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The ROI of Teaching

It’s priceless.

Nov 16 , 2019

We know more now about how people learn than ever before. With these new insights comes a great responsibility to improve the educational experience for students as well as teachers—and thanks to a whole slew of trends, we have many options to do just that. 

In business, the value of something usually comes down to one big measurement: Return on Investment, or ROI. It’s a term thrown around to look at the success of marketing campaigns and new product lines, but it’s also a popular metric for a person’s life and career. 

Individuals will look at the time they devote to something and then asses the value they’re receiving for it, whether that’s actual compensation or another measure of if the action is worthwhile. While it’s tempting to use money or time or another traditional criterion to evaluate a career in education, perhaps it’s better to redefine ROI as Return on Impact. 

Return on Impact: A better measurement for educators

Traditional indicators of success don’t always apply to a career in education. No fancy titles or the promise of seven-figure salaries; no new products or service lines to brag about on Twitter—just a consistent beat of steady progress from one end of the school year to another, only to begin again next year. 

Yet, as any experienced educator knows, there is so much more to what is being accomplished than how it looks through a “business” lens. Learning and student achievement are complex and individual equations and, many times, progress looks like a needle that’s barely shifting, only to leap forward in a year or two. That is impact: the practice of sowing wisdom, imparting information and guiding behavior for the long-term benefit of the student. 

If we look at what educators accomplish through that perspective—a Return on Impact—the value of a career as a teacher, counselor or administrator is priceless. It is literally immeasurable. What you do each and every day changes the course of young people’s lives, allowing them to achieve great things and live a life of their own choosing. A good education is a valuable asset that you keep with you always, and each educator a young person encounters is giving them a massive return on their educational investment.