Today, we finished an amazing two day training from the National Foundation for the Teaching of Entrepreneurship (NFTE). NFTE is one of the partners that North Rowan High School has partnered with to #changetheequation for our students. As a classically trained chemist and science educator, I could not have been more removed from all my training in education. However, I firmly believe that entrepreneurship is an amazing opportunity for students to change their trajectory. As someone who grew up in rural Appalachia, I understand the challenges associated with living in poverty. Having taught in an inner city school and worked with various populations of students in London and Cincinnati, I am really aware of the experiences and challenges experienced by students living in urban poverty. I understand the challenges experienced by immigrant children as their families seek a better life in the United States. When I first moved to Salisbury, I recall driving through some of the more economically distressed areas and noticing the "Fresh Fish Sandwich / Fish Fry" signs that seemed to pop up every weekend. As I enjoyed the delicious fish sandwiches, I recall thinking of the creative genius at work here. The signs advertising the fish fry were handmade and very original. While some may have described them as crude, they were highly effective because they attracted the attention of individuals passing by. The product being sold was one that many individuals wanted and I suspect that the entrepreneurs did quite well judging from the crowds of people lined up. With the various experiences I have from working with students in poverty and having grown up in poverty myself, I know full well how industrious individuals can be. Without the ability to simply go and buy a "new one," you figure out how to make something work even when it is broken. I have long thought that many individuals living in poverty often have amazingly high creativity and are very innovative. This often occurs due to necessity as much as anything else. But it is precisely these skills of creativity and innovation that will help many students to have successful lives in our new economy. As I reflect on what I have learned from the NFTE training over the past two days, I am even firmly convinced that teaching entrepreneurship is a necessary life skill for our students. Students will learn many new ways to consider various products and services while carving out specific niches. With this creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship comes a stronger financial foundation for our students. For students who are nimble enough to adapt and pivot, they will be able to create products or services that people never realized they needed or wanted. I am excited about implementing entrepreneurship into our work at North Rowan as we change the trajectory and lives of our students. It is my belief that these skills will help our students to experience a more fulfilling life. A big thank you to our awesome trainer and partner Diahann from NFTE.
The ideas shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent my employers, associations, or organizations. These thoughts are entirely my own.