A few years ago, one of my sisters said that we were all in sales. At the time, I was still teaching in the public secondary school system in Ontario. When I thought of myself, as an educator, being in sales, I was taken aback. Teachers selling something? The very thought seemed to be disrespectful.
And as I let the idea rumble inside, I came to know that, yes, I was in sales as an educator. So what was I selling? My agenda for the daily class over my students’; that the class required some basic rules of operation so that the work could be completed; that the curricular expectations for the course were attainable; that my students could really do the assignments I created for them to demonstrate their learning; that my students had a right to question things and me if they had any problems with the work required; that the diploma requirements made sense in their entirety; that there was no rush to complete everything required in four years and not five; that the process of learning was more important than the products generated by each student.
A few weeks ago, I was conferencing with a student who was completing Grade 12 University English as a full credit in Summer School. He was required to write an essay on Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. And I was reminded of the fact that we are all in sales. When I mentioned this to the student, he didn’t see the possibility of it. And then I asked him to think about the following: every time a child asks for an increase in their allowance, they have to make a case for the increase to their parents; every time someone asks another person out on a date, they have to sell themselves and answer the question. “Why you should go out with me?”; every time anyone applies to move into an apartment, they must sell that they will be a good tenant who will not damage the property and who will pay their rent on time; every time anyone applies for a loan, they have to sell that they are a good risk; every time one person proposes marriage to another, they have to sell the idea that the life of two people together will enrich the lives of both individuals; every time anyone applies for a job, they are selling that they are the best applicant for the position. And on it goes.
We are all in sales. And, if this is the case, am I selling my true self, the truth of who I innately am? What about you?