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Being more than “just a teacher”

One conversation I found most compelling was about educators thinking like entrepreneurs or startups— realizing they are the idea people bringing their passion to the classroom. Thinking of ourselves as edu-preneurs moves us away from this “just a teacher” mentality. For me, the term conjures up the empowerment, excitement, and cutting-edge nature of what we can do in our classrooms.

In his keynote on Tuesday, Yong Zhao talked about “black collar” entrepreneurs who don’t wait for people to create a solution, but create solutions themselves. Brian Crosby also talked about students as entrepreneurs and someone mentioned a fascinating project going on at Kevin Honeycutt’s ARt Snacks site: Super Cool Startups, which is helping train students to become “startups” in towns where they don’t have the resources to leave.

We also talked about obstacles. One of the participants in the conversation is now working for a, but she was formerly a teacher. She pointed out how fast-paced her workplace is, and how they don’t wait until something is perfect to get it out there. When she was teaching, she felt tremendous pressure to be perfect and to have everything perfectly planned. How does it change the dynamic of school if we don’t perceive that we have to be perfect, that we are learners just like our students, and that the most important thing is to get the conversation STARTED? It’s a good reminder that we are not the only experts in the room. We need to remove that pressure from teachers.