Teacherpreneurs catching on in California, Part 2

In my last blog post I talked about how excited the conference group was about the teacherpreneur concept. We talked about many different educational leadership roles to take on during our day, while still being able to teach children.

Unfortunately, every silver lining is wrapped up in a dark storm cloud. Even as we dreamed about the roles we would fill, we can also foresaw many pitfalls and hurdles that would be in our way.

Roadblocks and Barriers

Budget, budget, budget! How can we get away from the budget? It seems like every year here in California, hundreds if not thousands of teachers are receiving pink slips because there simply isn’t enough money. Don’t get me started on how there can simply not be enough money to educate our children in the ninth-largest economy in the world; that’s a very different blog post. Suffice it to say that’s the reality that we see.

So how do we establish teacherpreneur roles in our districts or schools without extra money? Who pays for the release time we need to do the leadership jobs?

Well, from where I sit, the question about the budget changes depending on what kind of teacherpreneur role a school or a district might be discussing.

Let’s imagine a role that has a person teaching part time and serving as the principal part time. There’s already money in the budget to pay for two people to do these two different roles. Without spending any extra money, we can imagine two people sharing these two roles. One co-principal teaches in the morning then takes over running the school after lunch. The other co-principal leads the school in the morning, then teaches in the afternoon.

As another example, let’s look at an instructional coach. This is one of the popular roles shared by my workshop participants. Districts already pay for teachers on special assignment or for outside consultants to serve as teacher coaches and curriculum developers. Often, because they’re hiring outside experts as consultants, districts pay a lot more for these people than they do for even the most expensive teachers. Rethinking these positions not only could allow teachers to hold these roles, but also might even save the district money.

Finally, let’s imagine a teacher who spends part of her career working on education policy. Again, the money is already there. In California, the state government already spent huge amounts of money on outside consultants and educational experts to inform policymakers. We could easily choose to spend some of this money to provide for our state’s best educational experts, our classroom teachers, to serve in this role.

Back to Money

It is really hard to talk about any new idea in public education without talking about money. It seems like every budget is stretched to the breaking point. More and more teachers are using more and more of their own paychecks to pay for supplies that used to flow freely from school and district funds.

CTQ currently funds a few teacherpreneur roles across the country. Next year they’re hoping to fund a few more.  While these roles are limited to the teachers who are already apart of the Teacher Leaders Network, taking a look at their application might give you some ideas about teacherpreneur roles you might like to see in your own school or district.

What do you think?  Does your school or district need some teacherpreneurs?  Could one of them be you?  If you wanted to grow into an educational leadership role, while keeping a foot firmly planted in your classroom, what role might that be?

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