From Teacher to Project Manager

EP 44 – Amy Newman: From Teacher to Project Coordinator


In this episode, I interview Teacher Career Coach Course graduate and 18 year veteran teacher, Amy Newman, about her new position as a project coordinator. Listen in as Amy shares her story and insight into her new role and talks about the impact it’s made on her overall happiness. 

Recap and BIG Ideas:

  • Amy’s career did not start in education, but she was a teacher for 18 years.
  • When it comes to finding a career outside of teaching, oftentimes networking is key. Tell people you are searching and you never know who will be able to help you.
  • Now that she is out of the classroom and working remote, Amy has such a great work-life balance to be able to enjoy time with her family.
  • Many jobs have a bit of a learning curve, but for teachers it is no different than having to implement new platforms in the classroom or having to change everything to teach virtually. You can learn what you see in job descriptions.
  • Don’t doubt yourself. Teachers have so much to offer.

Listen to the episode in the podcast player below, or find it on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

From Health Education, to Teacher, to Project Coordinator

DAPHNE (WILLIAMS) GOMEZ: Hello, Amy, I am so excited to speak with you today.  

AMY NEWMAN: Hello, I’m excited to be here. I’m so happy to finally talk to you because I’ve been keeping up with you on Instagram and just on your platform for so long, I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity right now. 

DAPHNE: If anybody could actually see the video, which they can’t, that is so kind of you to say, but I have no make-up on. But, I appreciate you saying this. I feel the same way when people have communicated with me or if they were in the Teacher Career Coach Course. I get all weird like, “You’re a real person. You’re a real human that I helped walk through the steps.” So, I still am feeling it on my end as well.  

I always like to start the podcast with just hearing a little bit about your experience as a teacher, why you went into teaching, how long you were teaching, just all of your history in education? 

AMY NEWMAN: I actually did not go to school to be a teacher. I have a degree in Health Education. Back in the day it was called Community Health and I minored in English. I started out my career working with a non-profit as a Project Coordinator and I was working with low-income schools in the district, and I just fell in love with being in the schools.

What we were trying to do with my initiative was to identify what we could do to make kids successful in school, no matter what their background was. I was interviewing a lot of teachers, and kids, and families, and just seeing what their needs were, identifying those needs, and trying to pair them with the programs that already existed in our county. So, I fell in love with it. I decided to get my teaching certificate and I taught for 18 years.  

I’ve listened to your podcast, and people talk on your podcast about loving being in the classroom, it’s just all the other stuff that went with it that I didn’t really enjoy. For the past few years I thought, “I really can’t see myself retiring as a teacher,” and I didn’t see myself moving into an admin role. That did not look like something I wanted to do.

So, I started asking my principal if I could do different jobs. Not really jobs that I was excited about, but thinking maybe I could do something to work with teachers, teacher training, things like that. And, there was just never anything for me. Then, I was scrolling Instagram, saw you on Instagram, and I signed up for the course that day. 

DAPHNE: Oh wow.  

AMY NEWMAN: Because, I just thought, “This looks great.” And, started working through the modules and gaining more and more confidence and figuring out that I could do something outside of the classroom. You just get so used to the day-to-day and you think, “This is all I know how to do.”  

DAPHNE: What is your new role?  

AMY NEWMAN: I am a Project Coordinator for an HR company.  

DAPHNE: What does that actually entail? What does your day-to-day look like in that role? 

AMY NEWMAN: My day-to-day is different every day. I just said, today is a pretty slow day because it’s a day before a holiday weekend. Typically, what my job looks like is that I am supporting consultants that work with executives in companies. I can’t say the companies that we’re working with, but they are huge companies. We work with their executive-level team. The consultants that I support do training, and development, coaching sessions, assessments, and so their main jobs are leadership development.

I support the consultants in what they’re doing. I manage project trackers for each company, I make sure that their appointments are scheduled, their assessments are complete. So, there are a lot of checklists.

If you’re someone that likes to look at a project and figure out what needs to be done, and who needs to do it, and it has to be done on a certain timeline. If you’re that kind of person and you have an attention to detail and you get excited about checking off the list, then this is the perfect job for you.  

