Transforming education from inside a company: It’s not just business, it’s personal
It’s not just business, it’s personal.
Usually this quote is read the other way around. But working (ethically) in the business of education means thinking about more than hitting revenue. It’s also about the buyers who’re making an investment in the lives of young people. Their futures are at stake.
However, the promises of ed tech missions can feel shrouded in business.
Let’s take a look at this dilemma and how you can work your day job AND K.I.T. with educators, students, and families. Your work will be better for it.
The visionary battles corporate demands
For many, education is admired as THE tool that can give students a fighting chance at success in this world. Any person capable of tapping into what motivates children to learn seems worthy of being revered.
Sal Khan’s Khan Academy offers students a world-class education from home. Reshma Saujani’s Girls Who Code is inspiring young girls to become programmers. Kaya Henderson’s Reconstruction connects kids to the often untaught thinkers, makers, and doers in the Black community.
These ideas are more than encouraging. But in the fray of fulfilling business needs —pitching to investors, getting seed funding, meeting revenue — the missions that drive these companies can feel lost.
They don’t have to.
Keep your day job and volunteer.
Find a way to work regular volunteer days into your schedule if you can. There are so many ways to assist educators and students, from helping out as a classroom aid during the school day, to tutoring students outside of school hours.
The ideas and assumptions you entered the position will be impacted. You’ll be able to look at the challenges you’re facing at work differently — and maybe get inspired by new ideas.
Check out your company’s volunteer PTO options. I know established education organizations like mine offer employees a couple days a year that are dedicated to volunteering in schools.
Questions are king. Don’t stop asking them.
If we’re going to make education solutions that truly benefit teachers, students, and families, we need to make sure that we know what they want.
Your teacher friends and LinkedIn connections are great places to start opening lines of communication and keeping an ear to the classroom. They can be brief, informal telephone calls. Or planned out coffee dates.
Ask educators about their pain points. The things that make them sigh in relief. The dreams they have for their classroom and professional development.
You won’t believe how much you’ll be able to take from that conversation.
Hit that subscribe button
The best way to K.I.T. with what’s going on in the classroom is to talk directly to the source. But have you heard of supplements?
You may have your favorite blend to add nutrients to your body. It’s time to find the ones that nourish your industry knowledge. I’m leaving you with a few of my favorite newsletters:
- EdWeek Market Brief
- Catalyst Penn GSE
- 74 Million
And LinkedIn influencers:
- Anna Murphy
- Angela Duckworth
- Anneliese Pixton
I’m a product marketer developing dynamic content across channels to capture the impact of ed tech products.🚀
You can view my portfolio at jolieradunich.com and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.