Entrepreneurship – what they won’t tell you

I gave much thought about what I should write at the end of the year. I asked teachers on my new Instagram account for help and, as usual, had many great contributions. Someone told me to write about something that was relevant to me right now and other people suggested writing about what I had done this year. This article will have a bit of both.

It’s December and while I would like this to be a boost of energy for you, but I know it is not going to be the case. I am not happy. Actually, I feel drained. I wish I could sleep for 10 years. Then I realize this would be called a coma and I feel guilty for wanting to sleep that long. Professionally, I had a great year, so why don’t I feel grateful? I am supposed to feel grateful, but all I want is a nap.

Miller&Wiltse (1979:375) stated that ‘teaching may cause a teacher to feel the strain of being perfect all the time’. It seems not much has changed since that study was published. While I may not feel the need to be perfect, I do feel a need to be able to handle it all. The issue is that we, language teachers, especially those who are self-employed, have a lot to handle. We all hear about the consequences of long hours preparing lessons, marking assignments, giving feedback, having little time for meals because we need to commute and what it causes: burnout. What we do not hear about is the teacher who, on top of that, has to worry about contracts, payment orders and marketing. Hi, I am T. Veigga and I am a teacherpreneur.

Moorhead (1951:257) claimed that the teacher with good mental health:

‘gets along well with people. (…) These teachers expect the best of people, and are walking, talking reasons why the best is pulled out of other people. They have self-confidence, not bombastic boasting but a quiet self-assurance that gives confidence to other people. They not only can reach decisions and carry them out but can help those around them to have more mature reactions.’

 

As much as it is important to consider the dates of these studies, society expects a lot from teachers and many still believe in the romanticized belief that teaching is a mission. Add that pressure to the joy you have to feel because you do not have a boss and decided not to work on Saturdays. You are an entrepreneur and that is supposed to feel awesome.

With the recent changes in Brazilian labour laws, more and more people wonder whether they should take a leap of faith and start a business. Many so-called experts are ready to make money on the glamourous illusion working solo has become.

This short article is not meant to be a rant and discourage you from pursuing your teaching business. I could not imagine myself leading a different life and I will continue to work more independently for the time being. What this is supposed to be is a hug to those feeling guilty because they cannot stand thinking about the best time to post something on social media anymore. Those who want to die every time a student cancels a class. Those whose notepads are filled with scrawled calculations. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not alone. I wish you happy holidays and that you finally have time for your rightly earned naps.

 

References:

Miller, F & Wiltse, Jan. (1979). Mental Health and the Teacher. Journal of School Health. 49. . 10.1111/j.1746-1561.1979.tb08096.x.

 

Moorhead, J. (1951), The Teacher and Mental Health in the Classroom. Journal of School Health, 21: 255–261. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.1951.tb07535.x

 

Thiago Veigga

T. Veigga is a teacher, teacher trainer and materials designer based in Rio. He holds a post-graduate degree in Media-Education (PUC-Rio) and has worked in the ELT industry for over 14 years. His interests include teacher education, entrepreneurship and pronunciation instruction. He blogs at https://tveigga.wordpress.com and hosts the web show ELT TV.

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