Teaching Is a Sales Position

I continue to write a column for the Ann Arbor Chronicle. This month–for the third month running–I’m writing about the Venn diagram of Business Practices and Teaching Practices. SPOILER ALERT: I’m not of the opinion that this diagram is two primary color circles with no overlap. FURTHER SPOILER ALERT: The governor and I do not agree about what lies in that cross-hatched overlap zone.
The Ann Arbor Chronicle | In It For The Money: Classroom Sales

Kids in compulsory public schools often aren’t willing buyers; they need to be sold. And even Lee Iacocca couldn’t sell 40 reluctant buyers in a single group. That takes goddamn sales magic, and the only cats with that kind of voodoo are politicians and snake-oil gurus. And there isn’t a single such talent in this great nation who’s ever going to settle for $42,000 per year plus medical and a pension–not when his or her earning potential starts in the low six figures and only goes up, up, up.
The problem with education in America–to the degree that there is a problem–is that we’re putting fair-to-middlin’ sales staff into a nearly impossible sales situation. No shoe store owner in the world expects his or her staff to sell shoes forty pairs at a time; if there’s that many folks coming through the door, then they hire more sales staff. They don’t expect shoe buyers to sit in rows six deep and stare at the ceiling while someone yammers to them indiscriminately about chunky heels or high-performance cross-trainers, without regard for what kind of feet they have and what kinda walking they need to do.
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