A Close-Up: “Teacherpreneurs” and Education in SK

2201273238_58fdf6fb4e_o mikecogh via Compfight cc

In education, today, many teachers experience burnout and leave teaching within the first five years. I’ve heard this many times from the education classes that I’ve taken. I remember one class in particular when one professor looked at us – a class of about 25 – and said that, odds are, half of us will quit teaching within the first five years. This rattled me, especially because that was in my first year. Now, however, I am confident that I’ll be a lifetime teacher; I love being in the classroom and I can’t imagine any circumstances that would lead me to want to quit. And although I completely understand the factors that go into teachers experiencing burnout, there are many teachers who find it in themselves to overcome these and become great educators. Reading this article, I’ve realized that there is a certain term for these teachers: teacherpreneur.

The concept behind being an entrepreneur is, of course, driving your own success and overcoming obstacles to guarantee prosperity. When you think of being a “teacher” and being an “entrepreneur,” then, do the two really seem so different? Teacherpreneurs think outside of the box and make their lessons innovative. They look at each one of their students and think, “What can I do for them to make them all successful?” They are not those who simply stand in front of the classroom droning on about the material; they look at each lesson like a live performance, and therefore try to make that performance as engaging and as exciting for the students as possible.

One point that I particularly agreed with in this article was the fact that there is differentiation for students, yet the same is rarely talked about for teachers. Why not? Different skills and talents within the teacher body should be welcomed among school divisions as they will allow for even more teachers to connect with their students. Not only this, but if teachers are able to develop their already existing professional skills – the article, for example, states teachers excelling in grant writing, curriculum writing and web design – then won’t allowing teachers to expand on these further throughout the school year help the school as a whole? Or, like the article states, maybe the school division should let the teacher take a year off school or make them temporary part time so that these teachers are able to develop these skills. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? The teachers are looking to make themselves better and are showing initiative to try to provide the best for their students. By doing so, it is my belief that school culture would improve as the teachers would have better tools to ensure student development.

The government is always looking for ways to achieve student success. Why not invest more in the teachers? After all, teachers are the ones who spend the most time with the students, the ones who know their needs, the ones who want to see them improve. Yet, it seems like school divisions are always the ones who don’t get the funding they need from the government. As you can see here, provincial funding for education in Saskatchewan is falling short in many school divisions. Even when the oil prices were high and SK’s economy was thriving, there was not much funding for education; many of the schools’ infrastructure is crumbling. As a result, you’ll see the leader of the NDP, Cam Broten, advocating for more funds for education. Of course, that’s just politics; one leader will always point out the other’s flaws, trying to out-do him or her. I’m not trying to make any political statements here; all I’m saying is that it seems that education is always at the bottom of the list priority-wise in many provinces. You don’t see health care getting the same treatment. And although it is true that hospitals save lives, education also cultivates the minds that become doctors and nurses. Do you see the problem here? It’s not just Saskatchewan, either; you may recall the prolonged teachers’ strike in BC that happened last year. A recurrent trend, it seems, is the government’s unwillingness to invest in education, to invest in our young people. Why do you think this is? Because as of right now, I don’t have the answer.

Anyway, this was by no means intended to be a political post. But I guess it kind of turned out that way, didn’t it? I am only twenty years old; I really have no experience in politics as I’ve only gotten interested in them in the last couple of years. I haven’t even voted yet; there hasn’t been an election since I turned 18. But I do think that education should be just as much as priority for the government as oil and gas and healthcare. Is that too much to ask? Do people not see the value in investing in teachers, in investing in schools?

Teachers are important. Teachers are professionals. We deserve respect. Maybe that’s part of the reason why it seems that governments aren’t willing to invest in education; they don’t realize how much work goes into being a teacher. Many people think the same thing; “teachers are glorified babysitters,” they say. How can we change this? I think teachers turning into teacherpreneurs would be a good start. Show people how great teachers really are, how much skill, time, and effort is involved in being a teacher. Give their child the best education possible, show them WHY we deserve respect. And although we shouldn’t have to be pressed to such lengths (it should be obvious why teachers are important), it is nonetheless important that we do so.

Go to this website and learn why we need teacherpreneurs in our schools. And be sure to follow the news, especially as the provincial election approaches, to see how the leaders approach the education debate. As pre-service teachers, we have to learn to be informed and conscientious about these things. We are the next generation of teachers and it is therefore our job to ensure that education in this province gets the attention it needs.

As always, your comments are welcome.

 

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