WHAT IF WE TREATED OUR STUDENTS AS IF THEY WERE CUSTOMERS OR CLIENTS?
So I had this idea to treat the students as clients this year, you know, like we are serving them as a business serves a customer. And then I was assigned AEP this year. AEP stands for Alternate Education Program. What it should really say is PRISON. Because that is what it is and sometimes, like prison, the inmates run the asylum. I dislike going to AEP each and every day because the kids that go there are the ones that no one wants to teach, even our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new teachers.
But I have noticed that when I treat even these students as consumers, or clients, I get a different response . Not always, but often enough to think I might be on to something. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect, some are surprised when this happens and they don’t know how to respond, but almost everyone likes it.
And this was my reasoning for treating students as clients. What does this look like? I have three examples of what I mean:
1. Treat students as if your job depends on them (because it does).
They are really the reason we come to work. Treat them as if you would like to be treated as a customer. Politely, with respect and appreciation for them coming to your “store” or classroom. We aren’t needed without the students, make them feel as if we appreciate them. Because as one student told me, “If you don’t want to be here, don’t expect me to want to be here either”.
2. Realize that students make choices like consumers based on likes and dislikes.
Most students have classes they like and classes they don’t like. Much of the time it depends on the subject, but often it depends on the teacher. Make your class a place you would like to be, even if you don’t like the subject. Like a man going to the store with his wife as she tries on outfits needs a place to sit and if the store is really great, a TV with sports on to make the experience better for the man and his wife who will spend more money there. Now even I would go shopping with my wife if ESPN was available.
3. Put the money where it counts – the students.
There is well repeated mantra that goes around education that it is “All about the kids” which is a lie. If it were, more money would be spent on them instead of us (buildings and administration for example, have you been in the offices of our leaders? Pretty nice, go there and check them out and then check out my room, a slight difference). Technology and modern places to learn should be the expectation of each student. Are students going to work in the type of environment in which ours schools looks like? With dingy walls, small outdated desks, and NO WIFI! No, put the money into a nice environment, like Bass Pro Shops for example, and see if students don’t begin to excel.
Education is still using an outdated model with antiquated tools. I think we should move it into the 21st century, what do you think? Until next time, peace.