school.

Next, we got a call from an insurance agency to discuss using this method to train their independent sales force. And they paid us for some work. This sparked one of the many times we thought this journey was going to go a different way than it has. Believe it or not, for a while there we thought that our business was going to be using The Grid Method to help businesses train their people.

That didn’t last long. They decided they were no longer interested, and Chad really wanted to be able to impact students, not businesses. So we went back to creating blogs and videos and trying to get Chad to conferences.

Our last $375.

One day, in February of 2016, Chad texted me and asked if he could spend the last $375 we had in our bank account. He had been accepted to speak at a conference in Columbus, Ohio, but the registration was $375. I asked if he thought the right people would be in attendance to get The Grid Method in front of them, and he confidently said, “Umm….I think so?”

We spent that $375, went to Columbus a few months later, and Chad presented to about 25 people.

In that small room of 25 educators was a Curriculum Director of a district in Ohio who decided The Grid Method was something her teachers needed to experience. She approached us after the session and gave us a couple of dates to hold on our calendar.

That led to her district deciding to lay out a 3-year plan to implement The Grid Method across all grade levels and subjects. The workload that would require led to Chad making one of the most difficult decisions of his life, the decision to leave his classroom and pursue this idea full-time. This spurred 6 years of crazy ups and downs, and spin-you-around stories that I love sharing any chance I get.

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Our most exciting story.

I’m not going to lie, I wrote this post over and over again, changing stories each time. I didn’t know what stories I should share. Which would actually be interesting to anyone? Which would bring someone some value? There are so many moments that have stuck with me over these past 7 years. Good moments, like standing on stage at the 2019 Teach Better Conference. Not-so-good moments, like looking at our bank account and realizing we only had enough money to last us 2 months. And just about everything in between.

We have made thousands and thousands of stories I could tell for days and days, but the most exciting story I have is this one. Today. The story you’re helping us write at this very moment. You see, our company has grown and changed so much over the last 7 years. But the one thing that has not changed, and that I will ensure never changes, is this community we call our Teach Better Family.

It’s you. You’re the thing that has made these years as amazing as they have been. Whether you’ve been with us for all 7, or just a few days, you are what gets us up every day. You are why we put in the long days and late nights. You are what gives us hope for the future. Because you are what is making our future better. You change lives every day. And we thrive on the idea that maybe, just maybe, we can play a small role in the amazing things you do every day.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again and again and again…YOU are what makes this team what it is. YOU are what makes this all worth it. And YOU are what BETTER is all about.

Thank you for an amazing 7 years, and thank you for creating amazing stories every day.

About Jeff Gargas

Jeff is the COO/Co-founder of the Teach Better Team and co-author of “Teach Better.” He works with educators to increase student engagement and improve student success. Jeff previously owned an online marketing firm, where he worked with entrepreneurs and small businesses. He is also a former adjunctive professor at Kent State University and spent 10+ years in the music industry.