Do Former Educators Working With Companies Form Stronger Bonds With Districts?

Staff Writer

Company officials say they are seeing a surge of interest from former teachers looking to transition to a job in the education industry.

The teaching profession didn’t see the mass exodus as a result of the pandemic that some feared, Education Week’s reporting has found.

But surveys show that morale has plummeted and more teachers appear to be considering their options.

Employing former educators can be a significant added value for a company in the K-12 marketplace. But do K-12 school officials respond favorably to former teachers, when they go to work for education companies? And if so, under what circumstances?

In 2016, EdWeek Market Brief published survey results focused on answering that question.

The survey, conducted by the EdWeek Research Center of 200 district administrators, asked them in which situations it’s important for them to interact with a former educator working for a company providing curriculum or tools — as opposed to a company representative who has not previously worked in an instructional or leadership position in education.

Administrators ranked the importance on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being very important and 1 being not important.

Overall, the vast majority of district leaders think it’s important to interact with former educators for everything from initial sales calls and in-person meetings to ongoing customer support and professional development.

However, the results showed varying degrees of importance — indicating that K-12 officials value the role of former educators more when they’re involved in providing professional development, customer support, and communications with the district, more so than sales, or making presentations to school boards about the product.

More than half of district officials said it’s “very important” for a former educator, rather than a company representative who has not worked in K-12 education, to be involved in providing ongoing PD.

A third of respondents said it’s also very important to interact with a former educator who’s on the company’s team after a product is purchased.

And a third said it’s very important that former educators be involved n providing general customer support.

When it came to having a former educator involved in an initial sales contact with a district — only 6 percent ranked this as very important.

And sending a former educator to in-person meetings or vendor presentations before a school board were also largely considered to be more moderately important.

It’s not always easy for teachers, principals, and administrators to make the switch from their K-12 careers to working for businesses. A recent EdWeek Market Brief story explored that struggle, and how companies can help guide former educators on that path.

“Ed tech is more successful if teachers have a choice in what we are creating,” former educator-turned Renaissance product manager,  Lindsay Reno, explained in the story.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest if people who understand what the current education landscape looks like are joining the company.”

EdWeek Research Center Director Holly Kurtz contributed to this report.

Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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