Students Learn Life lessons from Marketing Teacher

Steve Kish marketing teacher in Antioch, California deserves praise as a teacher who thinks out of the box and creates a spirit of self-accomplishment in his high school students. Mr. Kish teaches in a school that is not known for excellence and often makes the news due to outbreaks of violence. In spite of this and probably because of it Mr. Kish created a student-run store on the high school campus last spring. His idea was to provide his marketing students with real-world lessons that cannot be found in textbooks and to also reinforce the concepts from the book with hands on experience.

The students spend the first part of their class year with book learning and acquiring skills such as effective salesmanship, how to identify a target market, cash flow tracking, and product assessment which includes determining those items ready to be sold at clearance.  New product launches happen after the item has been vetted through the class marketing process. This includes surveying potential buyers, deciding on a marketing campaign and then monitoring the product’s success via the cash register. Students, mainly juniors and seniors, periodically attend marketing sessions where they self-analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the store, consider opportunities for expansion and what possible threats exist for the store’s success. Mr. Kish notes the biggest lesson novice entrepreneurs have to learn is that they cannot choose a product solely based on their personal preferences. Understanding what your customer thinks is of paramount importance. In the spring after deciding on the product mix for the store, the class visits a well-known flea market to stock up on products at wholesale prices. This allows the school store to markup the product prices by 10% but stay very competitive.

Running the store is serious business and is treated as a job not just part of the class. Students are referred to as employees and instead of grades they get “paystubs” Tardiness is terms for dismissal and Mr. Kish says of the five classes he teaches this is the only one where student tardiness is not a problem. One student, who was a natural salesman, became lax and was habitually tardy at one point in time. This cost him his chance to work in the store and taught a valuable life lesson about being responsible. The young man corrected his tardiness, rejoined the store staff and used his talents to recruit business for the store. Teamwork is evident in the store staff and students take their responsibilities to meet ordering deadlines for products and marketing assignments seriously. The self-assurance these students are learning in class enables them to succeed in other classes and life situations that are often challenging. Mr. Kish is thrilled to pass on that many of the students return to tell him of successes in jobs outside of school. The pride and confidence these students are expressing is priceless.

Homeschooling families are uniquely situated to turn everyday life into lessons training for the future whether the child wishes to be an entrepreneur or work for a business. Helping your child take being prompt seriously, following through on their promises and considering what others are thinking will all play a major role in their future success. From this your child may wish to start a small business or just become more involved in their church or an organization they belong to. Know that the child you help to form now can grow to be a caring and responsible adult.

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