The Edupreneur: A documentary by Dr. Will Deyamport
Dr. Will Deyamport, educator, podcaster, innovator. I am thankful to have gotten to know Dr. Will by becoming a more connected educator and joining Edumatch, created by Dr. Sarah Thomas. I joined Edumatch a few years ago and started to connect with educators from around the world, opening up many opportunities for learning and growing together. Through Edumatch and the power of social media, educators have joined together to share knowledge, to support one another and become part of a larger educator community, far beyond a typical PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network), and instead became a PLF. A family of connected educators.
Looking back to when I first became involved with Edumatch, I never imagined how many positive experiences and how much of an impact on my life that my involvement with Edumatch would have. And more importantly, the impact on the lives of the students that I’m privileged to teach and the educators with whom I’m honored to be connected.
Enter Dr. Will
One of those educators is Dr. Will. Our first real conversation was two years ago when he invited me to be a guest on his podcast, the Dr. Will show. I didn’t think that I had a story to tell. What could I possibly share? But when you talk with Dr. Will, you know that your voice matters, that he hears you and is truly listening to what you are saying. Why? Because his motivation and passion are for sharing your story and your words with others who need to hear and can learn from them.
Flash forward to last summer, a hectic schedule at ISTE 2018 in Chicago, where I had a brief moment to get a picture with Dr. Will and some other Edumatch friends. I thought that might be the only time we would have to catch up, however, as luck would have it, we ended up attending the same social gathering that Tuesday night. I took a seat next to Dr. Will. We spent a few hours talking about podcasts, blogging, conferences, writing books, all things education and I remember telling him that I thought that he should write a chapter for “Snapshot in Education 2018.” I’m pretty sure I recall him saying he “didn’t know what he would write about.” I suggested podcasting. He was so passionate about podcasts and I admired the work that he did. I thought that his experience could really help a lot of people who were thinking of starting their own podcast or for setting one up for use with students.
Dr. Will has found his niche
Our conversation was one of the highlights of the conference. Time to slow down and just enjoy that time to connect. Did he take my advice? I’d like to say that he did, but I know he had others guiding him and sharing their ideas as well. When he was added to the Edumatch authors group on Voxer, I thought he took my advice to write about podcasting. But what he has done instead is absolutely a groundbreaking and phenomenal work of genius. Having seen the trailer for “The Edupreneur” a few weeks back, I was immediately drawn in and eager to see the full documentary.
Dr. Will has produced a documentary, focused on the lives and transformation of eight educators into “Edupreneurs.” With the help of Sarah Thomas, he has produced something very unique, unlike anything else that I have seen. We are taken on a journey as we learn about the lives of eight educators with different roles, experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints on what it means to be an Edupreneur. Each educator openly shares their story, the good and the bad, and what it took for them to get them to where they are today: making an impact in the lives of educators around the world.
We only see who they are now, what they are doing in education and don’t often know their stories, their struggles, challenges, or frustrations. All the things that we experience in our everyday lives and probably don’t talk about it. When we see educators like these, we might think or assume that success came easily for them and aspire to achieve the same success for ourselves. However, as you will hear from their stories and see as they tell them, it wasn’t and isn’t always an easy road to follow. Get it here.
The documentary is broken into sections where each Edupreneur shares their backgrounds, offers advice, and more about who they are and what they believe in. These are just a few of my takeaways, which have led me to reflect, to plan and to aspire to do more, because our students deserve it.
Edupreneurs: Words of impact, the secret sauce, and some other advice
Angela: When teaching preschool students, she told them they have a moral obligation to share knowledge. “Can’t hold in what we have been gifted with.” Be prepared, ALWAYS bring your A game! Self-awareness is not self-esteem, it is the simultaneous ability to exist within and outside of yourself. PURSUE SIGNIFICANCE, not SUCCESS.
“For a passionate person, the idea of quitting does not exist.”
