May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week, which has us reflecting on all the wisdom our teachers imparted on us during our school days - and continue to as they oversee our homeschooling efforts during these testing COVID times. In fact, we'd love to give a shout-out to every one of the nation's smart, dedicated, savvy teachers. Because teachers aren't just the great unsung heroes of our society. They're also one of our biggest inspirations as marketers. Here are just some of the ways that's true.
Teachers Know How to Sell
We all know the value of education. But it can be hard to sell kids on the benefits of tasks like sentence diagramming or long division. Teachers, however, are masters of this dark art. They know how to package their subject so that kids will stay on task during class - and even hand in their homework. They connect their instruction to real-life situations to show how and why knowledge matters. They make use of props, storytelling, rewards, and more to keep their class entertained. But most of all, they believe in the product that they're selling - whether that's American History, Art or French. That allows them to focus not just on features, but on benefits, and to target their pitch accordingly.
Teachers Know Their Audience
Speaking of targeting, teachers are pros at it because they know their audience. They're exposed all day long to what their class is reading, listening to, playing, or talking about. They understand what kids are stressing about, interested in, or inspired by. But they also understand that kids aren't one big generic whole. This means that teachers also know the power of segmenting their audience. And they use this knowledge to tailor their instruction in a way that will appeal to their class - and which is sensitive to their needs both in the classroom and at home. Maybe one group learns better with visuals. Maybe one responds best when you're dressed up in character. And maybe another benefit from dual language instruction. Whatever the case, teachers teach to the specific requirements and interests of their students as a class and as individuals.
Teachers Are Adaptive and Innovative
Teaching has come a long way since the days of rote learning and lines written on chalkboards. Today's teachers are immersed in the latest in pedagogical strategies, and it shows in their work. They use interactive whiteboards to engage the whole class, incorporate Skype visits from authors and artists, and collaborate with community leaders and experts to deliver impactful learning that delivers. As the expectations and needs of the "market" shifts, teachers respond accordingly. They know that what worked yesterday doesn't always work today, and they're constantly adjusting, improving, and innovating to ensure that they're always ahead of the game. These are all things every great marketer should be doing.
Teachers Know the Art of Following Up
Just like marketing, learning is a process. A single exposure to a topic or concept isn't enough for kids to truly internalize it. Teachers need to keep reiterating, approaching the topic from different perspectives, and providing refresher sessions. They use homework, tests, and assignments to gauge kids' understanding - and they make it a point to "check-in" to ensure that their students understand the course material. If they identify a kid with a particular interest in or talent for their subject, they may even provide extension material or recommend additional classes, courses, or programs. The result? The "superfan" kids who truly commit to a subject. Marketers get it because we do the same to transform leads into loyal customers.
Teachers Make it Personal
Last, but absolutely not least, teachers make it personal. They make it a point to learn their students' names, get to know their interests, provide tailored feedback, and most importantly, to listen when kids most need it. We've all had a teacher who looms large in our memories because they made the effort to connect with us as individuals. That same feeling is what we strive to achieve as marketers. And this Teacher Appreciation Week we'd like to thank our teachers for showing us that it's possible.