Although grammatically incorrect, the word teacherpreneur is increasingly appearing in some extraordinary teachers’ vocabularies. This word comes by bringing two powerful elements together, teachers and entrepreneurs!
As stated by Berry, Byrd, & Wieder (2013), entrepreneurs:
- Start, organize, and manage an enterprise
- Take initiative
- Face obstacles
- Give it all to their causes
- Assume all the risk and reward
- Are seen as leaders
- Perceive opportunities
Teacherpreneurs are all this while still teaching. Berry, Byrd, & Wieder (2013) make a beautiful calling for teachers to become teacherpreneurs who lead but don’t leave. Their hearts are in teaching and with their students.
These classroom experts seek to remain in teaching while transforming education far beyond the reaches of their school. Teacherpreneurs are not tempted to leave the classroom; they can easily teach and lead.
Many teachers feel burned out and stuck in a profession while losing their initial love for it. In contrast, teacherpreneurs renew their passion daily as they give and receive. Their teaching is always fresh and growing.
Teacherpreneurs constantly share what is happening in their classroom through blogs, social media, workshops, seminars, panels, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more. They share their best practices while refining new ideas they see in fellow teacherpreneurs.
You might ask yourself, “What can I share? Does it have to be brand new?” The answer is “NO!” Just start by observing what other teacherpreneurs are doing, and put into practice some of their ideas. You can adapt and refine them, then share your version. Make your teaching visible. When you start sharing the little you have to offer, the biblical principle will kick in and you will soon realize you are receiving more by giving. You can create your own blog and start collecting what you are doing in your classroom. Open a social media account for yourself as a teacher. Create a short name for your blog and social media accounts that represents you or your philosophy. Sophistication isn’t necessary; just be creative and succinct. Mine is Let’s Celebrate Learning, because that’s what I want students to do in my classroom!
We need to know what current best practices look like. We wouldn’t trust an outdated doctor! We are dealing with human treasures; we should be constantly trying to be better teachers. Don’t get me wrong, however. Eternal principles found in the Bible and the writings of Ellen White are never old, and are still ahead of our practices. We need to seek modern practices that can go along with these principles of Adventist Education. As Knight (2010) says, “Adventist Education is important only if it is truly Adventist” (p. 56).
Traditions can be an important part of school culture, but decades-old tactics won’t cut it when it comes to learning. We can’t expect our kids to be growing, learning, and pushing boundaries unless we’re doing the same! Despite potential backlash from doubters and naysayers, you need to bring freshness to your practices. We can grow from mistakes. Don’t be afraid to do different things!
You can become a teacherpreneur! Find your pasion. Pursue it. Share it. Refine it. Don’t live on an island! Find your people wherever they might be. Nesloney and Welcome (2016) say that we can choose to act like the outside world doesn’t exist, or we can tap and utilize the expertise of educators around the world and thus become better.
Watch for Part II next week!
Berry, B., Byrd, A., & Wieder, A. (2013). Teacherpreneurs: Innovative teachers who lead but don’t leave. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Knight, G. (2010). Redemptive Education (Part III): Implications of Philosophy for Adventist Education. The Journal of Adventist Education, 73(1), 38-59.
Nesloney, T. & Welcome, A. (2016). Kids deserve it. San Diego, CA.: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.