The interview process was so easy because when you explain what you do as a teacher in the classroom, you’re project managing every day. And so, it’s just a beautiful transition from being in the classroom and the skillset that we have as teachers. 

DAPHNE: It sounds like you found a role that was perfect for you. Did you see this and just feel qualified right off the bat? 

AMY NEWMAN: Yes. I remember being so nervous for the interview process. I had to do assessments for them. There were three lengthy interviews that I had to go through, but they were all so easy. I felt like when I told them what I did in my job they were impressed by that. Their jaws dropped like, “You do all of that?” So, I almost felt lke I was… I don’t want to say overqualified, but I felt like I could do this with my eyes closed.

So, all of the nervousness I felt about it… I was scrolling through LinkedIn, looking for job platforms, those types of things. The word is escaping me. But, I would go through job requirements and I would feel so inadequate, in “I don’t know what any of these programs, I don’t know what any of this means, there’s no way I could do this, I’m not qualified.”

Going through the interview process and actually having to talk about what I do, it made me think, “Oh yeah, I can do all of this. I’m doing it already, it’s just called something different.” 

Transitioning to a Role as a Project Coordinator: Finding the Perfect Job Can Come at Any Time

DAPHNE: How did you prepare for that interview? 

AMY NEWMAN: I talked to a recruiter. I started linking up with every recruiter I saw on LinkedIn, I would ask to be their friend. In your program you say, “Networking, tell everybody that you’re looking.” I spoke with a woman that is in my neighborhood, we play tennis together, and I said, “I’m looking for a job,” she said, “I think you’d be really good at what I do, here’s a recruiter that you could talk to.”

She helped me just work on my LinkedIn profile. I told her all of the things that I do and she worked with me on my resume. She’s actually the one that contacted me and said, “I have this company that I think you would be great for, do you want to interview for it?” That was in February and I thought, “This is terrible timing for the school year and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” and I felt terrible about leaving. 

But, my principal was so supportive of me. I think she knew that I had been unhappy for a long time. I also think, since I was leaving and not going to another school, she just thought, “There’s really nothing more I can do for you anyway to make you happier, so go, we’re happy for you. I know it’s going to be tough for us, but you need to do what’s best for you.” And so, I felt very supported in that. 

DAPHNE: That’s amazing, that you had such a supportive administrator and even a school staff. Because, I do know that this is something that people struggle with, the idea of, “What if the perfect job comes up between September and June? What am I going to do then?”

A lot of people, that’s a non-negotiable, and that’s something you have to decide with your own heart. I’m not going to make that decision for any person, and I’m also not going to judge any person for putting themselves or their family first if something comes up and they do have to make that tough decision. Because, it’s something that people, I’m sure you’ve, stay up at night about.

I will, in this podcast episode, link a blog that I wrote for anybody who’s listening who wants to know what potential things they should look for in their contract if they plan to quit midyear. Were there any sort of repercussions on your end about leaving the contract midyear? 

AMY NEWMAN: No. In fact, you said in one of the podcasts that this is one of the jobs that… In every other job, if you’re not happy and you want to leave, you just leave. In teaching, there’s such a guilt that comes along with that. You’re leaving the kids, you’re leaving the staff, and your team.

There just shouldn’t be that, but I know there is. But, with my contract, since I was leaving before the end of my contract, I actually received a check for the remainder of… Because the way the pay scale works and you are actually being paid 12 months for a nine month contract, I was paid out for the remainder of my contract and it was done.  

DAPHNE: As someone that has been in the classroom for a little bit longer, I feel like there are other factors at play that you probably had to consider, with weighing the pros and cons of whether or not you should just ride it out until you’ve completely vested into your pension or, “Is it even worth it to change if you only have blank amount of years left?”

How did you weigh the pros and cons? What kinds of factors were you looking and considering? 

AMY NEWMAN: Because I worked in another state, and then I moved to… I worked in Texas then I moved to Georgia, and I worked for a private school, so I didn’t have the state retirement program, the Teacher Retirement System, years in because the private school didn’t count for that. I had five years left until I would be able to get a Teacher Retirement here.

