Making Summer Connections: Thinking About not Out of the (Sand) Box
The summer is often a time for rejuvenation and relaxation for teachers. An important way to think of these months is as a shift in setting, from the classroom to, well, whatever we do in the summer. But our respite is hardly work-free. These weeks away from students is also a time closer to other areas of teaching. This summer’s backdrop, however, is without precedent.
Highlighted this year are several societal phenomena unique to 2021. The klieg lights illuminating student learning loss, how we engage with the concept of race in our schools, the role of technology, and pressures related to COVID-19 dot the sky’s horizon.
This constellation of topics, ignorant of “summer break”, touch down on the educational landscape throughout July and August. Being visible and in that environment requires approaches not used during the school year. The experience being provided – special offers on consumer products/services, free professional development or product training, exclusive online events with education thought leaders, other exclusive offers – is important. But how and where they are promoted is where the creative juices flow.
Below are five examples of partnerships and places that are perfect for making summer connections with educators.
1. Museums: Summer sees attendance at museums spike. Educators finally have the time to visit ones they have wanted to go to for months. Taking advantage of that flow can happen at or near the physical location or by offering discounted attendance, or a gift card for the café or museum shop. In return, you can plant a seed, build your network, or get input on your service.
2. Summer Sports: This category can include a range of sports or ages. Summer sports leagues for adults and camps for children are attended by educators, parents of students in need of a service, or run by educators as a summer gig. Tapping into the right sporting environment may take some additional effort, but one place to start is at minor or college baseball leagues that exist across the nation.
3. Travel Providers: Educators travel in the summer and use that time to read. As we plan our trips, rent cars, and search for the perfect getaway, I am still interested in my profession. If I can have an experience or be connected to a product as I make a reservation then that is a great use of time.
4. Concerts: I have attended a lot of concerts in my life. I don’t recall ever seeing an educational vendor at any of them. Why not? Educators love live music, all types, in fact some of us teach it or are in bands. Similar to the options above, how you make yourself visible will be important. But it is fair to say that this is not a space crowded by the competition and you might get some cool extra credit points by being there.
5. Gyms: Akin to the museum category above, the summer brings time for educators to get into or develop that summer workout routine. Educator social hours, sponsored discounts at the snack bar, or posted opportunities to connect with your organization on the digital or physical message board are all options to tap into teachers’ social circles. Similar to concerts, educators
work out and some of us teach health and wellness – in fact, yoga classes or clubs have exploded as options in schools.
We hear the phrase “think out of the box” used as an inspiring call to be creative. But there is another way to understand this colloquialism. I offer that it is just as important to think about how to succeed within existing boxes. Staying with the summer theme, operating in existing sandboxes provides existing material to build your castle for others to see. That way your company stands out among an existing landscape where people know where to look. This recognition is invaluable and exposure is a crucial part of making summer, and long-lasting, connections.