If you are looking to transition from teaching, read about the importance of networking in education or out of education in order to land a new position.
The Importance of Networking in Education and How To Start
Teaching can often feel like a very isolated job. After getting to school early, you can feel shut out from the rest of society. Hiding behind closed doors to grade without interruptions, scurry to the copy machine during lunch break, and work after your kids leave. By the time you leave for the day, you’re so exhausted, you go home and collapse. One thing I’ve realized, is not only are teachers isolated, but in many ways, schools are isolated from the rest of the world outside.
Think of the last time you had lunch “in the real world” on a school day (or a normal day to everyone else). Were you curious what the people around you working on laptops do for a living? As teachers, this world is completely foreign to us. We operate in the bubble of our school, our classrooms, our world.
Networking is responsible for at least 70% of the current jobs today. When a teacher is looking to transition out of the classroom, networking should be one of the FIRST action items. I want to share the importance of networking in education and how you can get started. So how does a teacher start networking?
Start Networking Virtually
If heading out into the world to meet strangers intimidates you, start online first. This has been the most successful route for me. I have been able to leverage networking to grow my own side business while I’m still in the classroom. I grew connections in the following familiar platforms:
Getting Started Networking Online
Start following the people you’d like to be connected to. Because I love education and writing, I focus on blogs that feature educational content and educational influencers. The more famous they are, the larger reach they will have. However, the larger they are also means they may be harder to connect with.
After I’ve followed specific people, I start to engage and interact. Leaving comments and adding value to their space makes me stand out in their world and on their platform.
This is so easy that you can do while watching reruns. If you like to write, offer to guest post on a blog. Some times these opportunities are paid, but even when they are not, they are great exposure.
Once you have made these virtual connections, keep an eye out for ways to extend them into the real world. Maybe you’re going to a conference. Reach out to see if you can meet a virtual friend IRL (but make sure you are careful)! If you connect with someone who lives in your area, see if you can secure a coffee date to meet.
I was so ecstatic at NCTE this year when one of the people I’ve met through social media, Angela Stockman, knew me! She knew me from my blog, my posts on Cult of Pedagogy, and from other platforms. This reinforced that I’ve planted some seeds and if/when the time comes, I may be able to reach out to those social media friends.
This just goes to show just how important networking in education can be and how you can use it to find jobs for former teachers.
To help you gain confidence in your qualifications, I recommend you learn what transferable skills teachers have.
If you’re ready to make the move from the classroom to your next career, then you have to be proactive. Online networking can be as simple as getting on LinkedIn and reaching out to someone in your dream position to ask a few questions.
If you’re interested in taking this plan a further, check out the Teacher Career Coach blog, Facebook group, and consider taking the Teacher Career Coach Course.
There are so many great resources: videos to guide you through the process of marketing yourself, creating a resume, cover letter, elevator pitch; a guide for writing down all of your notes and ideas; and a ton of resources for finding companies who hire teachers, tools for transitioning, etc. Check out the Teacher Career Coach reviews to hear what other teachers are saying about this course.
Written By Kristy Louden of Louden Clear In Education.