I thought, “Can I do this for five more years?” And the answer was, “Absolutely not.” I was just so exhausted and so burnout that even when I thought about it… We were talking about drawing out what I had in retirement here, my husband said, “Do you want to just wait and see if you’ll go back to teaching?” And I said, “No, it will never happen, I’m so much happier.” 

It’s amazing too, because my old teacher friends are texting me and asking me how things are going, and asking me what I’m doing, and everybody starts coming out of the woodwork.

It’s like Snow White’s animals in the forest coming out to say, “What are you doing? How’s it going? How did you do it?” So, I just feel like there are so many people that are struggling and you’re helping so many people with teachers leaving the classroom. It’s just the best thing that you could do.  

I was talking to someone recently that said, “How’s it going? Be honest with me, tell me if you really think you’re going to miss teaching in the fall when school starts?”

I said, “I feel like there will be a little twinge of, ‘This will be the first year in a very long time that I’m not getting my classroom set up and ready for school,’ but there’s such a peacefulness about my life now. I just remember being so exhausted, that I had nothing left to give at the end of the day, and I don’t feel that anymore.”  

DAPHNE: I felt the same way during the summertime. I only was in the classroom full-time as a teacher for three years, and every time during the summertime I did one summer vacation where I went buck-wild and went to the beach or took my dog on some weird road trip. And then, once back to school items came, it was a full month of the Sunday scaries.

It was dread, it wasn’t me getting excited about going back to work. Nobody’s excited about work. You don’t have to be singing and dancing like a musical, you’re so excited about Mondays, but the amount of dread and stress that your job is bringing you, you should notice if your body is that overwhelmed with just a position.

Because what you and I are describing is not every teacher. So, when you’re saying people are coming out of the woodworks, those are people who are afraid to talk about it before, afraid to look for other resources.

There weren’t other resources that existed prior, or they just didn’t know that it was possible because they talked themselves out of it. But, there might be 80% of the teachers at that same school, or that district, who are figuring out how to make it work for them and happy and going to stay for the remainder of their life. 

That’s just the fact of any sort of industry. In your project management type of role, 80% of the project managers might be happy and 20% might leave. It’s not the same as, “I can’t believe 20% left,” it’s, “We’ll figure it out and more people will come in who will fill those positions,” that’s just kind of the way that the world works.

I noticed that you said something about your mental health improving, you being much happier, how is your work-life balance in this position? 

Work-Life Balance as a Project Coordinator

AMY NEWMAN: It’s wonderful. I’m working remote and it will always be a remote position. A few weeks ago I was worried about this being my first summer of working, after so many years of not working in the summer, and I always go and visit family.

All of our family lives in Texas and I always make sure that I go in the summers to spend time with family and I was so worried that that was going to be taken away. Well, with a remote job, I can work anywhere that has Wi-Fi.

I had to send a notice to my boss and say, “I’m going to be driving on Friday, do you think it’s okay if I take the day off?” And she didn’t respond. And so, I had a meeting with her and I asked, “Is it okay? I sent you a request to take the day off on Friday, is that okay?” And she said, “Of course it’s okay,” she said, “If you need the time, take it.” I said, “I’ve never experienced this.”

Because, you know what it’s like to take a day off in teaching, they may say no. A lot of times they do say no. Or, you have to find a sub, and you have to have plans, and all this stuff. She was just like, “If you need the time, take it. I know you’re going to do your work.” 

DAPHNE: I think it’s Episode 17, I talk about how toxic the school year was and how I ended up leaving. My last principal, we would have two personal days that were supposed to just be personal sick days, she would still text message and say, “What did you do today? Why were you away from school?”

Even if you had a substitute, even if dotted all your i’s, crossed all your t’s, just such an extreme, toxic work environment, and micromanaging, and just not treating people like professionals.

That, when you leave that environment and you have this new sense of freedom, and not every school district, not every school is a toxic environment, but when you do find somebody who finally says, “What are you talking about? Take a week paid off of work.”

When you start to realize, “I can go to the grocery store in the middle of the day if I have this remote position,” or, “I can go on that road trip and still get paid and still do my job well,” it is life-changing.  

