Online teacherpreneurship: shedding light on the practice, the individuals who pursue it, and the impacts they experience
Online teacherpreneurs are current and former PreK-12 teachers who share their original classroom resources in online marketplaces where teachers download them for a small fee. Online teacherpreneurs’ resources are becoming prolific in classrooms today. Meanwhile, online teacherpreneurs stand to gain financially and professionally. This exploratory study drew on conceptual frameworks from entrepreneurship and teacher leadership to describe the practice of online teacherpreneurship in terms of the characteristics of the people who participate, the school environments in which they work, and the possible impacts they experience. An exploratory sequential mixed methods design was used. In phase one, 10 semi-structured interviews were conducted with online teacherpreneurs who ranked in the top 1% of sellers on TeachersPayTeachers.com for profits earned. In phase two, the results of the interviews were used to develop a quantitative survey, which was distributed to an international sample of 412 TeachersPayTeachers.com sellers with various levels of experience and sales success. Results from both phases were analyzed separately and together, indicating that online teacherpreneurs viewed themselves as helpful, hard-working, creative, and organized. While some online teacherpreneurs worked in supportive school environments, others worked in unsupportive or ambivalent schools. Most online teacherpreneurs kept their online business and classroom teaching separate. They reported that online teacherpreneurship involved a variety of practices including creating educational resources, collaborating with teachers, collaborating with fellow teacherpreneurs, and engaging in entrepreneurial endeavors such as marketing. They also believed they experienced impacts including improvements to teaching practice, teacher leadership opportunities, and some professional stressors. Implications for online teacherpreneurs and other stakeholders including teachers, school and district leaders, and teacher educators are considered.