From the Back Row to the Teacher’s Desk

This is Part 1 of a multi-part account chronicling eduCanon’s history and the startup journey.

In college, I saw many of my friends experiment with interesting career paths, professions that didn’t exist a few decades ago, activities purely stemming from their intellectual passions. And I found myself doing the same, conducting organic chemistry research at the National Institutes of Health, Oxford and IBM. But when we graduated, the trend shifted. Many peers pursued career paths following their most influential role models—their parents.

And I wasn’t an exception. My mother is a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher. Fall after graduation, I was an 8th grade science teacher.

Now, years later and not surprisingly, I’m following my father’s path in starting my own company, eduCanon. eduCanon is a platform to make any online video interactive. Embed questions during the video, so students are actively learning and instructors can monitor understanding in real-time or in preparation for class.

This observation—that we often follow our role model’s paths in pursuit of a career—are highly qualitative. That said, there is a strong precedent for it: Before public education, we learned through apprenticeship.

All of this is to say I’ve been fortunate to have strong role models as I’ve developed my career. Through this blog I’d like to share my story, the lessons I’ve learned and observations I’ve made in life, teaching, and entrepreneurship.

Like the trend in my college friends’ paths, my observations may only reflect my experiences. However, I hope that through this process of blogging and sharing I’ll find others with similar and different experiences to continuously challenge, build upon, and influence my understanding.

But going back to this blog’s title, I was the quietest kid in class, from 4th grade (my most distant memory) through college. I notoriously (at least in my friend group) dropped out of a religious studies class because the teacher cold-called on me the first day of class. It’s pretty funny that I ended up teaching, a profession that requires public speaking and traditionally demands constant cold-calling. However, all of these experiences come together in the creation of eduCanon, awarded best edtech startup globally.


A few glimpses into what is ahead:

  • From teacher to teacherpreneur
  • Case study on coding with NO formal experience
  • Living on a (sinking) sailboat
  • Hanging with the kids at MIT
  • Blended to flipped
  • Full-time homeless entrepreneurs
  • Getting into the (tiny) community of edtech
  • 100,000 users, $100,000
  • Chickens and the juxtaposition of manual labor and Internet startup

Interested in learning more about Benjamin Levy and eduCanon? Checkout this Marketplace (from American Public Media) segment on The Learning Curve and follow us @educanon123.

One thought on “From the Back Row to the Teacher’s Desk

  1. Kudos for creating great things for education! But a teacherpreneur is not a teacher who leaves the classroom to make creative tools for educators. A teacherpreneur creates tools for educators, but still teaches. Once a teacher leaves their classroom 100% is not a teacher. They are former teachers and lose touch of classroom needs. Technology changes very quickly! I was asked to be a teacher coach this year, but only would take it if I taught classes. This keeps me grounded, gives me credibility with the teachers, and allows me to see if my actions benefit the students under my care.

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