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Fear, Failure, and Business Cards: An Adventure in Growth

As a middle school teacher, I feel relatively normal in my fears about trying new things, but I am daring enough to experiment – especially when it involves going on a new adventure. After all, I work with some of the most hormonal, emotional, volatile, precious, loving, creative, young people every day. So, taking over the EdCorp, VIDA Dreamers, was a new adventure filled with some serious uncertainty. In reflecting over the past two years of guiding students as THEY run THEIR EdCorp, VIDA Dreamers, I can say that my doubts were unfounded. The students are the experts because they are passionate about their business.

As business owners, my students are extraordinarily dependable, and they are the main reason my concerns were unfounded. They work tirelessly to “change the world one button at a time.” Last year alone they donated over $2,000 to provide families with much-needed resources. They studied and researched all the options for how they wanted to help others, and I was proud of the informed choices they had made.

Despite a heart swelling with pride from the pursuit of their passions, I had still failed them. One afternoon, the Dreamers were showcasing their wares at the University of San Diego for their Spotlight Speaker Series. They spoke easily and articulately with skils way beyond their dozen or so years. And then John Cahalin, Real World Scholars Co-Founder, walked up and asked the students for some business cards… crickets….radio silence… The students quietly said they did not have business cards!

John came over to ask me, “Kim, where are VIDA Dreamer’s business cards?” Awkward!! He was only pointing out the obvious, but to a teacher who had only been in the classroom for over 15 years, the need for business cards had eluded me and the students. I thought of all the reasons why the Dreamers would not need business cards like they are not in the community often or they did not sell at many public venues. However, the more reasons I came up with where they didn’t need business cards, the more ways I discovered I had again failed my Dreamers.

I don’t mind failing, and most of the time, I try to celebrate my shortcomings with my students, so they can see the way I respond. The next day, the students lept on the task of selecting business cards and within a week, we had them in hand.

I began this year with business cards in hand, a new structure of departments, and many new students eager to learn entrepreneurial skills as well as make an impact on their school, their community, and the world. As we sit and reflect on where we were, where we are, and where we want to go, it’s clear that these students are growing and tapping into some of their ever changing passions. 

By Kim Kriedeman