Today I dropped my almost-4 year old at Pre-K4 for the start of her 2017-2018 school year. I know I’m not alone. There are a lot of us going through back-to-school drop-offs and pick-ups all across the country if we haven’t already gone through it in the last couple of weeks.
And while I’ve seen plenty of Facebook posts along the lines of “Finally! My kid’s going back to school!!” and some hilarious footage of a mom walking around Target advising other parents to “buy the damn yellow binder” (Google it), what hit me this morning as I was fighting back some tears watching a little girl with a backpack bigger than she is proudly walk into her classroom is this - there are a whole lot of people involved in making this school year possible for her.
I have seen what goes into creating the learning materials she is going to use throughout her academic career.
I’ve seen the Editors diligently searching for the right authors, or contributing authors or subject matter experts to who can best create content for a specific course.
I’ve worked closely with these authors who are so passionate about their subject area and care so much for students that they painstakingly work through rounds upon rounds of edits to get it right.
I’ve been on a team with those product developers who go through the same section over and over and over again to make sure that that the content is coming across the way it needs to so students will be able to understand it.
Copy editors have gone through line by line to ensure content is solid.
Digital developers have worked to ensure that the learning materials not only work on a digital device but are pedagogically created to be enhanced because of the digital medium.
Marketers have tested and tested and tested again to ensure that the right message about the product gets out to the market so teachers know the content is available. Sales teams have carried on those messages to make sure teachers know how to implement these new digital programs.
Production teams have ensured that there are physical - and digital - copies of the materials available and have ensured that everything that needed to get done to make the product live happened on a timeline that ensured that it was there - in hands of the students - on day one.
And the teachers and administrators. They’ve gone through stacks upon stacks of books, and logged into countless sites to find the best content and platform for their students. It’s never a light decision and it’s one I have always seen taken very seriously.
I’m in a fortunate position of having been able to see - behind the scenes - not just the work but the love that educational publishers and learning companies put into the products that they build. It’s an industry where we say - and mean it - you’re not in it for the money. You’re in it for the love of education and the strong belief that education really does change lives.
So, as I drop off my daughter for the start of her academic career - as a parent - I say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you that I’ve seen work and work and work again until you got it right. She will be better off because of the passion that you bring to your work, and for that - I’m beyond grateful.
Here’s to an amazing 2017-2018 school year!