At the start of this school year, I wrote about Jamie Vollmer who shared with our district personnel his great story about how schools are not a business. I have always agreed with that idea; nonetheless, I do see similarities in the philosophies and methods of running schools and businesses.
Look at what is happening in the country. The education system is perceived as bad. The economy is bad. Some teachers and business people might throw up their hands and give up. However, most of the educators and business owners I know are not giving up. I see the smartest ones looking for new ideas, finding ways to keep clients happy, and learning better ways to lead their schools and companies.
Recently, the teachers at our school took inventory of the strengths within our curriculum and the challenges we are facing as we implement the Nation’s Core Curriculum. We are asking ourselves, “What areas are we weakest in? Do we need a better understanding of the data we get from standardized tests and our own assessments? Do our current teaching methods work? How can we refine our current methods to challenge more students? What problems might be encountered? What resources are available to help us solve any problems, teach struggling students, or push students to new heights?”
Business people I know reflect on similar ideas. They examine their strengths to learn if they are strongest in customer service, customer satisfaction, quality of product, etc. They ask themselves if they need a better understanding of their numbers or data? They look at their sales techniques to see if they need some work. Business owners search for available resources that will aid them in increasing productivity, increasing customer satisfaction, increasing sales, and increasing profits.
An example of the changes teachers and business people are making would be using Twitter. I know Cold Stone Creamery in our home town tweets sales and coupon deals. I, and several other teachers, tweet assignments. Our clients use twitter, and teachers and businesses want to reach those clients in many ways. We desire to make improvements to be successful. The difference between the two is the definition of success. As Jamie Vollmer tells it, teachers can’t throw out the less-than-perfect blueberries.