High school is a time when students start discovering more about themselves and get a better sense of who they are and what they eventually want to become when they grow up. For most kids, this will be a choice of professions such as being a doctor, an engineer, a teacher, etc. Even when they get to college, majors and degrees in higher education are structured in such a way that students only get to study the field where they will eventually be practicing their professions. This is the reason why there aren’t loads of people who are actually venturing into an entrepreneurial route growing up.
As early as high school, teachers, educators, and other mentors can already play an important part in making sure that students are given chances for their entrepreneurial skills and talents to be honed. This can include joining workshops and seminars, introducing them to role models who are entrepreneurs themselves or giving them resources such as books, videos and other materials that they can learn from. In this article from the Gallup Center, Tim Peterson, a Ph.D. professor of management at the North Dakota State University’s College of Business, reinforces that people starting from the age of a high school in their journey to entrepreneurship can have a positive long-run effect on the economy.
If you are a teacher who thinks that some of your students can have that entrepreneurial drive which they can potentially develop in the future, you might think of ways to encourage it. The role that teachers play in a child’s development cannot be underscored enough as children are more easily influenced by those whom they see as mentors and role models, and the most important figures are their teachers. As frequently discussed in the nature-vs-nurture debate, students who incline towards business (nature) might only need some encouragement and prodding (nurture) from the people around them to hone their skills.
As a teacher, you might think of what are the ways and steps you can take to support children who may have entrepreneurial dreams as well as even just recognizing them in the first place.
Below are just some tips and things that you can do and not do to spot and hone the entrepreneurial skills in your students.
· Introduce them to role models
Subjects in schools can teach about famous doctors, scientists, politicians and other professionals, but teens might not have any idea of good entrepreneur role models while they are young since business subjects are not usually taught to students up until they go to college. This not only gives them an idea that they have other options as for their career and professional life when they grow up but gives them the capacity to be more creative and innovative in the chosen profession.
· Encourage them to start with small projects
As a teacher, you can encourage them to develop their entrepreneurial skills early by asking them to do small and easy projects they can do at home or in school. Whether it’s creating something that they can sell to fellow kids or a project or service that they have been mulling about, give your honest feedback about how they can make the starter project work so that they will see what entrepreneurship is like.
· Reinforce their personal strengths
Children are usually born with different skills and talents, and sometimes the school system can be a bit limiting when it comes to spotting these talents that might not necessarily be noticed in a traditional classroom-based type of learning and instruction. As a teacher, you can be a little bit more attentive to details to see and notice that some students exhibit a little bit more creativity and innovation when it comes to their assignments and projects.
· Organize school or class fairs
Although this is already being done in most schools, you can take the idea of school fairs up a notch by branding it as some sort of high-school startup fair, similar to what is being done in real-life startup conventions. Students can create new products and services and be able to test the public’s reception to their business idea even at a small scale.
· Limit their options for higher education
It is during high school that students usually get ready for their college applications in anticipation. Although there is no single degree for entrepreneurship as many pioneers come from different fields of education and end up becoming business and company owners due to the innovative products and services they have created.
· Comparing them to other students
As mentioned previously, kids have their skills and aptitudes and have different areas they naturally excel at. This is why when schools assign standardized tests and projects, some students may not perform well in subjects and programs which they are not naturally excellent or have the aptitude for like other children. The worst you can do is to compare their lackluster performance to that of their peers, as this can greatly deflate the student’s morale. Instead of doing this, teachers should encourage their students to work on areas and subjects that they might have difficulty in like suggesting to their parents to get a tutor.
· Ignoring new ways of teaching
While traditional teaching methods are still relevant in today’s world, there are now a lot of ways that teachers, educators, and schools can keep up with the changing times when it comes to education. This includes having a good mix of technology, increased interaction and real-life and practical applications to subjects taught, on top of the traditional schooling system.
We are living in a world where the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship are much more wider than ever before. Children are most impressionable at a young age, and the things they have learned and experienced when they are young will stay with them until they grow old.
There are many resources available online for entrepreneurship, but you might have to look a little deeper for ones that specifically discuss developing and honing them in young children. In the end, a good level of support and encouragement will go a long way in the student’s future success as a budding entrepreneur.