AMY NEWMAN: It is. We had a road trip, for Mother’s Day weekend, and I knew that I was going to be in the car the next day and I didn’t want to have to be on my laptop the whole time, so I just spent the evening before tying up loose ends and making sure I had as much as I could done, and that’s fine. I didn’t work for the next day. That’s just so freeing. 

This is something that I was thinking about too. I think that when you’re working with kids in a school environment, teachers get treated like we’re one of the kids a lot of times. When you’re asking permission to go do things, and you’re asking permission to take off, or asking permission to even go use the restroom, or take a lunch break.  

DAPHNE: Or if somebody’s appreciating you, if you have a whole year to think about how to appreciate you and you get a fun-size candy bar and a sticker that says, “I appreciate you.”

In other careers they’re like, “I appreciate you, here’s a bonus that’s a percentage of the revenue that we’ve received due to your hard work or your dedication.” But, in teaching it’s, “You get the luxury of wearing jeans on a Friday, you professional that probably has a master’s, and a credential, and has dedicated your life to learning and growing in this career, here are your jeans for what you’ve done.” 

AMY NEWMAN: Yeah. You get a pat on the head. That’s what I felt like. I felt like every treat was a pat on the head and it was, and especially in this past year, “We appreciate you so much, and you’re working so hard for the kids, and you’re doing so much, and you’re giving so much of yourself, thank you.” I don’t know. I need more than a jeans day. 

From Teacher to Project Manager

What Does it Take to Be a Project Coordinator

DAPHNE: I’m happy that you found a role that really has showcased appreciation for you already in just the beginning stages of it, where you feel comfortable asking for days off and you know that you’re qualified. I want to go a little bit more into this role that you have.

As you’re doing program management and you’re organizing things, are you using any sort of specific productivity software like Asana, Trello, Monday I think is another really popular one?  

AMY NEWMAN: We use Trello, we use RDS, we use Calendly because I’m scheduling everyone from all over the world.  

DAPHNE: Calendly is actually what I use to schedule the podcast interviews as well. It’s an automation software for anybody listening right now. It’s not something that a teacher necessarily would need to learn right this minute, because it is very easy to learn if you needed it as a program manager or any sort of role.

When it came to learning any of these softwares, even you said that you’re using Trello, did you feel like there’s a learning curve even with the software that you were learning?  

AMY NEWMAN: Yes, but I didn’t feel like it was so far beyond what we have to do every year as teachers. They adopt a new platform to use, we used so many things in the classroom in the past year that we all had to teach ourselves how to do.  

DAPHNE: People get spooked when they see all of these words and all of these platforms and one of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give you is if you’re looking at a job description and you’re scared… There are some that are more technically heavy. If you’re looking for instructional design positions, that’s going to take some work on your end.

I don’t want you to think you’re going to watch a 10 minute YouTube video and become an instructional designer afterwards. But, when it comes to these platforms, like Trello, you can learn that in 30 minutes and start using it actually in your classroom today.

It can help you save time and be productive in your day-to-day work as a classroom teacher, but also something that you can put down on a resume that you’ve used productivity software. 

AMY NEWMAN: That was something that when I was looking at the job requirements and you, “Have to be proficient and X, Y, and Z.” I would think, “Okay, that’s not really that difficult,” when I would actually look at what these platforms actually did.

And so, in my interview I said, “In the past year we had to completely change the way we’ve done everything, where we went completely virtual for most of the school year here. I had to teach myself. I had to watch YouTube videos on how to use these platforms.”

So, I said, “Whatever you throw at me, I’m going to be able to learn how to do it and I’m going to be able to do it well because that’s what we’ve done all year.” And, anytime I’ve had issues with something that I’ve had to do… Because, I’ll get emails about things that I need to do and I think, “Oh gosh, I don’t know how to do that.” And it’s just an email away or a, “Can you meet me in Google Chat really quick and talk this through?” It’s so easy to just get a reminder.  

If I ever say, “I can’t believe I don’t get this yet,” or, “This isn’t second nature to me yet,” and they’ll say, “You just started. Give yourself a pat on the back, you have learned so much and you’re doing such a great job in a short amount of time. You should not know everything right now.”  

