Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Brief Note to K12

you are the resistance

Dear K12,

I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you this but the vendors are not your friends. You are not one “big family.” Maybe you can be “partners” but really even that is a distant dream most of the time.

Anything they seem to do for you is done with a firm look at the bottom line and how they can use you to make money. These are not gifts.

Seriously. You can’t afford to be this naive any longer.

That “award” certifying you as a really super X-brand teacher, that free conference registration- these are not things they do for you out of kindness1. This is for them. Every single bit of it, bought and paid for. Their return on investment is pre-calculated. If it didn’t make them money, they would not do it.

Don’t get me wrong. Take the awards, take the trips or whatever- just don’t forget that they are getting what they want out of you. Make sure you’re getting what you want out of them in return. This is a transaction, a business transaction. Make sure it’s an equal transaction.

Think about what you’re doing and what it is worth. Don’t sell yourself short2 and don’t ever mistake a business transaction for a favor. These people are not your friends.

And please, please, don’t sit there thanking them for using you like some obsequious lap dog. It makes you look stupid and further encourages them to regard K12 educators as easily manipulated pawns.


1 Granted, you may be awesome. I’m not disputing that- although listing every award you’ve ever gotten in your email signature is a bit much in my opinion.

2 This includes doing tricks for candy at vendor booths at conferences.

19 Strangers

It has taken me quite a while to get to 19. Clearly, I tend to do this project in fits and starts and I do much better when I leave town. Because the Universe has a sense of humor, I will be in Las Vegas for BlackBoard World and I’m hoping that will result in some interesting opportunities.

Despite the practice, it still isn’t an easy thing for me to do. I’m always fairly awkward asking although I think I recover better than I did initially.

It is interesting to look at the gender, age, and race of the subjects. It probably says quite a bit about me. I’ve only been turned down three times. 86% is a pretty decent success rate. One of the rejections was from a police officer who “got in the habit” of refusing to have his picture taken when he was in an elite military unit1.

In any case, I’m glad I started this project. I intend to finish all 100.

Clerk


1 Unverified by external sources