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A Career Change to Teaching: 4 Tips for Success

A Career Change to Teaching: 4 Tips for Success

For those who have a burning desire to teach and have extensive subject matter expertise, a career change to teaching can be rewarding.

Some of the best teachers come from the ranks of industry professionals. Not only do they bring career experience and subject-matter expertise, but they also bring a fresh perspective that informs their instruction in the classroom. In my experience as a second-career high school teacher, I found that my students were eager to learn from my real-world experience and valued my insight into the corporate workplace.

Working with young people can be immensely rewarding, and for industry professionals who dream of the chance to make a difference in the world, teaching can be very appealing. In short, welcoming second-career teachers into the classroom can be a winning solution for all involved. 

However, for teachers considering a move like this, there isn’t always a lot of guidance. So, here are four key tips to success for industry professionals looking to transition into the classroom, based on my experience of moving from a marketing career to teaching high school. 

4 Tips for Success When Thinking About a Career Change into Teaching

Tip 1: Research Alternative Licensure Programs

If you’re ready to transition, the first step is to query your state’s requirements for teaching certification. While rules for each state vary, an alternative teaching certification can often be earned within 12-24 months with candidates that have a bachelor’s degree. In-classroom teaching experience and mentoring are most likely included in the certificate training. Research your own state or district’s licensure requirements and reach out to your local school district to learn more about what job openings they have so you can make an informed decision about your new career opportunities. With the nation’s teaching shortages, there are many school districts offering perks, like paying for teaching licenses. I’d recommend researching the best certification options and a program that is the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) certified. 

Tip 2: Establishing Systems of Support

While being an educator is a rewarding profession, there is no denying it is also quite challenging, particularly in the first few years.  Once you begin your classroom prerequisites or land your first teaching job, among the many obstacles new teachers encounter are:  

  • Addressing student behavior in the modern classroom. 
  • Engaging students with varying levels of motivation.
  • Supporting students with learning differences.
  • Planning, executing, and analyzing student assessments.
  • Navigating relationships with parents.
  • Locating necessary resources, including the time needed to address all the above and more!

Having support systems in place for new teachers who encounter these elements is critical for their success, growth, and continued perseverance in the profession. 44% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and burnout is usually the culprit. 

In my case, I spent far too much time obsessing over crafting the ‘perfect’ lesson entirely from scratch. I was convinced that I would fail if I didn’t spend extra hours meticulously crafting activities and lessons, and I was certainly not the first educator to experience this feeling.

Many trusted resources are available to make teaching easier and more enjoyable, one of which is your fellow educators. Your colleagues love to teach, and that includes guiding your efforts and helping you succeed. Tap into their expertise, and ask what other supports they utilized when they were early on in their teaching career.

Tip 3: Formative Assessments to Measure Yourself

Often, teachers who initiate a move from another profession know the subject matter thoroughly but question the extent of their strengths and weaknesses. When most people hear the word assessment, they often associate it with an end-of-unit check on learning, whether you are an educator or a student. However, formative assessment is a process used to provide information on learning as it develops. I suggest going through career prep courses, like skill-based learning courses, to have a greater understanding of your strengths and have a greater understanding of what age group and subjects you can excel at in teaching. Some digital tools even provide embedded questions within each lesson to use as quick checks on understanding; aids like these will help you gauge your effectiveness. All of those assets will be helpful when you are ready to start building your resume and applying for your new career! 

Tip 4: Use Technology for Efficiency and Digital Collaboration 

Become familiar with your school’s technology resources to choose relevant, pre-written lesson plans to augment classroom learning. A wide variety of digital materials can save valuable time during your prerequisite teaching credential requirements and for early educators, while the outcome enriches your student’s learning. Some even provide a rich database of standards-aligned content students can use during daily class assignments or projects.

Beyond utilizing your school’s technology offerings to increase your efficiency, digital collaboration with your colleagues will become second nature.  

Digital collaboration not only allows you to share materials across teacher groups quickly, but it also allows you to enrich lessons with tried-and-true materials and strategies from your fellow educators. Why reinvent the wheel?

Transitioning from the industry world to a school environment is a rewarding and challenging experience. Tapping into the knowledge of your colleagues, leveraging well-placed education technology, and utilizing support systems will set you up for success as you embark on your new journey. Gather your tools and enjoy your new profession as you motivate and inspire the workers and leaders of tomorrow.


About the Author

Women Thrive Magazine Article Author - Aimee Heavener

Name: Aimee Heavener

Professional Title: K-12 Marketing Manager

Bio: Aimee Heavener is a K-12 Marketing Manager at Gale, part of Cengage Group, and dedicated to supporting educators. She has taught gymnastics to preschoolers, marketing to high schoolers, and personal finance to adults. Mrs. Heavener lives in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, has been married for over 20 years and, in her free time, she likes to hassle her three teenage children and spoil her three rescue dogs. She can be contacted at aimee.heavener@cengage.com or via LinkedIn.

Website: www.gale.com

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Media platform spotlighting and celebrating entrepreneurial women and their achievements. Creating a platform where every woman can be seen and heard. We are disrupting the media industry by democratising media channels for women. If you have a business or an idea and you would like to rise and thrive, you are in the right place.

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