Survey Results: Teachers Seek Real-World Support From Brands

It’s no secret that the teaching community has been scrapping for resources since, well,  always. Between budgetary concerns, changing course materials, technological advances and more, educators have long had to make the most of a little.

It will come as no surprise that the last few years have not helped that trend. With the advent of distance learning, social distancing measures, and other pandemic-inflicted issues, the world of education is now more challenging than ever. 

According to an NPR report, 86% of teachers say they have seen more educators leave the profession or retire early since the start of the pandemic. 80% report unfilled job openings have led to more obligations for those left behind. This is leading to an extraordinary level of burnout, prompting 55% of educators to say they plan to quit teaching earlier than they originally expected.

To help better understand this phenomenon and how brands can help, ITK surveyed our network of education professionals and grassroots influencers. The group ranges from school nurses and pre-school directors to high school teachers. While respondents were diverse, many trends were consistent. With Teacher Appreciation Week on the horizon in May, now is a great time for brands to start thinking of ways they can give back to educators.

The Problems
First of all, the need for classroom resources never ends. When asked when they are most in need of supplies, 36% of respondents said the beginning of the school year. But 49.5% of the survey participants said they need support all year long. That could mean everything from classroom activities and art supplies to necessities like hand sanitizer.

What was even more striking is where these supplies come from. We asked how much of their own money educators spend annually on supplies. A whopping 83.2% said they spend over $100 of their own money. But even more strikingly, 27.4% said they spend $500+ of their own money on supplies for their classroom or organization.

But supplies are just the start. In alignment with the mental health challenges and feelings of intense burnout, many teachers responded that they were looking for help beyond the everyday essentials. Many respondents to the ITK survey said they would like to receive items that surprise and delight, both for themselves and their students. They were also open to receiving anything that could help with mindfulness or make their lives a little easier.

 How Brands Can Help 
It was abundantly clear the educators we surveyed aren’t getting everything they need from their school systems or organizations. This can be due to many different circumstances, from changing priorities, specific program cuts, state/federal budgets, or a host of other reasons.

Regardless of the deciding factors, brands can step in and act as a source of assistance. This can include a wide range of activities that benefit students, teachers, and companies alike. How? Let’s break it down.

Sampling Programs 
Providing samples can offer important resources to educators and students. For instance, educators who responded to our survey said that there was a significant demand for feminine hygiene products and education about them. We all know that time in our lives can be confusing, frustrating, and even downright scary. Going through it without knowing how to access the proper products and resources only amplifies those feelings. 

Another example is the arts. A 2019 report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies states that government art funding throughout the years has decreased 43.4%. Public schools are not immune from this dramatic drop. This is a prime opportunity for brands to step up and fill a vital gap in supplies while engaging students and building positive brand equity from a young age.

Course Materials and Activities 
It’s not news that teachers have been stretched thin for decades. Classroom sizes continue to grow, outpacing the number of educators joining the field. This means less individual time with students. Less time to develop lesson plans. Fewer opportunities engage kids in the classroom. Once again, this is a place where brands can step in and offer a helping hand.

Education marketing is a win-win-win for brands, educators and students. By providing high-quality classroom materials, lesson ideas, and at-home projects, companies provide opportunities and resources that teachers may not have time or funding to develop on their own. Campaigns like Doodle For Google encourage kids to take part in activities that expand their worldview and creative thinking while giving educators turn-key ways to take part in the program.

 How to Get Started 
Brands don’t need to build a program from scratch to give back. From sampling to education and cause marketing, it’s possible to use these tactics as an extension of your current campaign. Our team has helped many companies of every shape and size do exactly that. 

Contact us to see how we can build your brand’s positive equity while acting as a force for good in your communities across the country.



ITK Collective            Charleston, SC 29403 
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