Robyn: We need to create a business in the education space. Articulate the transformation you are going to provide. Be relevant, develop a model. Let people know they can trust you.
Eric: Twitter was a catalyst to becoming an Edupreneur, access to ideas that made a change. Always be reflective on how can you get better, how can we evolve in a way that aligns with realities.
“Don’t chase Perfection, chase Growth.”
“We don’t set out to make a profit, we set out to make a difference.”
Catlin: “People were hungry for resources.” There was a demand in the edtech space. Students needed support to engage in academic conversation. Be intentional about what you do. If you are passionate about it, stick with it!
Abbey: Keep it real. Reputation is very important. There is something to learn every day. Keep it real, share experiences. Invest in yourself and don’t be afraid to know your worth.
“Relationships are good for anything.”
Ai Zhang: You have to invest in yourself, keep learning and never stop. Learn with and from people on the journey, especially those who are more successful, because it can be a shortcut to learn from their mistakes and experiences. Education is a service industry. Be vulnerable, show your struggles. Embrace authenticity and storytelling to build community. Be HUMAN.
Jeff Bradbury: It is collaborative, not competitive. Understanding the WHY, build those relationships, take it to the next level. Work in your passion, because if you are not, there is no sustainability. Don’t let people push you around, keep at it, know your passion, “keep your head down, eyes up.”
Tom Murray: Build relationships. It’s not about being liked, you’ve got to bring your A game. Tell stories that people can relate to, show humility, people don’t want the “know it all.”
On Keeping Balance
Ai: If you want to be EduPreneur, there is not a linear work/life balance, it is work/life INTEGRATION.
Robyn: Find ways to optimize life. Protect your life, be INTENTIONAL.
Jeff: You need a system to do what you want.
Tom: Sustainability is bringing your best every day to your day job
Angela: Get ahead by never COMPROMISING what your core is.
On Personal Branding
Ai: Storyteller and disruptor, teach others to embrace Social Media to enhance teaching and learning.
Catlin: Find a platform to push ideas, find your voice online and be consistent.
Eric: Branding is about TELLING not SELLING. Don’t forget WHY you went into education, HOW you make a difference, Have confidence.
Tom: Be relatable, never forget where you came from.
Angela: Litmus test, “If I made an impact on ONE, helped them understand their value, that is FAR more important to me than any outside measure of success.” Living FIERCELY and FULLY, committed to WHO I AM and PROUDLY PRESENT for people in her life.
Angela: Don’t compare yourself to other people. What do you deliver that NO ONE ELSE can and how do you show up for that role every day?
Ai: Be patient, there is no overnight success, a journey can take time, experience it before offer it, transform internally.
Tom: The grind takes time, give back and mentor.
Robyn: “People don’t buy stuff, they buy transformations.”
Jeff: Find that niche, that you do better than anyone else, be known for one little thing.
So What Makes this Different? What will you learn from hearing their stories?
As educators, we constantly need to be learning and exploring, but we are often short on time or resources. Being able to read books, listen to podcasts or watch webinars, provide us with so much information and of course being connected through social media especially Twitter, enables us to connect and reach out with other educators around the world more than we were ever able to before. It takes us away from the isolation that we can sometimes feel in our space.
But what’s different with this documentary, is by seeing these educators, hearing them tell their story in their own words, feeling their passion, allows you to connect with each one of them. What they share will resonate with you in some way. They openly share so much of who they are, why they are so passionate about education and offer advice and words of impact to inspire other educators to begin the transformation from educator to Edupreneur. It is not always easy to be an educator, to know all the answers, and we’re not experts and we make mistakes. Knowing that everybody experiences this and that it’s a pretty normal thing, definitely helps.
If you want to know the story behind the educators you see on social media and on the conference circuit, and you’ve often wondered how they got to be where they are today, The Edupreneur is exactly what you are looking for. It is brilliantly done, absolutely engaging and will inspire you to begin your own transformation.
Rachelle Dene Poth