DAPHNE: That’s the imposter syndrome in us. We look at these things and we felt proficient as teachers. I felt like a big dumb dumb even in my third year teaching, but that’s just because I had someone higher up telling me that I was a big dumb dumb every week. 

You feel like you know everything about your role, you get in this groove, and so your brain pushes back on trying something new or growing in a new capacity. You want to be comfortable immediately and that’s not where you grow. You’re not going to learn new skills, you’re not going to learn a new role unless you get uncomfortable and you start over again.

That stinks, but it’s part of this whole process and it’s one of the most exciting things that we can do at any age or any stage of our career is do something that scares us or that we’re not good at.  

AMY NEWMAN: Right. I think that is also why I’m feeling so happy, and healthy, and revived, because I’m 44 and I’m starting a whole new career. Six months ago I thought, “How in the world am I going to do this until I retire?”

And now, I’m thinking, “I could do this. This is great. I could do this until retirement and be perfectly happy with it. And, get promotions and raises. And, the pats on the back won’t be a jeans day, it will be a check or a promotion, and it will be a lot more fulfilling for me.”  

Exploring Roles Beyond Project Coordinator: Promotions and Pivots

DAPHNE: Yeah, once you’re in a company, depending on how large the company is and all of the structure, there is room for growth within that company. With me, at the position that I was in another education company as an instructional designer, there was potential for me to go up higher and doing sales trainings, training within all the sales team and creating all the instructional design resources for the sales team.

Or, I could have pivoted and gone over to the marketing team if I was more focused on things that were outside, like external communications. There were so many different places for me to go, and that’s also really exciting, that you get to learn these new skills and then collaborate with these different groups.

I kind of heard you talk on that a little bit, that there’s room for promotion. What types of roles are you seeing that you’re interested in exploring or that would be potential promotions from what you’re doing right now? 

AMY NEWMAN: Right now, I’m in the Project Coordination role, so I would be able to move into a Project Management role where I would be… Now, I’m the little worker bee, and I’m making sure everything is done when it’s supposed to be done, but as a project manager you are over the whole thing and you are the one who is making sure that everything is happening on a much larger level.

So, that changes your responsibilities, but it also changes how much you’re making and how many people you’re getting to interact with. So, that’s where I would move at some point. I’m already being groomed for that three months in, where I’m being offered tiny little projects to manage, of six people, and at some point it will be 50 to 100 people that I’ll be managing. That’s exciting because I feel like people are already noticing that I’m doing a good job and that I can handle it.  

DAPHNE: I feel like the onboarding at every company is different because if it’s a startup company like team Teacher Career Coach, if they’re listening right now I’m so sorry, I’m technically a startup. They’re probably like, “This girl, she is a mess.” So, there are some places where the onboarding or the project management is a little bit scattered.

Then, there are some places that have had a really smooth system for years and it’s really easy to catch on. I feel like that is something that’s been missing from the teaching program is you go in to teaching programs in schools and you watch a teacher, but they’re not really behaving the way that teachers behave. They’re usually probably pretending that they do things a certain way that they don’t maybe do if there wasn’t someone sitting in there as a student teacher. 

AMY NEWMAN: We call that the dog and pony show. 

DAPHNE: Yeah. I remember my first day as a teacher I realized, “Oh, there are all these books of lesson plans?” I’m not a dummy, but I went through two years of a program… And, I got thrown into the classroom as an actual intern, I was a paid intern because the school district was so desperate for teachers at that time that that was a program that they were doing.

But, I was looking and I was like, “Oh, I don’t have to create all the lesson plans from scratch like they were showing us how to do,” that connection was never made, that all the lesson plans were mostly done for you. There was never a sit down and how to read the actual books, how to actually use the lesson plans given to you class.

It shocked me when I opened this up and I thought, “Oh, cool, that’s something that was missing from this teaching program. I thought I was going to have to spend four hours, five hours every day for each lesson creating like you were creating.”  

In new roles, the onboarding is a lot… You’re actually watching the project manager while you’re learning from them, so it’s going to be an easier transition into that role for you.  

AMY NEWMAN: Absolutely.  

DAPHNE: You’re seeing the real day-to-day that they’re doing. 

