The Future of ‘Teacherpreneurs’

It seems simple enough to say that teachers are the vanguards of education. While that might not have always been the case in reality, it’s certainly coming closer with the rise in teacherpreneurs.

You’re probably wondering to yourself, what exactly is a teacherpreneur? There has traditionally been a substantial gap between school administration and the instructors who actually teach in the classroom. Teacherpreneurs seek to close that gap by taking a more proactive role in shaping the institution of education outside of the classroom as well as inside of it.

The disconnect between teachers and administrators

TeacherpreneurIn many cases, educational reform is a hot-button topic that gets attention from legislative bodies on both the federal and state level. While an active interest in education is vital to the well-being of our nation’s children, political pundits are not equipped with the proper training or relevant experience to effectively dictate standards of instruction in the classroom without input from teachers. By providing their insight, these teachers can help shape policy and guide instruction standards to those that are most effective rather than those that adhere to the public image interests of politically focused groups.

To provide the most effective educational structures and practices, schools need to incorporate input from those governing entities, their students’ families, the students themselves, and of course the teachers who spend their days in the classroom testing which strategies work best and which of them prove ultimately ineffective. When all of these parties collaborate to form the educational structure, we see massive improvements in areas like student performance and success.

What is a teacherpreneur?

A teacherpreneur is a teacher who builds on his or her educational training and experience in the classroom to develop practices and products that serve to improve the future of education for others. By moving outside of the traditional classroom roles, these teachers are looking for ways in which they can propel the current educational system to become something more streamlined, more dynamic and more effective.

Author Ariel Sacks describes the role as one that would “ground the profession in the work of teaching, while recognizing that teacher leadership has a place and a value and a function beyond honorific titles and extracurricular duties. Leadership would no longer be a thing you ascribed to ‘after’ teaching, or when you were ‘done’ teaching. Nor would teaching need to be seen as something to master and move on from.”

What are the components of teacherpreneurship?

The teacherpreneur isn’t necessarily one specific type of person, but there are a few common traits that identify these workers. There is generally a desire on the part of that person to make a visible and impactful change in the world, one that takes place on a larger scale than is possible for the average teacher in the classroom.

These teacherpreneurs identify an area that could benefit from change, and they volunteer as the person who can make that change come about. It’s a sort of redefinition of the role of teacher, one in which the teacher becomes more than just instructor to a class, but thought leader and catalyst in general.

The Center for Teaching Quality has a number of profiles of teacherpreneurs. Take for example, math teacher Ali Wright of Lexington, Kentucky. Wright created a summer math camp as a way to encourage more minority students to enroll in AP math courses. As a result of the camp, 15 minority students enrolled in AP calculus in the fall. Wright also wrote a grant to purchase materials and expand the camp to the entire school district.

When teachers are given the opportunity to expand their skills and expertise beyond the classroom, they are a powerful force for changing the way we view education and they ways in which we prepare our students for their futures. Here’s to the rise of teacherpreneurs and the hope that there are many more to follow.

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