Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Teachers are Good Entrepreneurs.

This idea has been melding for a while.  Upon getting into Twitter and reading the book Switch years ago I've been periscope up for successful programs and people because I will steal like an artist.  Let's be honest that's where the real Art and Science of Teaching comes into play.  Marzano your chapters have great questions, but I could answer all of them by saying "I will steal ideas from others".  Every classroom/business/establishment that I go into I am thinking 'what in here is going to make my classroom/school/district better?'  When you can look at the world around you (not necessarily your school) and say 'yeah I need more of that in my classroom'  AND THEN YOU GO MAKE IT HAPPEN, (because who cares about the idea if it doesn't hit the classroom floor with real kids...execute) Then you are an entrepreneurial teacher.  

Traits of a good entrepreneur and how they transfer to good teaching.  Traits are taken from this random Forbes article which is probably not the best source...but i'm going for it.

1. Resiliency. Will you stay the course when Johnny-needs-attention is out to get attention in all the wrong ways?  Will you maintain learning in your classroom even when adults outside of your classroom seemed to have lost their minds?  You get to have your classroom and you get to decide what goes on in those four walls.

2. Focus.  What is really important?  What are the things that only you can do?  Put time and attention on those things.  There are a LOT of things throughout the day that put up billboards for your attention.  Decide early in the day what you will focus on and what has to be done.  Then, get after it.

3.  Invest for the long-term.  This is true in relationships.  You're not going to win every student in your class every day all day.  Be patient, care about them enough to correct them, believe in the best version of them.  This is also true in your strategies.  Try something new in class but don't give up on it when the wireless didn't work or the transition sucked.  Failure happens.  Learn, be patient, and make it better next class.  

4.  Find and manage people.  I don't pick my students, they appear.  I do pick who I am going to be influenced by today and how much they are going to influence me.  Find those people carefully.  Manage the smaller people in your classroom.  Differentiate the amount of structure you put in place for them.  Communicate direction clearly.  Give feedback on what is important.  Use technology tools when they make sense. 

5.  Sell.  Everyone is in sales.  Don't believe me?  Go read, Dan Pink, To Sell is Human. 

Ever tried to convince a 13 year old that something is important, or get everyone pumped for the last project of the year?  You are selling.  

Ever tried to write a grant and convey your idea as innovative?  You are selling.  Get better at storytelling and you'll get better at selling.  Good teachers are master sellers.

6. Learn.  Do you really think you are the best teacher right now?  Do you really think there are teachers in your building you can't learn nothing from?  Excuse me but, your pride is showing and it is so massive that it's getting in the way of your learning. Bummer.  Make a choice to learn more, and learn faster.  If you choose not to learn you will be the chump in 10 years who is still claiming their unchanged PowerPoint as "using tech in the classroom."  This is malpractice... 

7. Self-reflection. Are you your toughest critic?  If not, find someone who is and take time to look back and improve so you can look forward.  If you are always spinning, you are missing this.  Not reflecting will waste the failures, and poorly capitalize on wins.

8. Self-reliance:  "Well I would love to use that tool to teach I just haven't recieved PD on it... "   seriously?  "received it"?  Like in a present under the Christmas Tree? I am sad for those people.  Did you need PD on using Facebook?  Did you need PD on playing  You will learn what you want to learn, and make time for what you want to make time for.  If you want to learn from the best teachers DO IT.  We get to teach in an age where you can just go do that.  Start following them on Twitter, go listen to their podcasts, better yet contact them yourself and set up a time to talk.  They are putting their stuff out there for you to steal and use tomorrow.  Own it, re-mix it, and make it happen for your kids in your classroom.  No one else will.

GRIT- The all encompassing entrepreneurial characteristic these students had to demonstrate to get their project to work

What entrepreneurial leaders do I dig on right now?  People like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Dave Ramsey.  Oh, and check out the Ramsey EntreLeadership Podcast, so much learning there. 

Good teachers are good entrepreneurs.  


  1. Wonderful text. Every teacher should read , because we need more entrepreneurs teachers for the classroom .

    1. Absolutely Marcia! Risk, Fail, Adjust, Repeat, the best teachers I know do this without even thinking about it. Thanks for the comment.