AMY NEWMAN: Yes. I wanted to say, there are things that I loved about teaching that I thought, “Oh gosh, I’m really going to miss that.” I loved writing, I loved teaching writing. I still love writing.

I was talking to one of the consultants, who is in a women in leadership group at my company, and she said, “Would you be interested in conducting some interviews, women in leadership positions?” And she said, “Are you interested in writing? Did you do any writing as a teacher?” And I said, “Yes, I love writing,” and she said, “Would you be interested in interviewing these women and writing a blog post for the company?” and I said, “I would love to.”

So, it’s exciting that they see that I’m getting a creative outlet that I’m getting to do. That’s what I want to tell people too. There are so many things to do in any job, but if something really means something to you and you talk about it… I had spoken to her about liking to write and missing the creative aspect of it, because let’s be honest there’s not a lot of creativity going on in project management.

So, I was excited to have that outlet, to be able to talk to women in leadership positions and do this blog post for them. 

DAPHNE: That’s amazing, that you’re already doing some content and marketing roles. That’s something that you potentially could continue to put in a portfoli, or when you go and you ask for a raise or a promotion you can leverage that. It doesn’t just end at this career.

You left the classroom… I think that that’s the mentality that a lot of teachers have, that they’re struggling with this decision is, “What if I don’t like that next thing as much as I don’t like teaching?”

Well, cool, you rip the Band-Aid off and you did the first big scary thing in your life, and now you’re going to have a lot more on your resume, your foot in the door in a new industry, you’re going to learn what you like, what you don’t like, and you’re not going to have that strict teaching contract to be stuck in.

But, most of the time, depending on your level of miserability, you go in and you find, “I was just afraid and I’m so much happier with anything different,” because you focus on roles that speak to you. You’re not just applying to roles that sound terrible.  

AMY NEWMAN: Right. That’s what I thought. I knew that even if I started this position and hated it, I would still be less miserable than I was teaching. And, it would be, like you said, adding to my resume, learning some new skills, and making myself more marketable. Because, I was worried that people were just seeing, “Teacher,” on my resume and just brushing it to the side.

So, I knew if I got my foot in the door somewhere I could prove myself and prove that teachers have amazing marketable skills that transfer to anything. I just needed a chance. And so, if you can get someone to give you a chance, you will blow their minds.

I just know it. Teachers are amazing. I will never stop having all of the respect and love for teachers for as long as I live.  

Still a Teacher at Heart

DAPHNE: Yeah, same. There are so many that are just one step away, maybe they just need to go to a different school or different school district, or change grades, or change their classroom management, or their pedagogy that they’re using. That’s the puzzle piece that’s missing. There’s so many teachers that that’s the puzzle piece that’s missing.

But, there are many teachers that also probably have served their time in the classroom and it’s time for them to move on and pat yourself on the back that you lasted in the classroom for 18 years and how many students you impacted. But now, you’re still able to bring that into a new role.

There are probably times in this role that you have your teacher heart start to shine, where you walk someone through something that they can’t figure out. Has that happened to you already? 

AMY NEWMAN: It has. I actually started around the same time another coworker started and he’s just out of college. This is his first job out of college. He has struggled a little bit with the environment. He’s very young, he’s working with a lot of women, a lot of strong women, and I’ve already kind of taken him under my wing. I think it’s the teacher in me, it’s the mother in me, it’s just the caretaker in me to do that. It’s already happened, and it won’t be the last time it happens.  

This is something too, if you really love kids, but you are just not wanting to be in the classroom anymore, there are so many things that you can do to scratch that itch. Working with kids, volunteering, being a Big Sister or Big Brother, the organization. Volunteering, starting a Girl Scout troop, whatever you want to do, there are still things that you can do with kids to work with them but just not have all of the added pressure of it.  

DAPHNE: I 100% agree. That’s when I was my lowest, in between my last teaching job and finding my first career outside of the classroom. I found a non-profit creative writing place here in Los Angeles because I felt like I was losing my identity. The students are what you go into teaching for. You don’t go into it because you think it’s a lucrative career.

So, I was having a really hard time figuring out, “If I go into any other industry, am I still going to be able to feel the joy that I feel when I know that I’m actually helping a student?” That’s turned in and translated into now I’m helping grown adults walk through something that’s challenging, and that is what’s been scratching my itch more recently is being able to support.

