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How to Get Admin to Buy Curriculum You Actually Want

admin to buy curriculum

When I was student teaching and asked my mentor teacher about curriculum and help with my lesson plans, he pointed me to a dusty filing cabinet filled with projector sheets.

When I landed my first teaching job, I was pointed to the district online server of outdated curriculum, with scanned in worksheets and labs that covered standards that our state no longer required.

I wanted to know how to get my admin to buy a curriculum that I actually WANTED and would benefit both me and my students. But…how??

To be honest, I felt like a little fish in a big pond. A new teacher among 75+ veterans. There was 8 admin at the 4A school I taught in. I was honestly too scared to ask for help. So I didn’t. My fear of hearing “no” or looking like I couldn’t do the job I had been hired to do led me to not asking for help. And you know what? I wasn’t the only one who suffered – my students did, too.

So when I moved across the state and took a job at a tiny private school, I knew something had to change. I couldn’t be scared to ask for help any longer. I needed my admin to buy curriculum for me, especially since I was expected to teach 5 different preps. I didn’t want a standardized textbook curriculum either – I wanted the curriculum that I ACTUALLY wanted, that I had vetted and researched and knew would be great for me and my students.

The problem, though, was that I was told over and over again how the school didn’t have the money. I took the job knowing I’d be one of a few science teachers, and that there was no science budget. I wouldn’t even have a lab space. This made it even more intimidating to ask admin to buy curriculum for me than when I had been in a large public school with seemingly every resource in the world.

But here is the deal. SO much goes into teaching besides just teaching. If you are reading this, I don’t have to tell you that, because you know. Writing curriculum and/or lesson planning from the existing curriculum is just one part of it. I knew that if I wanted to serve my students well AND actually have a life outside of school, I NEEDED HELP.

So, I asked. And I kept asking. Every time I needed something – curriculum, lab tables, money to buy resources for my favorite lab, to be sent to AP Summer Institute when I was told I would be taking on AP bio, a new projector when mine was on the fritz.

Did they say yes every time I asked? Of course not. But you know what? They said yes WAY more than they said no.

I know you may be in a massive school and rarely interact with your admin, but it is so important that you find the courage to ask when you need help. I’m going to tell you both WHY and HOW to ask admin to buy curriculum (and other things you may need).

WHY you need to ASK (even if you are positive they will say no.)

admin to buy curriculum

Even if you are SURE your school doesn’t have the funds, ask anyway. Unless you are the bookkeeper or business manager at your school, you really have NO idea what money they do and don’t have. You need to be willing to ask.

I wish I could go back to my first-year teacher self and ask every question that I just swallowed and tried to figure out on my own. I was so concerned with (1) proving my competency and (2) not being a burden to others, that I never wanted to ASK. I could have enjoyed those first few years so much more (and loved my students so much better) if I had been willing to ask for help.

Here are a few more reasons why you need to ask for help when you need it:

  • They will never know what you REALLY need unless you tell them.
  • There may be money in a different area that can be moved around to meet your needs.
  • Way less people are asking for help than you think.
  • There is NO RISK in asking. Truly. What’s the worst that happens? They say no. Then you are right back to where you started. Seems a minimal risk to me when the other option is that they actually say YES!!

HOW should you ask to get the best possible results?

admin to buy curriculum

There is no magic formula to get what you want. And like The Rolling Stones famously sang, “You can’t ALWAYS get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.”

So here are my best tips for getting your admin to buy curriculum you actually need AND want:

