Monday, November 21, 2016

How Becoming A TeacherPreneur Can Rejuvenate Your Teaching Career

Teachers that simply teach have careers that eventually stagnate.  It doesn't matter if they keep themselves on top of their game, reading the latest education articles, or participating in the newest professional development offered by their district office.  Similarly, tweaking lessons and even taking on a new subject to teach, gets old.  You teach long enough and you come to lose that zeal you once had as a beginning teacher.

I discovered the secret to teaching every single day with joy, enthusiasm, and passion to inspire students.  It doesn't involve drinking two to three cups of Starbucks coffee a day, taking that "sick" day once a month, or even getting everything you know you need to be effective, i.e., a smaller class size, students willing to work.  The solution to the drag you currently feel or will one day experience isn't about lacking drive to be the best teacher you can be.

The day I stopped being a mere investor, investing and saving for my retirement outside of my monthly teacher contributions, and became an entrepreneur, changed me forever.  Despite the added work outside of the school day, learning the dimensions of being an entrepreneur online, from books, and from problems I faced while taking action, I never felt tired or overworked.  I still don't!  I come to school every Monday smiling and I end Friday the same way.  Other teachers notice my energy and wonder if I'm on something.

The benefits of being a part-time entrepreneur are immense.  Let me share some of them:

1.  You learn to see your students as customers you need to service with the utmost integrity and respect.

2.  You begin to see your craft as a continuous sales pitch.  You "sell" the concepts you must teach, and the lessons you must deliver with conviction or lose a "sale."

3.  Your self-confidence grows two or three times fold as you pick up ideas and understandings from the business world that you can relate to your own career.

4.  You get to share your learning experiences with your students, especially how you failed and did something new to overcome the challenge.

5.  You get to help other people with your small, side business.  Working with adults can be as rewarding as working with kids and teens.

6.  You get to make extra money, as much as you want, and not worry as often about your finances.

7.  You feel like you're part of something big that can escalate at any minute.  This gives you constant excitement.

8.  You have a frame of reference for success that doesn't involve the traditional pathway of going to college.  That's a huge plus these days!  You get to appreciate the hustle and ingenuity of your low-performers.

 So what's a teacherpreneur?  A teacherpreneur is a teacher by day, and entrepreneur after school and on the weekends.  A teacherpreneur lives in the 21st Century with every other employee in America who realizes that although they may work for someone else, ultimately, they are the bosses of their own corporation, as the great Brian Tracy puts it.

Teacherpreneurs sponsor entrepreneurship clubs at school and if they have the option, do like me and teach an entrepreneurship elective.  They encourage students to start businesses instead of simply complaining about a lack of money.  They become mentors of kidpreneurs and guide these young entrepreneurs even when the education system discourages non-academic endeavors.  Teacherpreneurs ask students questions like:

How can you turn that idea into a real business?

How can you turn your hobby into a something you get paid for?

What would you want to do after high school if going to college isn't for you?

As much as I've tried to stay fresh and energized about the teaching profession, nothing has had as much success as becoming a teacherpreneur.  My teacherpreneur persona in the classroom, something you must have to inspire students, is named, "Homie G."  Why?  Because I do more than teach science.  I demonstrate first hand to students what life is about, constantly improving yourself, and living to the fullest.

In truth, having your students see you only as their teacher means you've done very little to share your life with them.  The stuff you can share, of course.  You lost moments to gain their trust, and build on the rapport you have with them.  This is the currency you need to inspire greatness from them, beyond grades.  I know the power of transformation that can occur within teachers once they become entrepreneurial.  It will make all the difference in the world and perhaps even keep many great teachers from leaving the teaching profession.  So if you're a teacher reading this, find a niche you can get into business in and go for it.  The outcome need not be about getting rich, or even leaving the teaching profession for good.

Thanks for reading.
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