As you develop your products, it's important to remember that teachers are responsible for the education of their students, regardless of the student’s age or developmental level. For example, a second grader may be able to complete seventh grade math or a fifth grade student could be reading on a first grade level. Lessons are being created for differentiation and implementation to foster creativity and higher level learning.
Simply put, teachers deal with a wide range of abilities and behaviors in a typical classroom and they need to teach to students at their level. This can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time! Teachers look to the programs and products you develop to help them differentiate instruction and connect with all their students. Better understanding the day-to-day needs of teachers will help you develop and sell products that will be a big hit with educators.
First, When marketing to schools, it is important to have a solid understanding of the trends in education so you are fluent in the "language" of educators. The K-12 education market language is full of acronyms. Test your knowledge of some commonly used acronyms in school districts around the country:
ADA-American Disabilities Act
CBA-Curriculum Based Assessment
CST-Child Study Team
ESSA-Every Student Succeeds Act
GATE-Gifted and Talented Education
IDEA-Individuals with Disabilities Act
IEP-Individual Education Plan
OT-Occupational Therapy (Therapist)
PT-Physical Therapy (Therapist)
RTI-Response to Intervention
You are well on your way to becoming fluent!
Once you're speaking the same language as educators, spend some time thinking about your flexibility of use, how your items are labeled, and color schemes — all of these elements will speak volumes to teachers if done well.
Classrooms are becoming rooms without walls. Products that have greater flexibility are in high demand. If they be used with more than one grade level or setting, it will foster creativity with teachers and students. Highlight the versatility of your products.
Products can have a wider audience when correctly labeled. Sometimes, using too specific age or interest level excludes additional sectors that would use them, such as students working below or above grade level and English language learners. Create a larger audience!
Having a variety of color options is often helpful. Limiting your color schemes to primary colors may also produce exclusion to part of a market. It may be a great product, but a high school teacher may be turned off. Be creative and be inclusive!
By being creative, you will gain a larger audience as you highlight the flexibility and labeling of your product. Through your fluency, you will be able to reach more educators. Learn how to speak their language and you will be who they turn to for help.