Teacherpreneurship is a natural and acceptable part of the evolution of education, especially at the postsecondary level and in the digital age
Two of the reasons educators often give for why they became teachers are “helping students” and “learning new things” (Vaux. R. 1999-2013).
In fact, research has shown that professors really do care about students having a successful edventure. These two desires go hand in hand as dedicated faculty work hard to learn more ways to meet students’ needs as well as pursuing their own passion for learning.
In fact, learning along with students, among all of the new opportunities provided especially by e-learning today makes the Digital Age the best time to become a educator. Faculty can choose to instruct a variety of course types online (e.g., traditional or MOOCs), work as instructional design experts, lead innovative new collaborations in education between the government, private, and/or public sectors, create edtech such as learning apps, and other such activities. The options online seem endless, and yes, a teacher could even return to a traditional face-to-face classroom.
Many of us in education have so embraced these opportunities to serve our students and our need for lifelong learning that recently the terms “teacherpreneur” or “edupreneur” were coined to describe us. As education blogger Jennifer Funk explains, these are faculty who are dedicated, knowledgeable, innovative, and driven by “a generosity of spirit” (November 21, 2012). Teacherpreneurs have one foot firmly grounded in instruction as they share their expertise beyond the confines of the traditional brick and mortar institution.
All of this is truly exciting except for one weakness: Educators tend to feel guilty for moving through opportunities. Recently, when teacherpreneur, Megan Allen, writing for the Center for Teaching Equality, shared how guilty she felt at seeking out and accepting new roles as an educator, I could empathize (14 July 2013). I vividly remember the time I left my first full-time teaching position at an inner city high school after eight years of innovative instruction for a new opportunity.
My students created a giant goodbye card. Amid the colorful well wishes one student wrote in plain pencil: “I hate you for leaving us.” For a few minutes, I hated myself, too, and wondered if I had made the right decision to move on. However, for teacherpreneurs, such as Megan Allen and me, moving on is the right path.
(Next page: 5 reasons to embrace adventure)