I’ll be honest–I fell into teaching after graduating from college. I didn’t major in education; I’d only taken two education courses. I’d never dreamed of becoming a teacher. I simply didn’t have a solid career plan, and having majored in English, everyone asked me the same question: “So are you going to teach or what?”
So I did. It seemed like a logical career path. Although I loved most of my students, for a variety of reasons I detested the job itself and vowed never to return to teaching after spending one long year teaching high school.
I spent about 15 years exploring various career pursuits—most of them related to writing and student services in higher education—until I returned to teaching after earning my Master’s degree in English language and literature. I love students and teaching. I’m still teaching as an adjunct faculty member while managing my career coaching business.
What’s your story? How did you become involved in education? Which chapter are you writing right now?
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you relate to my experience; you desire change. You may feel frustrated with your teaching position itself, or maybe you’ve been teaching for years and are simply exhausted and have determined it’s time to pursue a different career path altogether.
Whatever your circumstances, you’re in a good place to make a change.
Why? Educators understand better than most professionals how to take the following four steps.
- Transform frustration into constructive, future-focused action.
As a teacher, you’re accustomed to problem-solving on the spot and to making the best of bad situations. You have probably transformed a shabby, cinder-blocked classroom into a Pinterestesqe wonderland on a budget of $300 or less each fall. You have scoured the internet for quizzes, downloads, and videos and are the queen of all things royalty-free.
Do not allow frustration with your current job situation—or even your overall career field—to weigh you down.
Instead, let that frustration fuel you as you focus on planning your future. Every time you feel downtrodden or frustrated with work, allow yourself five or 10 minutes to make notes about people in your preferred career fields with whom you could reconnect over winter break. Take five minutes during your planning period to write a thank you note to someone you currently work with—fellow teachers, counselors, or partners in other districts. Maintaining current connections is just as vital as networking with people outside your current circle of influence, too. And when you find yourself sick of grading at night, take a 15-minute break and sign up with two job search agents (online job boards).
- Create a plan, set specific goals, and meet deadlines.
You create curriculum and lesson plans, for Pete’s sake. You do this every day! You’ve got this.
What’s your overall objective? To land your dream job.
How will you get there? Outline a plan, step by step, to help you reach your goals. Use your school’s academic terms to shape your plan. Count out the number of weeks left in the academic year and set small, attainable goals (with weekly deadlines).
Are you hoping to transition from teaching to a career in educational sales? You’ll need to revamp your resume to highlight skills and accomplishments valued in the world of business, sales, and marketing. Do you have many professional contacts at educational/academic companies? Allot time to network online and to reconnect with old acquaintances by phone.
- Identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Showcase your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
As a teacher, you’re constantly asked to assess yourself and your students. This is nothing new to you. Now it’s time to assess yourself as a job seeker.
If your resume is already strong, and you are a fantastic writer, bypass seeking help with your resume and cover letter. Perhaps you need assistance in answering on-the-spot interview questions instead, or maybe you feel nervous about networking with employers at events and dinners. Whatever your weaknesses, don’t pull the ostrich-in-the-sand move and ignore them. Work to improve yourself this fall, and in early spring, you’ll be ready to apply for jobs.
- Ask for help. Don’t make the job search process harder than necessary.
If you find it difficult to create an action plan, set small, achievable goals to transition out of teaching and talk to others who are doing the same. If you discover your resume needs a major overhaul, and you lack social media skills, and you haven’t interviewed for a job in five years, perhaps you should contact me and let me coach you through the process.
It’s okay to admit you need guidance. As we advise our students, the sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can move toward the solution—the transition to a brand new career.
Ready for a change? Contact me to schedule a free career coaching consultation.