Monday, March 9, 2009

The Business of School

School is a business.  We are selling education to our students.  How do we get them to buy what we are selling?  What price are they willing to pay?  Attendance?  Homework?  Emotional involvement?  What price are their parents willing to pay?  Time?  Involvement?  Risk?  Money?  What price is our community willing to pay? 

Finally, what are we teachers willing to pay to sell our product?  Are we willing to pay the price in time and personal commitment?

In his blog marketing guru Seth Godin wrote that in order to sell you need:

1. A group of possible customers you can identify and reach.
2. A group with a problem they want to solve using your solution.
3. A group with the desire and ability to spend money to solve that problem.
Well lets look at those three things.

#1 - We have them in our classrooms.  The law says that they have to be there.  All we have to do is reach them.
#2 - Here is a little bigger problem.  Do they see us as a solution to their problems?  Are we relevant enough?
#3 - Are they willing to pay the price for education?  Or do they have something else going on in their life that makes school impossible?

It is interesting to look at our jobs through a different lens.


Mark Kowalski said...

I was just pondering some of the same things when I went to my reader, Gary. I really liked what Dr. Muhammad had to say but the business lens left me wondering a bit about where creativity fits into this model. Then I got thinking about Ken Robinson's definition of creativity: originality and value. I look forward to the discussion in the staff room tomorrow morning.

Gary Ball said...

Mark, you seemed to have found a small hole in my analogy. Maybe the product we should be selling is the opportunity to show and develop creativity. The problem is that creativity comes with a higher price - greater risk of failure. I guess that we would just need to sell it harder then.

And yes I also really enjoyed Dr. Muhammad. It was just one little comment he made that sent me off on this tangent.