That’s not just me. Every former teacher that I talk to, the software engineer, to the real estate agent, to project manager, or just someone in a customer success team, they said that they’ve figured out ways to still scratch that teacher itch from whatever role they’re in. So, it’s not something that’s going to leave you. It’s going to go with you wherever you go.  

I heard you mention your children a couple times, do you mind if I ask you how old your children are? 

AMY NEWMAN: I have a rising seventh grader and a rising ninth grader.  

But What About Losing Summers?!

DAPHNE: You have a remote position, which is very fortunate because I think everybody right now as we’re recording this, it’s July in 2021, so people are fighting to find those forever remote positions. But, on top of that, you did leave a teaching position for something that was quote-unquote “full time, nine-to-five” type of career.

Were you nervous about losing your summers?  

AMY NEWMAN: Yes, absolutely. It really resonates with me when you say that you used to have the Sunday scaries and then you even had the summer scaries, because I’ve had so many people ask me, “How does it feel to work in the summer?” And, it’s really such a different feeling.

There’s so much flexibility in it that I don’t really feel like I’m tied down to anything. July 1st would have been the countdown to, “Summer’s over. Summer’s going to be over soon,” because, we would go back to school at the end of July, the teachers would. And so, it hasn’t really affected me at all.

I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve worked with people who are sitting at the pool on their laptop with their kids, or they’ve taken their kids to a park for the day and they’re just sitting on their laptop. Or, not even sitting on their laptop, just having their phone, able to answer emails, take calls if they need to, but they can still be wherever they need to be. At a doctor’s appointment, or a recital, or a gymnastics class. I’ve done those kinds of things, and I don’t feel tied down to a desk.  

I don’t even think I would if I was in an office because I feel like the way the corporate world has moved because of the pandemic, a lot of flexibility has been added. They used to say, “No, we can’t do that,” and then when they were forced to do it they had to change that mentality of, “We can do that, it’s just a little bit different.” 

DAPHNE: Yeah. It’s a difficult thing. You can’t ask it in an interview, “How relaxed are you guys about me taking my computer to the pool during the summers?” Every company and every office environment is going to be different.

So, I don’t want to say universally that this is the case, but this is something that is figureoutable, as Marie Forleo would say. This is part of the thing that people use as that one negative factor. If 10 positive factors are there in front of you and there’s a single negative factor like, “I’m going to have to figure out whether or not I have to find summer care for my children,” this is something that’s figureoutable.

A lot of people use it as that excuse to not ever really get their hands dirty and start to try. I like to always say to people who are struggling with this is, “How do you feel the rest of the year?”

Because, if you’re miserable 50 weekends out of the year and your children see that in you and you’re not able to have regular dinners or regular weekends with them, is that worth sacrificing? And are you truly happy even during the summer?” Everyone’s answer is going to be different.  

The majority of the time, if they’re DMing me on Instagram, they’re having kind of a crisis and probably I know the answer if they’ve found me and started to reach out. So, right now, your dinners, your weekends are probably a lot more enjoyable with your family. You’re a lot more present. But now, your summers are also.  

AMY NEWMAN: Right. When I was interviewing they asked me, “This is a remote position, are you able to log off at 5:00, 5:30 and be done for the day? Because, since you’re working with people internationally, people will be emailing you at 9:00, 10:00, can you turn it off and wait till the next day?”

And, they said, “We’re not doing anything that can’t wait till the next day, and so I don’t want you to be sitting on your couch at 9:00 at night answering emails for someone because you feel like you have to. If you want to, fine, but you are not required to do that. Everything can wait until the next working day.”

And, I thought, “Wow, that’s amazing.” Because how many times did you sit on your couch at night grading papers, working on lesson plans, answering emails because you don’t have time during the day to do all of that? Teaching took my personal time away. And a lot of times I would come home so drained, I would be irritable with my own kids because I’d given everything during the day, and that’s not the case anymore. 

Final Advice for Teachers

DAPHNE: For any teachers who are listening right now, what advice would you give them? 

