“When do you have the time?”

“And you’re finishing your second Master’s?”

“Is your house ever clean?”

These are some of the (surprised) questions I often hear when I tell people that I started (and am running) an edtech company in my free time. Here are my answers:

Surprisingly, I do have the time.

Also, I’m finishing my Master’s in Education in about one week. It’s awesome.

And sadly, I think the thing that got put by the wayside is vacuuming–my house is really never clean anymore.

Really though, starting DocentEDU has made me a better teacher. And what a great thing–to start my own company to make teaching and learning better for students around the country? In addition, how awesome is it to be able to use that tool in my classroom to make teaching and learning better? That’s my immediate everyday goal. And to boot I’ve gotten to grow pedagogically as a teacher. What a great deal!

It’s been a dream realized that something I’ve been an integral part of is impacting teaching and learning in new and innovative ways in classrooms across the country. I became a teacher for many reasons, but one was to help students learn. Now, with DocentEDU users growing by 40% and users spreading throughout the country, I get to see and hear how my company is helping students learn. And this is even in classrooms that I’ve never been to! Truly that’s a teacher’s dream fulfilled.

On the daily, my goal is to help my students learn better. Being a user of my own product has helped me to do that. The extension makes my blended learning classroom run smoother. I can now personalize lessons quickly and effectively to individual students as well as whole classes. I’ve always brought relevant articles and sites into my classroom, but now DocentEDU allows me to turn those into engaging lessons. I’ve always wanted my classroom to be a social place of reflection, and now DocentEDU allows me to add that to any website and see class discussions in real time. Helping the students right in front of me learn better and easier is so amazing to see on a daily basis.

Lastly, I’ve become a better teacher on a pedagogical level by founding an EdTech company. I have learned so many lessons through working with DocentEDU, and each has grown me pedagogically as a teacher. Firstly, it has really helped me be a living example to my students of what I aspire them to all be: people who follow their dreams and find success. You learn in your teaching classes that it’s important to model. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to take this modeling to the next level. I now model for them what it means to find a passion and follow that passion, even if it’s just on the weekends!

I’ve also grown as a teacher in my ability to learn right along beside my students. I’ve always worked hard to build relationships with my students so that I know what each of them is interested in, and try somehow to incorporate that into my teaching. Since DocentEDU allows me to personalize lessons even more than before, I have been able to build on those relationships with students and learn right along with them and their personal interests. Just this week I’ve read about a Nazi war crimes trial, a radioactive WWII bomber, and about knitting. It’s been amazing using DocentEDU to tailor specific lessons to individual students, and reading what they are interested in has allowed me to learn with them.

There are so many more things I could talk about, but I think brevity is sometimes key in blog posts. Suffice to say, being an Edtech entrepreneur on the side is something that I am so thankful for. I am a better teacher because of my work with DocentEDU.