Face it. Families enroll in independent or private schools because of overwhelming evidence of great teachers and great teaching. They seem to care less about “state of the art” facilities or a pastoral campus.
Teachers hold all the credibility cards with a prospective and current family. They are trusted more than administrators who are naturally expected to spin positive about a school.
So a Head of School or an enrollment manager worth her salt will naturally want to promote great teachers and great teaching. But how do you get teachers to buy-in? To step up to marketing’s front lines?
Great teachers instinctively understand that teaching and marketing are essentially the same thing.
Marketing is all about continual improvement and better communication. Great teachers want to connect with their audience (students) in a way each one will find compelling. Great teachers want to stay on the leading edge of professional development and learning research to make sure they can serve the unique needs and learning styles of each one of their customers – students and families. That means staying on top of their game and connecting in a personal way to those they serve.
Second, great teachers seem to get that it’s in their own enlightened self-interest to be involved in marketing their school. It means they will have a better chance to reach out to, enroll, and retain the students they want to teach.
Third, great teachers understand that in expecting them to step up, you are not burdening them with yet another responsibility to add to an already long list of expectations. All it takes is a little self-reflection on their part and the willingness to share what they believe:
- Why do they teach?
- Why do they teach at your school?
- What do they want a student to get from having known them?
- What’s the most important life lesson they want a student to take away from their class in x? (I always use Algebra 2 as an example as I’ve yet to find a reason to subject anyone to it!)
- How do they insure that each student (gifted or remedial) will learn?
These are questions a prospective family may not ask outright, but I can assure you they are thinking about it, especially when deciding to continue the application process or when they are considering reenrollment. If your teachers can anticipate, reflect, and communicate their point of view on these five questions, they will add tremendous value toward your school’s sustainability and resilience.
So don’t tell me teachers aren’t marketers! With your faculty in the mix, you (and your teachers) have everything to gain – a culture that promotes and respects teachers, and a continuing flow of students interested in learning from the best.
Click here for more concrete suggestions about how teachers can become great advocates for your school!