As the new school year fast approaches, it’s a great time to reflect on the current state of your education career. It’s important to continually visit your career goals to ensure you remain on track professionally. If you have been stuck in rut recently, or just going through the motions professionally, it’s time to revisit your goals and take proactive steps to boost your education career goals for the coming school year.
Career Revitalization: Does Your Education Career Need A Boost?
Five Steps to Revitalize and Love Your Career in Education
1. What did you accomplish last year?
Reflect back on what your last school year looked like. What were the challenges you faced? What were your greatest accomplishments? What did you learn as an educator? What special projects did you participate in? What positive strides did you make with your students?
This exercise will help you to get outside of your own head and see the big picture of what you’ve been able to accomplish as an educator. It will also help you to better see what you’d like to accomplish or do better in the future.
So first, make a list of your accomplishments from last year. Then, make a list of any projects you took part in. Lastly, make a list of the challenges you faced.
To help you come up with accomplishments, think back to any challenges or problems you faced, then remember what actions you took to fix the problem, and then write down the result of your efforts. This exercise is referred to as C.A.R. (challenge, action, result). Accomplishments may involve strides you made with a problem student or a learning-disabled student, standardized testing improvements, standards you met through new strategies, new classroom management plans, lesson plans that were more productive with students retaining information, etc.
Once you have your list of accomplishments, challenges, and projects, review your list thoroughly. What do you notice? What are the trends on your list? What does your list tell you about your education career and where you place your priorities or the most of your time and efforts?
This list will help you to understand where you have been focusing and prioritizing in the past, as well as where you may need to place extra focus and attention to in the future to better meet your job goals. It will also help you to see more clearly what has been working for you, as well as what areas you need to improve on to be the best educator you can be.
2. Develop a plan of action
Ask yourself this question: “How can I ensure that I am a better educator at the end of the school year than I was at the beginning?”
The above is an essential question, and really, it is the question that all educators should be asking themselves to make sure they are always giving their best to their students.
To help you develop your plan, first identify your weaknesses. Maybe you struggle the most with classroom management and problem students. To help you improve in this area, perhaps it’s worth taking a professional development course, seeking advice from colleagues, or looking online for new classroom management ideas.
Remember to get better at something; you need to step out of your comfort zone. Embark on learning new skills and trying different methods or things. Getting started with a total career revitalization may be tough, but a lot easier and rewarding when you see the knowledge, experience, and success you are gaining.
Don’t procrastinate – embark on a career revitalization. If you don’t make changes, things won’t get better.
How to Develop Your Plan of Action?
• Identify your problem areas, gaps in your knowledge, or areas for improvement
• Figure out how to improve on these areas and take immediate steps to do so (professional development, courses, seminars, books, online resources, mentors, collaboration, etc.).
Maybe you have considered transitioning from education to entrepreneurship and need to do some research to see if it’s a viable option.
3. Reach out to your network
Your network of colleagues, friends, and fellow educators can be immensely helpful in achieving your education career goals. Don’t ever forget to reach out to them and don’t be afraid to ask them for help. Their collective knowledge and skills can be incredibly helpful.
For instance, if you are about to teach a class that has several ESL students in it, you may want to reach out to these students’ past teachers and ESL specialists to gain insights, tips, and other resources to help you better meet their needs during the school year.
Your network can also help you to find new exciting teaching opportunities, help you in your job search, or serve as a recommendation when you apply to a new school.
Remember: your network is a two-way street.
In order to reap the most benefits out of your professional network, you also need to be available to lend a helping hand to anyone in your network as well.
To nurture and grow your network:
• Attend conferences and professional teaching events
• Join LinkedIn, complete your profile, and make connections. If need help writing your LinkedIn profile, reach out for assistance.
• Find out how you can be of help to those in your network
• Reach out to those in your network and create fruitful relationships
4. Foster your professional brand
If you are not familiar with the term ‘professional brand’, this refers to who you are and what you stand for as a professional educator. Once you know what you’d like to be known for as a teacher, you can take steps to upgrade and cultivate your own unique brand.
First, reflect back on your previous school year and figure out if you’ve taken any steps toward improving your professional brand that will need to be incorporated into your job search documents. Items such as courses, seminars, new teaching methods, etc. are all items that make up your brand and need to be added to your resume and other documents.
Next, decide what steps you’d like to take to cultivate and improve your brand in the upcoming school year.
• What do you want to be known for as an educator and in your school community?
• What professional development could you complete?
• What special projects could you take part in?
• What new skills could you gain?
• What work accomplishments could you showcase?
Once you have items to enhance your professional brand that will need to be added to your online profiles, remember to incorporate them into your LinkedIn profile, your resume and cover letters, your website, your online portfolio, and your elevator pitch.
5. Foster a healthy work-life balance
Many educators who enter the field struggle with finding a good work-life balance. As a result, several educators end up burning out and leaving the profession after only 3-5 years. If you are working yourself crazy so that you have no spare time for anything outside of your classroom life, then you need to re-evaluate your work-life balance. Career revitalization is the answer.
Professionals who are organized and ensure they have enough quality downtime for things they enjoy tend to be happier, healthier, more productive, and more satisfied with your work life.
Separate your career from your home life. Take less work home with you. Make concerted efforts to be out of the building by a set time each evening so that you aren’t working around the clock. If you give yourself strict time limits, you will force yourself to be more organized and efficient when you are working.
Don’t forget about your hobbies and family. Make time for your hobbies, activities, and family time each week so that you can enjoy your downtime more. These activities will do wonders for your outlook and mood towards your work.
• Establish healthy work habits that will work well for you and give you a fair amount of spare time to do what you love outside of work.
• What does an ideal work day look like for you? What steps can you take to make that a reality?
• What types of hobbies and activities would you like to make time for? What type of family activities or date nights would you incorporate?
After taking the time to reflect on and complete the above five steps, your education career will be ready to get the boost it needs.
Are you looking to make some career moves? Or are you seeking to make a career change? How about transitioning to an instructional coach position? Maybe you thought about writing a resume to become a curriculum developer to spice up your career. Take the steps you need to, you will be happy you did.
If you’d like to make sure that your resume and cover letter help you stand out from the crowd, we invite you to check out the resume writing services we offer. We’ll make sure that your education resume stands out for all the right reasons to both hiring managers and applicant tracking software.
You can also contact Candace Alstad-Davies directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or