I went to the vendor hall to check out two companies products since my district will be using them this year. I honestly just wanted to see what the products had to offer. Things went fine; but there was one moment when everything went wrong. I do understand everyone has to make a living. However, do not hassle me especially when you can see that I am getting tense. I walked by one particular company and the sales rep for my region saw me. She immediately looked at my name badge and saw my role. She instantly began to assume that I worked on the district level instead of school. Eventually she understood. I did not just walk away because I was for one representing the place in which I work and did not want to seem rude. When she looked at my name badge though and then spoke, it made me realize how she did not see me as a decent, upright human being...I was just someone whom she thought had a "high title". That did not resinate well with me.
After speaking to the sales rep for a moment, she then began to ask me questions such as if my school was going one to one. First, my district has made big news in the major local newspaper about their personalized learning initiative. If you were a true sales rep and lived in this area, you would know about what was going on to reach your customer base. Eventually she started to ask questions about the initiative that I could not answer. She then wanted to give me information about one of their new products and wanted my school to pilot the program. The product they were soliciting was, as they put it, not a Learning Management System, but a LMS. I did let them do their pitch without asking any real questions to begin with; but once they were done I did ask my hard questions. Funny enough, they could not give any responses back based on things I asked (e.g. Why does your product have Google Classroom built in when I can do all of this stuff in Google Classroom already, What is the purpose of having two LMSs, etc).
There are three things I took away from this experience. First the sale rep. only viewed me based on my position. My title could have said teacher and she would have looked the other direction. Little does this lady know is how a role does not necessarily define influence. Secondly, if you are going to create and sale a product, know your clientele, competitors, and the limitations as well as strength of the product. Lastly, I am an educator! This is my passion. Any educator who truly has a passion for teaching and learning knows when someone else also cares about the same (although it is a feeling that is hard to describe, one knows when it is there). This company does not understand that and sadly to say, they are going to fail trying to each the K-12 market.