Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night
It’s hard to believe we are only in our seventh week of school closures. For many of us in the school biz, this has been the longest seven weeks of our lives. For some, this has been a period of incredible windfall; for others, this has been a period of trying to keep the lights on. And for all of us, we mourn the passing of our fellow Americans and fear for the safety of our families and ourselves.
No matter where you are in your business journey, you must continue to move forward. If you ever doubt yourself, remember why you got into the business in the first place. It’s for the children. Don’t lose your passion. A good friend of mine once told me it is impossible to hold a positive thought and a negative thought at the same time. Focus on the children. Fight for them, for their well-being and opportunity to have a better life as your business succeeds.
The COVID-19 crisis is only temporary. It may be with us a while longer, but it will pass. When it does, we may find that schools have opened their minds to changes and new technologies and an improved way to educate our children. Shouldn’t that improved way of doing things include your business?
Schools not only have the same spending power they had before the crisis, they also have $30.75 Billion to spend on EdTech and Curriculum coming from the CARES Act.
Many of my brethren in the education media have tended to report the negative and to even discourage education companies from selling their wares, or at least charging for their wares. Of course you should charge schools. They have money in place, and more is coming. You may have to give terms to help them work through administrative problems, but you may not. In either event, you have just as much right to get paid for what you do as everyone else. The last time I went to the grocery store, they were still charging me for food. I still paid for gas for my car. Utility companies are still charging schools for the power they use. At some point, all the free stuff that has been given to schools will be converted to paid. Nothing is free. It is imperative that schools receive and use the best learning materials available for their students. Money is available – time is fixed. Using curriculum just because it is free is a breech of responsibility. That’s not to say that OER resources are bad or inferior. They may be a solid choice. But price should never be the deciding factor.
What does this mean to you?
Continue to do the things that have made you successful, only more of them. There is a lot of noise out there, and you need to break through. Do your marketing in the places where administrators and curriculum decision-makers can be found. Right now, everyone is spending an inordinate amount of time online. Webinars and podcasts are going through the roof. Everyone is looking for answers, and you need to be the one who is advising them. In addition, write articles and blogs for the education media as well as the local media in your key areas. You should also consider using a professional PR firm if you aren’t already using one. There are a handful that are extremely dialed-in to education. I would be glad to make an introduction if you need one.
And one more quick thought. As hard as things appear right now for many of us, this is also a time of supreme opportunity. Companies with a high profile and a positive, solutions-oriented attitude will be the ones to gain extensive market share later this year and the next. Your business will expand, but the supreme opportunity is reserved for our learners. That’s why I do this. That’s why you do this. So, give it all you’ve got. And remember, education is about collaboration, not competition. Stay strong, fight hard and do not go gentle into that good night.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.