By Tim Lakey, St. Louis Entrepreneurship Teacher
I started teaching entrepreneurship classes a few years ago. While preparing for my lessons I ran across an organization called NFTE. The group seemed to be a great source of information for any entrepreneurship teacher. The only problem was that there was no NFTE support in the St. Louis area. So I found other sources to help me teach my classes.
A couple of months ago one of the administrators in my district approached me about taking a NFTE training course. That sounded great to me so I accepted the offer. We were to start training toward the end of the first semester so that we could implement the NFTE curriculum for second semester classes.
Training started on a Monday and would go through Thursday. The instructors informed us that we would be learning the curriculum in much the same way that we would end up teaching it. This meant that we would first be given an activity which would introduce new concepts we would be learning. We would be given clear, concise instruction on how to do the activity. After we completed the activity we would then reflect on what we just did. Then there would be a guided lesson where the NFTE materials would be taught. The fourth part of each section would then be an assessment as well as the connection of what we just learned to a business plan that we would be preparing.
During the first day I was very excited to learn that I have a lot in common with the founder of NFTE, Steve Mariotti. I came out of the business world to become a teacher just as Mr. Mariotti did. While Mr. Mariotti worked for the Ford Motor Company, I worked at General Motors. While Mr. Mariotti was a financial analyst at Ford, I worked on the assembly line at General Motors. But I was a financial analyst at Emerson Electric, working my way up to Manager of Budgets and Financial Analysis for the White-Rodgers division of Emerson. I agree with Steve that “Entrepreneurship education connects learning to the real world.”
The four days of training went very well. There were about ten others in the classes. We got a real feel of how the classes I will be teaching second semester will go. Each activity that the students start with will give them hands on experience on a topic before they discuss the topic. This will make each topic very real to them. After they are introduced to the topic they will be given a chance to learn more about it before they implement it into their business plan. I believe that the students will stay connected to what they are learning because they will be involved from the beginning. I am really looking forward to teaching the NFTE curriculum in both by Entrepreneurship, as well as my Sports and Entertainment Marketing classes next semester.
Group shot of St. Louis teachers at NFTE training
Check out this video to learn more about NFTE's work in St. Louis: