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Teacher as Entrepreneur

A quick look at Georgetown Day's Change Leader

By Laura White

In May 2012, Laura graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Political Economy. While at Tulane, Laura brought her Youth Venture project, Swim 4 Success, to New Orleans, LA, and was a founding member of Tulane’s Ashoka U Changemaker Campus team. As a member of the Empathy Initiative, Laura manages the Changemaker Schools network, a group of schools that have given empathy as much priority as math and literacy. Laura is passionate about changemaker education, empathy, and transforming early childhood education.

October 22, 2012

A veteran teacher of Georgetown Day School, Robert “Bobby” Asher is always on the lookout for opportunities to support his students and school. Even before championing Georgetown Day’s Changemaker Schools candidacy, Bobby used his entrepreneurial savvy to combine his passion for Africa with his desire to bring immersive empathy experiences to his students. Together with C. A. Pilling, now the Georgetown Day High School Principal, Bobby arranged for his students to travel to Ethiopia for a service-learning trip. The experience was truly transformative. As one of his former students says:

“After taking Bobby's freshman history class, I saw the world – and my place in it – in a new way...He didn't teach me about Africa; he made it come alive. The continent had previously seemed like an alternate world in which poverty, disease, and war presided; suddenly, it was a place occupied by people with agency to act with the good and evil of which all humans are capable. I was hooked, and I haven't looked back. By engaging us through telling his own anecdotes, playing clips of home-recorded news features he'd accumulated over the years, and having us draw up billion-dollar ‘Gates Foundation’ grant proposals, I learned to think beyond the textbook and question its answers in proactive ways. A year later, I was able to go to Ethiopia with Bobby and build my own relationships with my peers in school there, putting into practice my evolving approach to the world. Now, nine years down the road, I am still building upon those relationships in Ethiopia and staying involved in projects there, [and I’m] in touch with Bobby to joke, catch up, and check-in.”

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However, as the teachers at our Changemaker Schools show, you do not have to organize trips around the world to be an entrepreneurial educator. Next week, we will feature Lake Forest Park Elementary, a Changemaker School in the Seattle area, whose educators have worked with Roots of Empathy to bring innovative empathy programming to students in their classes.

Have you organized an entrepreneurial project with your children or your students?

Let us know, and you too could be featured on Start Empathy!

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Day School