2020 Teaching Spending Survey: The Results Are In!

Guest Contributor:  Meredith Biesinger

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The results from April/May 2020’s IESD analysis, on behalf of Agile Education Marketing are in! Unanimously we can all agree that teachers are important, but did you know that most teachers consider their profession as part of their individual identity? The data shows that most teachers consider their profession to be a significant part of their identity, and even more so with elementary teachers. This makes sense, as elementary teachers invest their time, talents, and efforts into the same 25-30 children for 180 days, all day long, each school year. Then, elementary teachers  watch those children grow up within their community and even though they may have only taught them for one year, they are permanently a part of their childhoods. Teachers are often called upon to wear other hats other than a classroom teacher, such as: coach, mentor, and advocate, to name a few. It is not surprising that K-12 teachers feel a strong sense of identity in relation to their profession.

Companies and organizations looking to market or sell to K-12 schools have the opportunity to utilize this data and express their appreciation for teachers, and reward them for their service. Educators, like everyone else, appreciate being valued

There is a great tendency for teachers to spend their own money for their classroom and student needs, regardless of their situation, or their school’s budget. The data shows that most teachers spent at least $100 or more of their own money, and did so, prior to the COVID-19 school closures. Additionally, many teachers spent $250 or more of their own money, prior to the COVID-19 school closures. The majority of these purchases were for classroom supplies and student rewards. However, when schools closed and teachers began teaching their students virtually, the data shows that they spent $100 or less, on instructional resources and supplies to support teaching virtually from home. Why is this important?


As we approach a new, and uncertain, 2020-2021 school year, vendors should be prepared to offer opportunities for classroom supplies, student rewards, and instructional resources for schools who plan on returning to the physical classroom. Many school districts may begin the school year with a home learning, or virtual learning model. If this happens, vendors have the opportunity to market office equipment, printing supplies, supplemental learning resources, and expanded internet access. Additionally, there is the opportunity to potentially market all of the above, for school districts who will be offering a hybrid model, of both traditional classroom learning and virtual learning throughout the school year.

Although it is important to focus on both markets; elementary school teachers, and secondary teachers, the data shows that elementary school teachers are the greater market potential.

Here’s why

1)    Elementary school teachers spend more than $250 of their personal funds each year.

2)    Elementary school teachers often have a classroom budget.

3)    Title I Funding is more prevalent.

4)    Elementary school teachers teach multiple subjects, to the same students all day long, requiring more supplies.

Secondary teachers play a crucial role in the lives of students, and it’s important to focus on both markets and determine their individual needs. Regardless of what grade a teacher teaches, they appreciate and utilize teacher discounts. The survey results state that teachers feel valued and appreciated when a company or organization offers a teacher discount, and that it builds a positive bond between the company and the educator. The data also showed that teachers find out about teacher discounts from fellow educators and co-workers quickly; proving, that word or mouth is still an effective approach.

Across the board, all K-12 teachers preferred email over any other marketing strategy. This makes sense, as teachers are busy during the day, and might not have the time to look at an online ad right away. However, if they receive an email, it’s readily accessible for them to read and consider, before or after school. That being said, second to email, a mixed marketing strategy seemed to also be a popular choice: social media, brand websites, online ads, and direct mail, are all still effective ways to market to teachers. Remembering that there are a great variety of teachers in the world, it’s exciting to think of all of the ways to reach out and create opportunities to work with them!

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