What is a Teacherpreneur?

Teacherpreneurs take all the best practices in education and latest advances in technology and use them to blaze new trails in teaching and learning that focus on connection and collaboration.  They are leaders who step beyond the classroom to make significant changes in the field of education while still teaching.  Community organizer, educational revolutionist, global visionary, educational innovator, reformer are all roles filled by the teacherpreneur.  Teacherpreneurs understand goals and student learning objectives may be necessary, but adjust teaching and the classroom environment to meet the individual needs of students while expanding the educational horizons of their student by connecting them to global audiences and experiences with new technologies.

Characteristics of a Teacherpreneur

A teacherpreneur is an innovating and resourceful educator that models lifelong learning and maintains a strong PLN that allows him/her to manage knowledge, stay connected and current in the field to collaborate and extend learning beyond the classroom walls for students, while intergating new technologies effectively. A teacherpreneur is also a passionate and prepared educational leader who steps across disciplines and school roles beyond his/her own school and district advocating, mentoring, facilitating and sharing learning in different ways to make sure students achieve.

Steps to Becoming a Teacherpreneur

Much like a mature garden, becoming a teacherpreneur takes time, a focus on the big picture and attention to the small details.  How does one begin to take the steps toward becoming a teacherpreneur?  

  1. Start by developing a personal learning network, (PLN,) by following other teacherpreneurs on twitter and diigo, by gathering a list of blogs to read written by like minded individuals, and by trying out some of the ideas you are exposed to via these resources.
  2. Begin sharing, beyond the classroom, through your PLN.  Start a blog, comment on other blogs, participate in twitter hashtag discussions like #fcpclass, #edchat, #techcoach, #comments4kids or #pblchat, and share to Diigo.  It may seem scary to dive in but you’ll soon find teacherpreneurs are the most welcoming group of individuals around.  That’s because collective brainpower makes them them thrive.
  3. Connect with other classes, both in and out of your school and start to work collaboratively on a few projects.  Start small, the project might only last one day the first time.  What matters is that you are connecting your students with others, using skills that are essential in today’s world.  Your projects will expand as will your network of teacherpreneurs.
  4. Be an active participant of education, bridging what you are learning and doing with administrators, policy makers, curriculum coordinators and instructional coaches.  I’ve found most administrators offer green lights to educators who provide them with clarity in the direction they are going so long as the emphasis on learning is high and high standards remain.
  5. Lead by example and use the excitement and learning generated by students to freely make changes to curriculum in your classroom.  

Eventually, you’ll find yourself moving to a hybrid teaching role where you’ll not only be teaching your students but you’ll be facilitating learning as you participate in other areas and aspects of education.  Bottom line, teacherpreneurs do more than teach students, they reach out and share their story with those who will listen.  

Addressing Standards as aTeacherpreneur

Teacherpreneurs use standards as a guide as they develop innovative and creative lessons.The standards state what students are expected to learn and the teacherpreneur determines the best approach to use with the specific group of students or and individual student. They work with administrators to set appropriate goals.  Teacherpreneurs synchronize the set standards and their unique approach to teaching.

Examples of Exemplary Teacherpreneurs

Richard Byrne

Richard Byrne is a high school social studies teacher who is also a prolific blogger and educational innovator.  Additionally he provides workshops and webinars for schools and districts.  His blog Free Technology for Teachers is one of the most widely followed educational blog where he introduces new technology tools and breaks down how they can be use in practical ways often sharing what he is doing in his own classroom.

Twitter: @rmbyrne

Blog: http://freetech4teachers.com

Vicki Davis - Flat Classroom Project Co-Creator

Twitter:  @coolcatteacher

Blog:  Cool Cat Teacher, http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/

The first time I saw Vicki at an ISTE Conference I said hello to her.  I had been a follower of her work on her blog and valued her efforts in global collaboration.  She welcomed me into her “flat” world and, over the past four years has introduced me to resources, concepts, ideas and people that have shaped my teaching and work.  One such person was Julie Lindsay.  

Larry Ferlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo is an ESL teacher who also works to change policy and shares his insights and practices with the world via twitter and his blog.  He has written several books and offers a “Best of Series” that is rich in resources to take on many types of technology integration projects.

Twitter:  @Larryferlazzo

Website:  http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org

Steve Hargadon - He is a top notch educator who has shown how collaborationg and sharing is the key to innovate education and make it effective. I knew about him when I was at an ASCD conference in Orlando and heard about Classroom 2.0, one of his creations.

http://www.stevehargadon.com/ and http://www.classroom20.com/ 

Chris Lehman - Principal - Science Leadership Academy

Chris Lehman never stops sharing.  In 2010 he was named one of the 30 most influential people in Ed Tech by Technology and Learning magazine.  His methods, ideas, and genuine belief that all students should love learning both when they enter and leave school are innovative and employable.  He continually reminds us that not everyone is as far along in the twitter world, etc... as others and it is our duty to hold their hand and show them the way.

Twitter:  @chrislehmann

Blog: Pratical Theory, http://practicaltheory.org/blog/

Julie Lindsay - Flat Classroom Project Co-Creator

Twitter: @julielindsay

Blog:  E-Learning Journeys, http://123elearning.blogspot.com/

I met Julie at an ISTE Conference through Vicki Davis.  Julie’s focus on transforming learning for the digital learner has been amazing, specifically in the area of digital literacy.   Her work is sharp and her knowledge of resources vast and she shares every bit of what she has learned with others.  

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. I also found out about this educator at an ASCD conference and then, while studying my leadership masters, I digged a little more into her work and ideas. I love the idea of teachers embracing technology and I always remember one of her quotes “Technology will never replace teachers, however teachers who know how to use technology effectively to help their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those who do not.”

Teaching 2030 - http://youtu.be/vk-aulXHymQ When I was looking at some good examples and ideas about teacherpreneurs I came up with this web and I like the way they call teacherpreneurs the “brokers of learning.”

Written by:  Yvonne Caples, Lisette Casey, Gretchen Cherian, and Xavier Espejo-Vadillo