I recently spoke to a Christian school about marketing and social media. During the full-day marketing clinic, I got to spend 90 minutes listening and facilitating a discussions with this dynamic group of front-line soldiers. They had some great ideas on developing, capturing and sharing content about the students they were with every day.
Your front-line soldiers are sometimes parents of current or former students, sometimes former students who have returned to your school to teach (that’s a story I would capture on video because that says a lot about how great your school is), and sometimes your teachers just love teaching in a Christian school environment.
Here are 3 ways to encourage your teachers so they will be a solid source of referrals for your school:
- Make life easier – survey your teachers and find out something that you could do to lighten their load after hours. Offer a concierge service for soft drink or coffee runs in the middle of the day or hook up a partnership with a local dry cleaner for morning pick up at the school’s front office, saving them a morning errand (make this perk available exclusively for your teaching staff so they know that it is for them; don’t let parents use this service).
- Invest in them – offer a once-a-month “Lunch-n-Learn” where you (or the PTO or a local restaurant) caters lunch; PD is critical but costly, so look for ways to cost-effectively educate and keep your teachers at the top of their game. Perhaps there are parents who have expertise in areas useful for teachers (social media, investments, caring for aging parents, etc.)
- Treat them like royalty – it’s not often possible to pay your teachers as well as they deserve, so look for ways to reward and recognize them for their years of service, commitment and innovation. Propose a reward for milestone anniversaries (but don’t be cheap with your rewards – find partnering restaurants or stores who want to have their name on the gift card and associated with such recognition). While typical teachers shy away from the spotlight, I think there is a deep down longing among most teachers to be acknowledged for their innovation in the classroom. Get them featured in the local news or in a teaching publication by contacting the appropriate journalist or editor. A little limelight benefits your school but offers a genuine “attaboy” to your teacher for their hard work. And do not neglect the positive praise everyone needs! Genuinely heap on the compliments and have plenty of opportunities for parents to show appreciation (when done as an all-school event, there is more buzz than casually hoping parents privately praise each teacher, so coordinate a quarterly “Our Teachers Rock Day”).
Treating your “customer service professionals” better than any teacher at any public or private school helps to ensure their longevity and helps them stay motivated. Both of my parents were school teachers (Dad taught in the high school; Mom taught for 30+ years in 1st and 2nd grade). I know that even your love of teaching is challenged by unmotivated kids, troublesome parents, teacher-to-teacher dynamic, or other worries of life. Stand in the gap for them and they will tell others about their awesome workplace experience!
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