2008-01-19 11:42 PM

“Clients” in Teaching

Ever since I heard Jay Abraham explain the difference between a customer and a client I’ve considered everyone I interact with as a client. Merriam-Webster quickly shows the difference in attitude with the first definition of each word.

customer : one that purchases a commodity or service
client : one that is under the protection of another

Set aside the curse embodied in being a commodity. As a consumer would you rather be approached as “one that purchases” or “one that is under [my] protection”? This one word change (and the attitude that goes with it) may be the difference between a transaction with a customer and a relationship with a client.

In education there are several similar distinctions to be made.

student : one who attends a school
pupil : a child or young person in school or in the charge of a tutor or instructor

teacher : one whose occupation is to instruct
mentor : a trusted counselor or guide

When students are thought of as customers then teachers become commodities and are interchangeable. When pupils are considered clients then mentors become irreplaceable because of the trust and experience involved in the relationship.

Where in your life are you treating people as if they just show up (customer, student) when you could build a relationship (client, pupil)?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan 1 Comment »

One Comment on ““Clients” in Teaching”

  1. Rob Says:

    this is a good one too… i’ll have to forward this one to some people. :)

Leave a Reply