Dec 11, 2020 2020-12-11
By Taylor Kremer
Teachers are always searching for new products and programs to help their students achieve more. However, new materials come with a cost, and teachers need approval from their principals to move forward. Here are simple tips for getting your principal to say yes.
Timing Is Everything
Approaching your principal at the end of a long day or in the middle of a noisy hallway isn’t likely to get you a very receptive ear. Try to catch your principal at a time when he or she can devote full attention to your proposal. You may want to initially set up a time to talk with your principal over email.
Know What Makes Them Tick
Understanding your principal’s priorities will help you give a persuasive pitch. Think about how the product or program meets your principal’s goals. Try to illustrate how a program benefits your whole school, instead of just your classroom.
Approach your principal with solutions rather than problems. Principals have enough issues to manage already, and they’re not interested in adding another to the pile. Have a solution to your problem already in place by planning out exactly what you need, why you need it, how much it will cost, the intended outcomes, and the benefits to your students and the school. Present this information succinctly and persuasively. You may even want to create a one-page proposal. The more prepared you are, the more seriously your principal will take your request.
Get Students on Board
Encourage your students to get involved in your project. Have them write a persuasive essay or make a video explaining why they need a product or program and how it will help them learn.
Find Key Influencers
Talk to the people who influence your principal. See if you can get them on board with your proposal. They may be willing to discuss it with your principal, which could mean the difference in getting approval.
Reduce the costs of implementing the product or program by seeking funding through grants, contests, fundraising, and crowdfunding. The GetEdFunding database has thousands of funding opportunities for educators and resources to help with grant writing. Crowdfunding on sites such as DonorsChoose, AdoptAClassroom, and Classwish, can help fund smaller projects. Check out this blog on creating a successful crowdfunding campaign. Don’t have time to write your grant or start a crowdfunding campaign? Ask your PTA for help.
Be Willing to Compromise
Settling for two virtual reality headsets over a whole set for your classroom is better than coming away empty-handed. Consider splitting your proposal into smaller steps. For example, you might first ask for a few virtual reality headsets, then for a curriculum to go with the headsets, and then work up to asking for a classroom set.
It isn’t easy to find the time to prepare a thoughtful proposal for your principal. However, if you don’t ask, you cannot receive. Finding the right time, getting buy-in from students and key influencers, and seeking additional funding sources will all help make it easier for your principal to say yes.