If you are looking to transition from your current teaching position, read about the importance of networking in education in order to land a new position.
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.
The Importance of Networking in Education
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??
Get Started by 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:
Start following the people you’d like to be connected to. Because I love education and writing, I focused 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. I found that many influencers are very open and easy to connect with. They understand the importance of networking in education, too.
The Importance of Online Networking in (and out of) Education
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.
Making Connections in the Real World
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 in real life (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 (National Council of Teachers of English) 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.
The connections I made online and in real life helped me secure my first corporate job as an instructional designer. Building on these connections later helped me launch my website and podcast, and grow into being a small business owner – something I only dreamed about when I was working long hours in the classroom.
This just goes to show the importance of networking in education can be and how you can use it to find jobs outside of the classroom and even launch you into your new career!
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.
I can’t stress the importance of networking in education enough. When it comes to taking steps toward your new career, networking is crucial, but it’s only one step. You’ll also need to develop a professional resume, apply for positions, nail that interview, and negotiate a salary for your new position.
That’s why I made the Teacher Career Coach Course. It’s a complete guide to leaving teaching and stepping into a new career. Take a look at how Claire landed a position as an educational consultant with an Ed. Tech company.
This course is full of great resources to help you on your journey. You’ll find more about the importance of networking in education, how and where to network, plus:
- Videos to guide you through the process of marketing yourself
- Help creating your professional resume, cover letter, and elevator pitch
- Guide for writing down all of your notes and ideas
- Plus a ton of resources for finding companies who hire teachers and tools for transitioning
Find out more about the Teacher Career Coach Course or start with the quick quiz below to help you figure out what opportunities are out there for you!
Written By Kristy Louden of Louden Clear In Education.