Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Teacherpreneurs, Revisited: We're Getting There!

I had the unique opportunity to be part of a group of classroom teachers from across the country who collaboratively wrote a book Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools... Now and in the Future  (The linked video by graphic recorder Sunni Brown does a nice job of explaining "teacherpreneurs".) Barnett Berry wrote the bulk of the manuscript, and incorporated parts of our writing (truth be told, I have all of about three paragraphs in it).

Notice how I mentioned classroom teachers? Part of the idea behind teacherpreneurship is that you shouldn't have to leave the classroom completely to be involved in teacher leadership. Who better to collaborate with other teachers and implement new ideas that someone familiar with the classroom? A true teacherpreneur has the opportunity to remain in the classroom at least part of the time, while also taking on additional roles for the district or organization. To our minds, teacherpreneurship is NOT leaving the teaching profession to become a full-time consultant, nor is it becoming fabulously wealthy by selling copious materials on websites such as Teachers Pay Teachers.

Tonight, September 3, I have the privilege of being on a panel at the University of Indianapolis for their Kappa Delta Pi chapter on the topic of teacherpreneurs.  Karen Van Duyn and I presented at Kappa Delta Pi's Centennial Convocation in Indianapolis on this topic in 2011.  I decided to revisit the livebinder that we used for the presentation, which lent itself to some analysis of how things have changed in the past few years.  What has happened in the educational landscape since we wrote the book? (Other than CCSS) There do seem to be many more opportunities for educators to take on hybrid roles, and organizations of teacher leaders are giving voice to efforts to resist or promote various education reforms.  The exponential explosion of technology has made it easier for educators to network and find professional learning most suited to their needs.
The Teacher Leader Network, affiliated with Barnett Berry and the Center for Teaching Quality, has now become the CTQ Collaboratory, "a virtual community for connecting, learning, and innovating with teachers to transform education".  All educators can become a part of the Collaboratory, and there are smaller groups, called labs, as well.

What about my fellow Teaching 2030 authors?  Most of us are still doing much the same thing, although some now have advanced degrees, have changed schools, or have published additional books.

Please feel free to add examples of teacherpreneurs and teacher leader organizations in the comments below.