Educators And New Career Paths: Self-Motivation, Discipline and Lifelong Learning

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A few months ago, I wrote an article entitled: Alternatives to Teaching: 20 Companies That Hire Teachers. Within 3 days, the article received over 20,000 unique views. Today, it is still my #1 story. Over 500 educators have reached out to me for career guidance. This article is not about why teachers want to leave the classroom; it is about how teachers can leave the classroom. If you are one of those teachers, I implore you to make a change. Why? You are the epitome of education, and if you are unhappy, the students are unhappy as well. You set the mood and the tone of the classroom. Everyone involved suffers when the energy coming from the classroom teacher is negative. You cannot be an effective teacher if you dislike teaching.

Make a change, not only for yourself, but also for the 30 beautiful faces that look up to you each day. Please don’t cheat them of this precious time. Make a logical decision and make a move. Research your alternatives. Start learning new skills in the summer.

If your passion has run its course, stay true to the promise you made when you received your teaching certificate. Find the courage to close the door, and start opening a new window now. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the very first step. Be prepared for setbacks, rejections, and failures, as these experiences will prepare you for success.

Here are 20 tips to the start of a new journey:

  1. Make a decision.
  2. Assess your situation (financially and personally).
  3. What would you do if you could it? What is your passion?
  4. Assess all of your skills.
  5. Assess transferable skills combined with passion to see if there is a career match.
  6. Research companies that hire employees with your skills (Linkedin has a large amount of educational based companies).
  7. Start building a brand for yourself (Linkedin).
  8. Join Linkedin groups and start talking and learning from others.
  9. Be a leader by sharing your knowledge.
  10. Reach out to others and learn how to network properly (networking is not only about you; it is about a mutual relationship helping each other and/or helping another person). Networking is not about connecting with someone and then selling a product or begging for information. Networking is a 2 way street of giving and creating relationships that develop over time.
  11. Start writing or blogging and share your work in Linkedin groups, on Facebook and on Twitter.
  12. Learn about the corporate world vs. non-profit (if you choose this route).
  13. Keep building your brand (consider how will you stand out) and be a thought-leader in your field.
  14. Don’t tell me. Show me. Research this statement.
  15. Understand that this is an ongoing project about you. Building up your brand takes time. Be patient. Change will not occur overnight, and may take years.
  16. Look for mentors and ask for help. If you want to start your own company, try to connect with people who have made such a transition.
  17. Be pro-active in learning new skills. The Internet is filled with free classes and training. Check out coursera.org.
  18. If you do not have technical skills, start learning about those in demand and take classes and training online! Instructional design is a great place for teachers to explore.
  19. Use Linkedin’s search tools to find education companies (or other companies) that hire those with an educational background.
  20. Be an active voice in your community and always give back. Help others along the way.

Remember, you are the driver of the car. There are no handouts or free rides. If you want to make a change, you have the power to do it. However, you have to want it, envision it and work very hard to establish yourself in a new light. There is no easy transition or magical wand to wave.

I lived it. I worked day and night. I wrote all of the time. I learned how to design and manage WordPress sites. I learned new technological skills. I did all of this on my own by reading, researching, and becoming a pro-active learner. If you are ready to steer your car in a new direction, only you can maneuver the wheel where you want to go. Make your road map and make your name. You will find success if you are dedicated, self-motivated and committed to self-learning. Nobody can make this change for you or tell you the exact road to take; it is up to you to discover and find your route.

The tools are at your disposal. Find them, use them, and start changing your life today.

You can read more about my story on Linkedin’s corporate blog, my profile, or please see the presentation below.