If you’re a boomer over 55 you’ve probably been a schoolteacher. I was born in 1950 when women had three career choices. You could be a school teacher, a secretary or a nurse. I chose to be a teacher knowing that I wouldn’t be one forever. From university days on, I always wanted to have my own business. Little did I know that teaching would give me the skills I’d use as a business owner. I taught for 8 years from 1972 to 1980 and in the summer of 1978 I taught how to use computers in the classroom as a course BEFORE you needed credentials to teach it. Nancy Murray a Superintendent in the Windsor Separate School Board took a risk. I had 40 teachers in my class that summer.That was the beginning of my self employment journey. I’d started.
Being a teacher is one of the best things you can do. Many of us have been teachers and most don’t know that teaching prepares you well to become an entrepreneur who starts and runs your own business. Here are some of the many skills that teaching gave us.
- being “teachable” and therefore learning what you need to know through professional development.
- short term and long term planning. (Do teachers still create “day plans” and “weekly plans?)
- running a large group. When I started in 1972 I had 42 students in my first year. Did that ever prepare me!
- risk taking
- goal setting. You set goals not only for yourself each year but especially if you taught special education as I did, you set goals for each individual student as well.
- speaking to a group. You know how to speak to a group and if you had the courage you also spoke to larger groups of your peers.
- how people learn (3 modalities). As a teacher it was automatic for you to be taught and thus to know this but those who didn’t teach learned it later — if they were lucky
- how to research offline and online
- “reading, writing and of course arithmetic”
- creativity. You had to “make do with what you had” and therefore if you didn’t have something you used your creativity to make what you needed from what you had.
- knowing the needs of your students/ clients
… and of course …
- being your own boss
I could go on and on. Do you see how as a teacher you have the skills needed as a business owner. What you don’t know yet is how to start a business but you know how to learn, don’t you? Well that’s all you need. I and most entrepreneurs didn’t take courses on how to start a business. They (and I) learned what we needed as we went along by trial and error. Sure we made mistakes. Didn’t your students when they were learning? We read books, took classes, attended conferences and hired coaches.
Take a risk and start your own business. Ask for help when you need it. And keep learning. That’s what keeps us young!
Just do it as the Nike slogan says. What else would you add to this list?