Career, Change, Life, Rambles

Hire a teacher…no regrets

I recently spoke with a recruiter who brought up a few points that I found interesting. The recruiter recognized my experience and acknowledged that I had the qualifications for the position and would likely do well in it.  A few concerns were raised. The recruiter felt the position would be a step back and that I would be bored with the role. I asked for clarification. She pointed out that the position only required 2-3 years of classroom experience and that was mostly who filled the role.  I have 18 years of experience and am seeking a career change. Here’s what I wish she understood…

Someone with 2-3 years of classroom experience barely has experience relevant enough to offer any understanding of the classroom.  If that is all you have, you did not make it long enough to develop professionally. That is not a slight, but a truth. It takes at least 3 years for an instructor to get acclimated to the demands of k-12 education.  It is not easy. Most teachers will tell you that the first year was awful and they don’t know why they stuck it out.  They didn’t figure things out until the 3rd year. I stuck it out because I refuse to fail.  Lasting 18 years is the result of diversifying my experiences. I was fortunate to teach in rural, suburban, and urban (inner city) teaching environments. Opportunities for curriculum and course design were given to me.  Developing and coordinating programs to increase achievement and graduation rate were a part of my inner city adventure. My job description, although still in the classroom, was changing on a semi-regular basis and I embraced each opportunity.  That change kept me in the classroom during times when I was ready to walk away.  I learned how to manage a classroom, deliver content, and make a difference in my organization. Now I seek a career change and bring to the table a variety of educational experiences and a skill set that is easily transferable.   I know that I will not start out a manager level, but I hope that through hard work and dedication I will eventually be able to make a difference in the organization that will give me that opportunity.

Why should a company hire a former teacher?

They have a lot to offer. Think about it.  A veteran teacher can offer instruction and explanation that is clear, concise, and relatable.  Multi-tasking is an everyday requirement for teachers. Juggling multiple projects will not be a problem.  Planning, both short and long-term, is essential to the success of a teacher and a new hire to any corporate role.  As an excellent researcher, both as a historian and educational specialist, I am able to quickly find what is needed.  Analytics is also a part of the teacher’s role. Today’s schools are data driven and instruction is frequently adapted to improve areas of deficiency. That brings me to one of the most important skills and characteristics of a good teacher, adaptability.   Flexibility and the ability to adapt at a moments notice is essential.  Technology fails. Students fail to grasp an essential concept and instruction has to be quickly adapted. Schedules change regularly.  Finally, teachers are trainable. New technology, requirements, and assignments change regularly. Implementation requires training, and exploration of whatever new tool is the requirement.

As for being bored in a new position, I am seeking a career change and have done so with great research and thought. Interacting with adults on a daily basis and working with technology is what I am seeking. I assure you there will be no boredom with the new adventure. I will not miss a classroom of 35 students all with different learning abilities and instructional needs. I will not miss my 21 minute lunch taken with 200 of my favorite students where I am interrupted numerous times for “I forgot” requests.  I am ready for a new career challenge and I am ready for a new opportunity to grow.  If the pace is slower than the classroom, I am embracing it. If it is just a fast and furious, I will still embrace it.  It is the choice that I am making. If the salary target is close, the other benefits will far make up the difference.  I am ready to be out of the classroom and accept all the differences that come with it.

Recruiters, if a candidate has the required qualifications and seems like a good fit, give them a chance. If the only thing holding you back is  your perception of them being bored in the role…let the candidate decide after more investigation.  Let the candidate decide if the compensation and benefits are enough to pull them away from their current position.

Give a veteran teacher a chance.

For more information on why teachers make excellent additions to a corporate team, check out the following:

7 Reasons to Hire a Former Teacher

Why You Should Hire a Teacher

10 Reasons You Should Hire Teachers


Thanks for reading. Remember: Live life. Give joy. Be at peace.

