Teacherpreneur Training 101

Jennifer is a third grade teacher.  She loves working with her students and the best part of her career is when she sees the light go on for a child.  The work is hard:  She puts in long hours before and after school, constantly dealing with government mandates that have less to do with teaching and more to do with testing, and Jennifer even has a couple parents who are a little more needy than others.

What is a teacherpreneur and why might you be interested in learning more about becoming one? Stop at this blog post to find out more! Happy creating!

While she loves what she does and knows that all the time is worth it, Jennifer’s own family goes without at times.  Her son longs to play guitar, but those lessons aren’t cheap.  Her daughter has been begging for a name brand doll complete with outfits for her upcoming birthday.  She also knows her husband would love nothing more than to take a family vacation to the California coast this summer, which is a long way from northern Ohio.

Even while being a part of a dual income family, extras aren’t always easy to come by.  Now, if a family is trying to get by on JUST a teacher’s salary, things become even more serious.  Trying to pay for housing, insurance, food, utilities, and those never-ending student loans leaves little to nothing left at the end of the month.

I get it.  I have been there myself.  In fact, 15 years ago I worked as a substitute teacher almost every day of the school year, begging teachers in the building to take personal days so I could have the work, while raising my daughter on my own, living with a friend of the family at a reduced rent, and yet I still had to file for bankruptcy after the creditors kept calling and calling because I just couldn’t keep up.  Imagine how it felt during school breaks when I knew I wasn’t getting paid unless I was physically in a classroom.  Grabbing a part-time job for 2 weeks isn’t option when applying for jobs.  Working nights and not coming out ahead after paying for a babysitter while I am working is also not smart.  It is not a fun place to be when you never sleep due to money stress.

This was a tough time for me, emotionally and financially.  I would have given anything to be Jennifer.  We both had our own struggles.

If you can relate to either of these stories, then you really need to keep reading because I might have a solution to help.  I know if I had known what I know now back then, I would have saved a lot of sleepless nights.  If I can help even one person do the same, then I have served a greater purpose in the world.  No teacher should wonder how their rent will be paid this month.

What is a Teacherpreneur?

There is probably an official definition out there somewhere, but in my own words:  “A teacherpreneur is someone who creates resources that make other teachers’ lives easier.”  That could be a professional development course, or a lesson plan, or fun classroom crafting activity.  The type of resource might be a digital download or a personalized sign that is shipped to a physical address.  No matter what the medium is, all resources are made FOR those who work in an educational setting and/or their classrooms or students.

Isn’t it part of my job to do these things anyway?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  Perhaps a teacherpreneur is a Kindergarten teacher, but he or she also has a background and a love for music education.  That teacherpreneur might choose to create music-related resources for specials teachers.

Should you ever create an item just to share or sell during your contract hours?  Never.  That wouldn’t be fair to your employer or very ethical either.  Teachrpreneurs typically “work” during the evening or on weekends after their regular career workday ends.

With that said, if you do create something in your own time that could be used in your own classroom or shared freely amongst your colleagues, then in my opinion, you should use it with your own students if it will benefit their understanding of the curriculum.

What does a teacherpreneur do on a daily basis?

Teacherpreneurs wear a variety of hats, just like teachers who are masters at being flexible in the different roles they play:

  • Original content creator
  • Social media manager
  • Collaborator with other teacherpreneurs
  • Marketing guru
  • Blog writer
  • Image designer
  • And more…

Isn’t it easier to just go find a part-time job at the mall?

It depends on your own situation.  If you don’t have to pay a babysitter, or care about heading out in the weather, or maybe you love the store discount (which might defeat the purpose of the extra money), then that could be a great choice for you!

Also, if you don’t enjoy working from home on your sofa in your PJs on the computer, then the mall is your best bet.  {Just for the record, I had a career in retail management for 10+ years before becoming a teacher, so I am definitely not knocking those who work in a mall – lol!}

What about teachers profiting from one another?

This is the million dollar question.  And people have varying opinions on this topic.  While I am not one for heated debates, this is my take:

School districts and individual teachers will always need updated curriculum and professional development resources.  Most have budgets to do so.   Why spend the money only with textbook publishers?  As long as the process takes to get textbooks printed, some of the information could already be outdated.  With teacher-created resources, the information is easily updated when needed.

Now, if you feel strongly about not selling to other teachers, then don’t.  I can tell you from my own personal policy:  If I work with someone in real life, they get my materials for free if they ask.  They are friends.  Of course I share freely.

I do not consider selling my resources to other teachers in other districts or around the world as taking advantage of something that should be shared at no cost.  If a teacherpreneur spends his or her own time (and in many cases their own personal funds when buying licensed clip art, fonts, and more), then to me it is no different than creating a piece of art.   I would never expect any other small business owner or artist to give me a copy of his or her work free of charge just because we work in the same field.  Especially when that resource took time away from the creator’s own friends and family to create it.  Time is a commodity.

Teacherpreneurs are helping teachers by providing resources and training which make teachers’ lives easier.  I strongly feel the creator should be compensated for it.

Others are free to feel differently of course.  Some teacher sellers may only sell to school districts.  Others may choose to create and only share free materials.  The best part of being a teacherpreneur?  YOU get to choose.  No administrator or government mandates telling you how to do your job.

Happy creating and making a difference for your family and classrooms around the world,

~Charity
Charity Preston Bio Pic

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