Leadership and Management, Data, Technology, and Social Skills
Educators are being released from districts around the U.S. due to financial difficulties. Some teachers are having to find more conducive work environments due to districts either doing virtual, in-class learning, or some combination that just doesn’t work for them.
Others are experiencing a loss in wages and the need to find a secondary source of income to supplement their teaching paycheck.
Regardless of the situation, highlighting these skills should give you an advantage when looking for employment. Sometimes teachers don’t realize that they have so many usable skills in a variety of areas, and when you’re in any situation where you’re looking for employment, it’s easy to overlook some of your strengths, making your search more difficult.
Leadership and Management
Teachers don’t always think of themselves as leaders, but many of the classroom leadership and management skills set educators apart from other job-seekers.
Here are some of the ways you’ve developed management skills beyond what the average job-seeker may have developed if you can transfer those skills from leading kids to leading fellow adults.
Reflexes and Flexibility
Flexibility is huge when responding to the needs of clients and colleagues. We pivot in our lessons, our management, and our communication at a moment’s notice to meet the needs of our students. It’s really important to be able to highlight those skills.
Counseling and Advisory
You may not have to use this a lot, and perhaps your students are all 5 and 6-year-olds, and you feel like you are offering very simple counsel and advice, but you’re still going through the process. It takes excellent, authentic listening skills, reasoning, evaluation, and solution-finding to support people of any age this way.
Understanding personalities and knowing how to integrate them with the information people need is a great asset.
Again, solving problems with lots of moving parts is an essential, sought-after ability that not many people may have.
It’s not easy to coordinate all those moving parts, but for teachers, it’s a survival skill many deeply develop in their time teaching.
Critical Thinking, Judgement, and Decision-Making Skills
Management and leadership are other areas where those vital critical thinking, judgment, and decision-making skills can be useful. Strong leaders and good managers are able to think through situations quickly and thoroughly and make decisions for the greatest good of a team. Be sure to highlight these skills in any job you may be seeking.
The ability to multitask well is a huge asset to any career. For educators, it’s another survival skill, so most of us have developed this ability beyond the rate of many fellow job-seekers.
It’s possible that this skill is one you’ve overlooked. You may use negotiation skills in behavioral management, in creating special education documentation and forming individualized plans for students, and in working with families, colleagues, and administrators. Be sure to emphasize this asset. It’s a wonderful skill for a leader or manager to have.
Ability to Analyze and Improve Systems
Again, you can’t fix something unless you know it isn’t working. Teachers are really great at this, even though many don’t even realize they are doing it.
Another significant asset educators must have to survive in teaching is time management. This skill is vital to the working of a school. We often have to manage our time and the time of our students to the minute in order to get the maximum outcomes for everyone.
There are few jobs that wouldn’t view this as a major asset.
We’ve managed to mention data again and again in several aspects, but it deserves it’s own time just to emphasize the importance of data skills.
Educators have to have the ability to evaluate data, understand the data, and make data-informed decisions. These are crucial skills to have and an unavoidable part of a successful lesson cycle.
Teachers also have to constantly monitor the progress of their students based on agreed-upon standards. Teachers also have to monitor each individual student, making multitasking and coordinating skills a critical aspect of skills for utilizing data.
Technology may not be your strongest suit, but don’t underestimate your abilities. When applying skills to a new trade, everything counts - word processing programs, the internet, grade-keeping software, presentation software, typing skills, and any work you’ve done with record-keeping and communication using technology are all marketable.
You may want to familiarize yourself with the most used technology, apps, and software in whatever field you are looking into. Knowing the basics of how each one functions can be a very important leg-up when you’re competing for a new job.
Teachers are known as service-oriented, responsible people. You are used to making decisions that affect lives, making choices for students “in place of a parent”, as one of the most important aspects of education. We are in charge of the safety and well-being of our students as well as their education, and that is a huge responsibility.
Highlighting that is a good call when talking about how your experiences can help you in a new career.
Teachers also have a significant advantage in our ability to “read the room”. We often have a heightened sense of social perceptiveness. That can be a great asset to any people-centered vocation.
Looking for a new job is stressful and difficult, especially right now. If you’re in the situation of having to job-search, hopefully these things will help. We know that it can be a blow to the self-esteem to unexpectedly be part of downsizing, even if the reasoning has only to do with finances and numbers. Use the information above to describe your own work, and perhaps it can give you the thing you need to set you apart from the pack.
If you aren’t currently searching for employment, use this information and update your resume or CV just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need it. It can really help you rest easier at night knowing that you’ve got a backup plan.
Even if you have no reason to prepare or plan, paying attention to these skills and honing them can only help you advance your education career. It may be the thing that helps you stay where you are as a critical employee rather than being up for that dreaded downsizing list.