Teacher = Entrepreneur?
On the face of it, teachers are rarely viewed as entrepreneurs. Particularly when, like me, the educator experience was school, then university, then straight into teaching. However, when assessing modern entrepreneurship from the perspective of the EntreComp Framework, I realise that I have used and developed entrepreneurial skills throughout my career, and continue to do so. A modern entrepreneur is not only someone who sets up a business, but someone who is continually demonstrating innovation, creativity and a myriad of other skills that contribute to society, no matter whether they work in the business, public or social sphere.
The EntreComp Framework
So when have I been entrepreneurial?
Well, just to use three very obvious, generic school-based examples: whenever I plan lessons, I have to be creative, mobilise resources and take the initiative; navigating classes successfully through the GCSE and A-Level curriculums takes a huge amount of motivation and perseverance, mobilises others and requires a clear and focused vision; dealing with young people on a daily basis requires me to cope with ambiguity, uncertainty and risk, value ideas and work with others. And of course teaching is a continuous cycle of learning through experience. A great many other careers require similar entrepreneurial skills.
More personally, whenever I have sought a promotion or to change schools, I have needed to spot opportunities, be self-aware and confident in my abilities to spring into action. Developing new curriculums, managing staff, planning overseas visits, analyzing data, budgeting for a department and dealing with all the various stakeholders involved in education have demanded the full array of entrepreneurial skills. In fact, teaching agencies are missing a trick – teaching as a career should be advertised in business and entrepreneurial magazines!
In my current role as Erasmus+ Project manager, my entrepreneurialism is absolutely firing on all cylinders. Writing project bids, dealing with international partners, managing a complicated budget, developing new relationships with external stakeholders, thinking ethically and sustainably, and all the while trying to get an international careers award off the ground, has been a steep learning experience. I have realized that moving away from my safe space of the classroom into the real world is challenging for me, but I am embracing it and invoking even more of my entrepreneurial spirit.
Ultimately, what the EntreComp Certificate intends to showcase to young people – that just about any activity can be viewed as an entrepreneurial enterprise – is exactly what I have been putting into practice. The Certificate will require young people to reflect on how they have experienced each entrepreneurial competency through their school and extra-curricular activities. Thus they will be equipped with knowledge and experience of all fifteen EntreComp skills as they go out into the world. They will be active citizens. They will be entrepreneurs. They will be ready for anything!
Some examples of activities to prove entrepreneurial competencies
National Citizenship Service, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Cadet forces, Future Learn courses, volunteering, fundraising, environmental action, First Aid course, Park Run, sport, music, drama, business start-ups, Prince’s Trust courses, Young Enterprise, language exchanges, work experience, school trips, university/apprenticeship/job applications, part-time job, local initiatives, local action groups, mentoring others, university taster days, overseas challenges, outward bound courses, national competitions, school leadership . . .
The ultimate aim of the Certificate is to create a generation of young people who recognise that modern entrepreneurship spans and links the business, public and social spheres.
The EntreComp Certificate: Adding Value to Society.