AMY NEWMAN: Don’t doubt yourself and don’t doubt your worth. Everything that you are doing in your current career is transferable. Anyone would be happy to have you on their team. 

DAPHNE: I have to ask this, what was your personal favorite part of the Teacher Career Coach Course, since you were a member? 

AMY NEWMAN: My favorite part was probably the writing down all of the things that you do and matching that to a different type of career, things that you would be good at doing.

Because, that was the first time that I realized I was pigeonholed and I thought, “I’m just a teacher.” Writing down everything that I did, it was like, “Oh, just a teacher means a million different things,” and I think that was what really gave me the confidence to move forward.

I cannot thank you enough. I think that you have done so much for so many people, and this thing has grown to such… I’m sure you think, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it came from just an idea and it is what it is today.”  

DAPHNE: The very first day that I decided, “I’m going to make a course on this,” it was a few years ago, and I remember… Jonathan was my boyfriend then. The first week that I started recording videos, and after I’d written all the script out, and done all the research, I was crying.

I didn’t want to finish. I was so scared. I was like, “People are going to be so mean to me,” because nobody else was talking about this, and the second you put something out on education Instagram people are going to say, “You’re a monster and you’re trying to make teachers quit.” I was crying, “I’m going to fail.”

When I first started I was so scared, I thought I was going to fail, I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I just had to do it. It’s just part of my philosophy of you have to try the scary things, that’s where the biggest… 

AMY NEWMAN: Growth. 

DAPHNE: … Growth happens. And, it’s also the most impressive things that you do in your life are the things that scare you the most. I would have always felt dumb for not trying. I’m just so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to support so many people in this capacity.

Amy, I just want to thank you so, so much for being here today. I’m just so grateful that you came on and you took the time to share your story.  

AMY NEWMAN: I appreciate you so much for asking. I was so honored when I got the email, “Would you consider the podcast?” Of course.  

DAPHNE: Thank you so much. We’re going to keep in touch and I can’t wait to hear where you go. 

AMY NEWMAN: Thank you so much. 

I want to give a huge thank you for Amy for coming on to speak to this community and sharing her story.

If you’re a former teacher from the Teacher Career Coach Course and you’re listening to this episode, we want to hear from you. Make sure to login to our private community and check in and offer your insight into that new role for everybody there.

If you’re not a former teacher and you’re enjoying this podcast, I’d love it if you’d continue to help spread the word that it even exists. Even something as simple as leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts helps more than you can know. So, we appreciate you for taking the time to do so. I’ll see you on the very next episode of the Teacher Career Coach Podcast.

Where to go next

If you’re just beginning to think about leaving teaching, brainstorming other options is a great place to start. But if you’re like many others, teaching was your only plan – there never was a Plan B. You might feel at a loss when it comes to figuring out what alternatives are out there.

Start with our free quiz, below, to get alternative job options for careers that really do hire teachers!

What career outside the classroom is right for YOU? Free Quiz

Taking the First Steps to a New Career

If you’ve already taken our quiz, it may be time for the next steps. I want to help you get some clarity in the options available to you. To know EXACTLY what you need to do (and not do) in order to get your foot in the door.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see teachers make is that they try to navigate this process alone. Often, they put off “researching” until the very last minute. Which sets them up for a very stressful application season – trying to juggle teaching, figuring out a resume, researching jobs, and hoping to nail down some interviews before signing next year’s contract.

You don’t have to do this on your own.

If you are considering a career change from teaching, I have a resource that can help you today. With the help of an HR expert with over 10 years of experience, I’ve created a guide to support you in the early stages of your transition out of the classroom.

In the Career Transition Guide, I’ll walk you through the factors to consider and answer those first-step planning questions including:

Career Transition Guide
  • A compiled list of over 40 careers that teachers can transition into
  • An overview of how to read job descriptions
  • How to evaluate the risk of leaving a full-time teaching job for the unknown
  • Example translations from classroom-to-corporate resumes
  • A checklist of everything you’ll need to do for your career transition (so you know you aren’t missing anything!)
  • and more…

Take the first steps on your path to a new career now for only $19 $9!


or click here to learn more

Step out of the classroom and into a new career, The Teacher Career Coach Course