For the past year I helped launch Legends of Learning as cofounder and CMO. While I have worked with several education brands before, Legends represents my first dedicated full-time experience. Marketing learning games to middle school science teachers has given me a new-found respect for how hard teachers work.
In addition to the hours they spend at school, teachers often work nights and yes, weekends to prepare lessons for their classes, learn about new teaching methods, grading, and, oh yeah, answering parent and administrative correspondence. In short, teachers work hard.
Teachers invest time not only in the classroom with today’s youth, but also exploring the vast amount of content and education solutions online. Teaching is often a 60-hour per week job, or more.
In spite of the numerous companies generating curriculum content, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find quality materials in this 21st century, post-textbook world. Teachers spend as much as five hours a week researching content for their classroom.
Teachers will invest more time finding content for subjects that are not over-tested for state and national standards, such as science (where Legends of Learning fits in), social studies, language, and the arts. These subject areas are underserved bu vendors. Most vendors build content for English and math since districts, charter school networks, and schools are incentivized to excel in math and English by our current education laws.
Teachers’ research processes extend beyond actually finding potential content; they also have to thoroughly vet it to see if it will fit in their classroom. Think about how much time we are talking about here. These are startup-level hours on a teacher’s salary.
Think about how much time we are talking about here. These are start-up hours on a teacher’s salary.
Sure, they get summers “off,” but not nearly to the extent most of us think. Districts and private schools have teacher training for weeks prior to the students’ first day. Many teachers go to Edcamps and conferences over the summer for professional development or PD as they call it.
To add insult to injury, schools are often underfunded. Most teachers invest some of their own money to buy classroom supplies and explore professional development because they want to do their job.
A Disaggregated Inundated Community
What about sharing content found with each other online? Surely that would save time searching, and maybe even help teachers find resources their peers have already tested.
While this already occurs on a micro level, teachers don’t have a central location like Yelp to read each other’s reviews online.
K-12 education is inherently local. Teacher communities are often limited to their district or perhaps state. Online communities develop based on edtech used, social networks, and learning management system platforms, which vary greatly. Often boasting huge numbers, these teacher networks are quiet with little visible activity.
That makes well-connected, internet-savvy teachers who are well connected online highly valuable in some ways. Tech companies have figured that out, and now seek “ed influencers” to help spread the word about Some say this raises ethical issues. As someone in the space, teachers deserve any extra scratch they can make.
And that’s not because Legends of Learning pays its Ambassadors. We don’t. We incentivize them with free access to our platform, company swag, and funding for trips to PD events and conferences. Payments are strictly for our content reviewers, and we do not find those teacher consultants through our influencer networks.
In my book, if teachers can get a tech company to pay them for their efforts and insights, good on them. They deserve the extra dollars because work hard and are underpaid for their very important role in society: Educating the future leaders of our communities.
Over the long term teachers work this hard because they care about the children they educate. It’s unfortunate that more in society don’t understand the effort teachers put forth for their communities. But I do now, and that’s why I respect them so much more.