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As the end of yet another school year approaches some teachers are taking the initiative to create their class syllabi for the upcoming school year, some are looking for other teaching opportunities, and a growing number are contemplating leaving the profession altogether. A word from the wise, the initial excitement of a career change can soon lead to disappointment and disillusionment. I found a few things out the hard way, and as a result have at least five versions of my resume that showcase the skills and experiences I have acquired as a teacher in a way that best fits the job for which I am applying.
One of the most shocking revelations for me as I began preparing myself for a career change was that most employers – whether in corporate America or non-profit -tend to infantize teachers and minimalize what we do. I have received many proverbial pats on the head at the end of an interview. These have toughened me up and taught me a great deal. Most of us have become accustomed to this type of treatment from our administrators, but to find this is how many “on the outside” also view us was a bit troubling. Even when I have been told by people in my social circle that they admire me for being a teacher, that teachers do not make nearly enough, it is because they see us as having the most stressful baby-sitting job in America.
If you are one of the many teachers thinking of leaving the Smart Board, faculty meetings, and chronic UTIs behind, let’s take a critical look at what you really know how to do.
Management/Supervisory: Teachers manage up to 30 or more people at least three times a day, depending upon whether they teach a block or traditional schedule. That can = totals of 100+ “employees”. Teachers conduct an equal number of performance evaluations every four to six weeks, with a final performance evaluation give to each “employee” at the end of the year.
Project Management: Teachers plan and oversee large and small-scale projects designed for both group and individual deployment.
Strategic Planning: Teachers must plan strategically in order to meet overall objectives for optimum ROI (Return on Investment). Teachers recognize that if they are unsuccessful in the onboarding process of their planned initiatives, that high turn-over and loss of revenue could result.
Conflict Management: Teachers must have and exercise strong conflict management and resolution skills for not only their students, but also in regard to parents and colleagues.
Data Collection and Analysis: Teachers have the ability to collect and assess data efficiently and often at a glance using both formal and informal measurements.
Communication Skills: Teachers communicate on average with over 100 people per day using various mediums from face to face, email, text messages, and even video conferencing.
Fiduciary/Budgeting: Teachers must plan budgetary expenses to ensure the work day needs of 100 or more individuals are met for 180 days of the year.
Research and Development: Teachers must research various topics and develop appropriate vehicles for conveyance and dissemination of information.
Public Relations: Teachers recognize that they are emissaries of their institutions and that their conduct is reflective upon their industry and the institutions with which they are employed. Teachers communicate with various stake-holders and community members in order to keep all parties apprised of goals and objectives.
Diversity and Inclusion: Teachers must create workspace that is inclusive for all individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, or political affiliations.
These are just a few of the skills and knowledge teachers possess that can be translated into employment or even business ownership outside of education. Be prepared to pitch these skills and demonstrate through analogy and example how these are relatable and translatable skills.
As a Navy veteran, I remember leaving the service and joining the civilian workforce. Employers with whom I interviewed were always impressed with my skill set, but most of all they knew that as a U.S. Military veteran, I also had discipline and character.
Teachers have the discipline to get up and go to work 190 days per year whether they or even their children are ill. When they cannot be at work, they manage their classrooms remotely, as they are required to have lessons planned for substitutes.
Teachers have the character to influence and inspire the next generation. Few people can share how a boss has influenced or inspired them, nearly every successful person can name a teacher who has.