"Teacherpreneur." I like that word. I feel as though it represents a new breed of teacher: one who innovates, takes risks, and shares the results with the education world. I want to be a teacherpreneur. I want to teach my students, try new things in my classroom, and share my findings with others. Twitter has been a great place to do that so far! But I want to work with teachers face-to-face. I want to share my thoughts and experiences and then hear what they have to say. I want to better my practice from face-to-face interactions with other teachers and administrators.
But is that what the word "teacherpreneur" means? Of course, the word "teacherpreneur" steals the ending from "entrepreneur," a French word that, according to
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur, is defined as:
"One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise."
Anyway, although I dislike starting a blog post with definitions, I think it's important to understand what the term means publicly and in my own context.
I originally saw the word on Vicki Davis' website: coolcatteacher.blogspot.com. Vicki is an amazing teacher, global collaborator, and Mom. Author of award winning wikis, blogs, co-founder of Flat Classroom projects and co-author of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.
Her definition is to the right, and includes additional components outside of my definition above like "partnering with other classrooms" and "global collaborators."
I love the parts where she says teacherpreneurs "get in trouble with their renegade practices until people realize that they work" and breeding a "new generation of... big picture thinkers like we've never seen before."
I think it's true that teachers who push the envelope probably upset the applecart quite a bit in their districts due to the importance placed on "consistency across the district."
So I recently bought and read a good book entitled, "Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don't Leave." It focused on how teachers can advocate for policy change through an organization called the Center for Teaching Quality.
The book was written as a series of case studies of teachers who became Teacherpreneurs. I was highly inspired by several of the teachers, especially Lori Nazareno (@lnazareno) and Noah Zeichner (@nzeichner). These two teachers are doing some amazing things in education!
Teacherpreneurship, in this regard, is an excellent way to advocate for change in education, but not exactly what I'm looking to do.
The web page says this about the book:
Follow the journeys of eight American teachers who are exceptional, but not exceptions.
Teacherpreneurs (Jossey-Bass, 2013) demonstrates why and how innovative career pathways can help expert teachers benefit more students. (Teacherpreneurs: classroom experts who teach students for part of each day or week and spread sound practices and innovative ideas beyond their schools, districts, and states.)
The book, authored by Barnett Berry, Ann Byrd, and Alan Wieder, also documents barriers that teacher leaders face and suggests big-picture changes to advance the profession.
In our district, I have been allowed to take days off to lead workshops in other districts. These days are called "Professional Days." I'm not sure if there is a limit to the number of Professional Days I can take, but I have found out that the district who hires me to teach has to pay for my substitute for these days. I would love to start working with grade level teams to plan curriculum, create lessons that focus on 21st Century skills & use technology purposefully, and create student ePortfolios that make learning more transparent & help synthesize learning.
My goal is to do this on a more regular basis. My students, especially as the year goes on, need me less and less once routines are established and they are "running the show." Having a substitute regularly, especially one who is comfortable with the style of learning taking place in our classroom, is not a huge negative like it might have been in the past.
Just like our students, teachers need an authentic audience for which to share their knowledge. Working 60 hour weeks to benefit my own personal students is one thing, but when we know that hundreds more could benefit, it makes our time commitment that much more meaningful. Becoming a "Teacherpreneur" seems to be a logical next step for teachers pushing the envelope and I'd be interested in exploring that avenue!
What ideas do you have?
(I found this article about Intrapreneurs that I really enjoyed reading - check it out if you're interested!)