Career, Change, Instructional Design, Learning and Development

In transition

I am opening the door on the next step in my professional journey. I wish to transition from the secondary classroom into corporate learning and development/instructional design. My research is proving to be disheartening. There is so little respect for the k-12 educator. There is little understanding that the skill set required to educate young minds transfers to the corporate world. In fact, I presume that it is easier.  Let’s face it, no one in corporate America is going to require an IEP or 504 plan so that their instructional experience is differentiated to their very specific learning need.  No one in corporate America requires a PEP for their specific learning need…actually, you know, that is probably not true.  If corporate America is anything like working with my teacher colleagues (and my husband works in corporate America so I know that there are shocking similarities) some absolutely need a PEP in order to complete the technology tasks expected of them.  It amazes me how many professionals in the 21st Century cannot perform basic computer tasks.

I recently completed a brief synopsis on why I am seeking certification in Instructional Systems Technology.  My response is below.

With 18 years of education experience, a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Science Secondary Education and a Master’s in American History it is time that I broaden my career options. I am applying for the Instructional Systems Technology certification program so that I may further explore instructional design and current theories of learning.

I have a proven ability to design instructional models to meet the needs of a diverse audience.  Flexibility, creativity, and management skills have allowed me to successfully implement curriculum requirements and deliver content in an efficient, appropriate and beneficial manner.  I am skilled in technology usage and evaluation models, as well as possess excellent communication and time management skills.  My current classroom is 80% paperless using Canvas as my LMS platform. I am familiar with multiple LMS systems and with Instructional Design programs. Achieving certification for Instructional Design is the logical next step for me to transition my career to a corporate setting.

My diverse teaching experiences have prepared me for this area of study. In my previous post as teacher and site coordinator of ‘”my school’s” online credit recovery program utilizing APEX learning systems I was able to design multiple courses using the platform available and discussing curriculum needs with subject matter experts.  Data from student use and program completion was a key tool in our push for implementation of school improvement goals and program use increased graduation rate. It was my responsibility to utilize course instructional modules and site coordinator reports to monitor progress and ensure completion to improve graduation outcomes. Working with a small team of educators, I helped grow the Apex utilization program from a brief, twice a week, credit recovery program to a year-round program- taking place during school, after-school, and as an independent credit recovery option for struggling students.  Initially we were using the Apex program as designed, but found it necessary to customize content to suit “state and local” course requirements.  I was responsible for the design of multiple courses. As Apex course offerings and our own understanding of what Apex could provide improved, our credit recovery program was enhanced. We expanded from using Apex as a credit recovery tool to a comprehensive credit recovery program; I was instrumental in creating teacher-training tools and implementing broader strategies for utilization.

In preparation for this career transition I have begun the process of further refining my personal brand and enhancing my skill set. I am refreshing my understanding of learning models and studying current trends for instructional design and adult learning theory.  I am also gaining additional knowledge and expertise with programs such as Captivate and expanding my utilization of blended learning strategies in my personal classroom. I have begun providing professional development for colleagues who need assistance with k-12 technology implementation and tools.

In the future, I plan to transition out of the classroom and offer my expertise in the field of learning and development, as well as instructional design. The Graduate Certificate Program in Instructional Systems Technology will help further my career goals and provide the necessary means to transition to areas outside the k-12 classroom. It will also allow me to hold the necessary endorsements to continue in K-12 technology instruction if the opportunity presents.

The delivery format of the certification program allows me to continue my career in the k-12 classroom. The content knowledge gained will also help me be a better instructional specialist for my clientele.

My next considerations have to be: Is a certification program enough?  I feel like it should be. However, my research shows that industry leaders look down upon educators. There is no confidence in the transferable skill set.  I assure you, the skills are there. The juggling act of a k-12 educator is rather impressive. Until he met me, my husband had no idea what teachers faced on a daily basis.  He has been shocked and saddened.  I think that corporate America shuns the transitioning educator because they are uninformed and lack the knowledge that a personal association provides. Also, currents trends are to vilify teachers who are overworked and (I would say underpaid, but I don’t think that is always the case so…) underappreciated.

Thanks for reading. I will leave you with a quote from fellow teacher Keith Hughe’s

Where attention goes, energy flows.