  1. ASK OFTEN.
    • Asking for help requires you to exercise your humility muscle. Like anything, it is going to feel awkward at first. But the more you ask, the easier it gets.
    • Ask for small things and large things. If there is something BIG you really want, ask multiple times. If you are following the rest of the tips, this won’t be as annoying as it sounds, I promise you.
    • Marketing research shows that people have to hear something 7 times before they are willing to buy it. Consider that to get your admin to buy curriculum you really want, they may need to be told about it 7 different times!!
  2. ASK EARLY.
    • Like teachers, admin have 2304923 things on their plates. If you ask for something they day before you need it, they will most likely brush you off. The earlier you ask, the more often you will be able to remind them about your request.
    • It will give them time to really consider, and to see if they can move the money around (if need be).
    • The bigger your school and district are, the longer these processes take, which is another reason to ask MUCH earlier than you actually need.
  3. ASK IN PERSON.
    • The #1 way to NOT annoy your admin with your requests is to not fill their inbox with them. ASK THEM FACE TO FACE!!
    • The more face time you get with them, the more your relationship will naturally build. I am telling you right now, admin have a really hard job, and few people take the time to (1) acknowledge that and (2) build a relationship with them.
    • The more you take the time to do this by interacting in person, the more likely they are to know you, like you, and therefore trust you with school funds.
    • Additionally, if you ask early in person, then it is easy to ask often as you see them in the halls or across the cafeteria at lunch. It makes it much more casual to say, “Hey have you had a chance to consider that curriculum I told you about yet?” than to email them once a week and get lost in their inbox.
  4. KNOW THE CHAIN OF COMMAND.
    • Know who to ask first. If you aren’t sure, ask a coworker. This completely depends on your school’s structure. Requests may have to go through department chairs, or vice principals, rather than directly to your head principal. They may even have to run through an instructional coordinator.
    • Regardless, if you DON’T have a relationship with the admin in charge, approach someone else in leadership you have a better relationship with first and ask their advice, or for them to request on your behalf.
      • In one of my jobs I mainly taught in the Freshman Academy, but I had a much closer relationship with the vice principal of juniors (I had hall duty in the corridor outside of his office). He gave me great advice for who to go to and how to approach them with my requests.
  5. HIGHLIGHT THE BENEFITS, NOT JUST THE FEATURES.
    • Don’t go into your admin’s office with a 3.5 paragraph essay of all the things the curriculum, or the professional development, you want includes. Focus on the benefits of the curriculum. For example, instead of giving them the rundown of everything in the curriculum, tell them:
      • How this would decrease your prep time and what you would be able to use that reclaimed time for
      • How the labs included will allow you to provide daily hands-on experiences for your students
      • How the standards-aligned assessments would prepare students for end-of-course exams
      • How the research projects would put the bulk of the learning on to the students and build their autonomy
  6. SHOW THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE.
    • Knowing your admin will go a LONG way in getting them to say yes to your requests. From a relational standpoint, it just makes sense, but also from a logical standpoint, too. If you know what your admin cares most about, you can highlight how your request meets the benefit that will most pique their interest.
    • For example, if your admin cares about:
      • Standards alignment –> Have proof of alignment written out to show them
      • Standardized test courses –> Show them built in practice problems and test questions that will prepare students for EOCs
      • Spending as little money as possible –> Highlight how few materials are required to implement the labs and activities that are included, compared to other curricula
  7. HAND THEM SOMETHING PHYSICAL THAT THEY CAN REFER BACK TO LATER.
    • Like I mentioned above, studies show that people need to hear something 7x before they are willing to buy. Make sure after you meet with them and explain your request (with a focus on the benefits!!), you leave them with something they can look at after you are gone. A few of those 7x may come from them just glancing at the physical packet or paper you left on their desk.
    • Not sure what to give them? Most curriculum writers or professional development creators will have some sort of overview sheet that can be easily printed in administered.
    • Interested in It’s Not Rocket Science®️ curriculum? I have admin overview sheets I specifically wrote to make it easier for you to ask your admin to buy curriculum for you!
    • Click each link below to access for:
  8. Point to the bigger picture.
    • Most admin want to make investments that will last for the long term. This is why schools have such larger non-consumable budgets than consumable. Help paint a picture of the long term benefits of the resources you are requesting.
    • Curriculum lasts forever (and mine come with updates for life for FREE!) It is a worthwhile one-time investment for your admin to make in you as a teacher. Projectors will need to be replaced and chemicals will expire, but solid resources can be used year after year after year!

Have I convinced you yet to ask your admin to buy curriculum for you?? I sure hope so.

Something still holding you back from asking for help? Reach out to me here and let me know! I’d LOVE to empower you to ask for support and resources to do the job you love even better than you are now!

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