It’s been about 11 months since the first installment of Teacher to Tech and the saga continues. As I have not been introduced to many educators who have taken this leap, I find myself compelled to share my journey with you. Perhaps it will guide, or positively influence someone else in knowing that this mission is possible!
- I am currently four months from graduating from the University of South Florida with a 3.92 GPA and I couldn’t be more excited and proud.
- I continue to work as an elementary teacher with a few additional projects for the year such as planning, implementing, and innovating in a flexible learning environment called a Makerspace.
- I took a new position as a gifted teacher which requires me to take five state vetted 6 week courses over three years to earn my Gifted certification.
- I have contracted with a fabulous FL based edtech company to create eLearning module’s content, storyboard, script write, and film instructional guide videos.
- I am actively applying and have spoken with different recruiters and company’s hiring managers, but you never stop seeking the perfect situation for yourself. One that will allow you to grow, fulfill your passions, and provide an atmosphere that vibes with your energy is worth the wait.
I am constantly being asked what is Instructional Design, and what will you be doing as an Instructional Designer. Let me begin my second episode by sharing a resource I found that does a great job of defining Instructional Design.
For those who may also be searching, or switching from teaching to Instructional Designer I want to share the feedback and advice I’ve received and implemented this far.
Tip #1: Update your resume
- Experience related to the job you are applying for supersedes education
- Keep the content simple and concise
- Include data to show quantifiable value for your skills
I had a pretty updated resume in regards to my experience, education, and achievements. However, I received feedback about my overall theme not quite fitting my audience. I am a believer of showcasing my uniqueness, however, it’s also important to remember that the content will speak to who I am professionally, as well as express my personality. You do not need a rainbow of colors and patterns to stand out, let your experiences and professional qualities speak louder than the aesthetics.
This website gives some great tips and theme suggestions focusing on three formats; chronological resume, functional resume, and combined resume.
This website provides you with some great templates to download (for FREE) to begin customizing your resume to best meet your needs, as well as suit your audience.
This website gives you some great tips for when you are ready to ponder the wording of how to present your skills and experience to potential employers.
Tip #2: Build and share a portfolio
Now, I’ve heard this on several occasions and my old school mind thinks about my college portfolio with binders, tabs, and page protectors. So what does this mean in 2019? Honestly, I’m still feeling out this area myself but have been offered some suggestions. As I finish grad school we are coding our own websites- I chose to use Adobe Dreamweaver- and completing several other projects, therefore I think the biggest thing is to display your work whether you Code your own website or use preformatted templates. I also recommend Microsoft OneNote as an option for sharing evidence as a digital version of my good ole college portfolio.
For now, I have added a section to my blog titled, “Professional Portfolio” which showcases many large products/projects that I have completed. This works best for me because I pay for my domain and maintain this site regularly, so it doesn’t make sense to me to have an additional website for project hosting. Ultimately, do what’s best for you, but be sure to share your work in a location that potential employers can access.
This website provides a free template to use and begin the planning of evidence and implementation of your digital portfolio.
This website provides pay-for templates which can be manipulated by HTML5 or easy to use navigational tools.
This website allows you to sign up for a free portfolio hosting site. The templates appear easy to manipulate and maintain.
Tip #3: Build Your Tribe
My teacher tribe game is strong. I love the professional learning family (#PLF) I have met through Twitter and other work events. Their support, positivity, and encouragement has been the oxygen to my flame which continues to burn brightly! I have joined LinkedIn as well to foster learning relationships with a different audience, however I have found connections with a community of Instructional Designer on Twitter as well. I continue to investigate, ask, and jump into hashtags and chats that I come across to network and learn from more experienced professionals. #lrnchat #guildchat #elearning #edtech #instructionaldesign
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. 90% of the time when you communicate with someone that you’re ready to build your tribe and collaborate as you are beginning a new journey they respond so positively and genuinely look forward to connecting.
This website offers 31 tips to create a great LinkedIn profile. Not only do connections see why you’re so amazing, recruiters and potential employers do as well.
This website provides great tips for beginning to build your tribe on Twitter such as creating your profile, how to find people to connect with, and how to be polite on social media.
The Instructional Design Central has a plethora of free resources and content to reference as a newbie, or refresh skills as a veteran ID.
Tip #4: Leverage your teaching experience
I have found this to be one of the most difficult hurdles. In the eyes of the corporate world, teaching appears to not be very relatable in comparison to their client drive tasks. However upon thinking about this further, I simply had to figure out how to compare our two worlds. When relating to professional development within a district or school-site, I similarly have a client- the subject supervisors, superintendent, principals- learning goals to attain, and objectives which the learners must meet in order to do their job more effectively. This is similar to corporate training, in that business want a supportive learning environment where their employees are able to build their skill set and perform their jobs more effectively. When relating to training and development in order to allow learners less cognitive load and best knowledge retention, not only do I do that when I’m creating and facilitating professional developments, I do that every single day for multiple subject areas to little people who have the attention span of about 10 minutes. If a teacher can accomplish highly effective teaching to 10-year-olds and energizing PD to overworked, underpaid educators while meeting objectives and leaving learners excited and ready to apply their learning, I feel educators can develop and train in the business world.
- Review the job description carefully and compare this scenario to education
- Be honest in your strengths and weaknesses
- Be willing to learn and improve your skill set. Teachers attend mandated professional developments to stay relevant with our teaching practices to be certified; we are life long learners. This habit can carry into your new journey.
- Business is data driven, talk about your student’s demographics and learning gains through data (*do not mention names or other identifying information*). Teacher’s analyze data on a daily basis to see if the students “got it” or “don’t”- emphasize your ability to target learning goals using data.
I look forward to continuing my journey from Teacher to Tech, and sharing along the way. Despite the length of the search, or the number of dead ends, don’t ever doubt yourself or your abilities- the right opportunity simply has not arrived yet- the perfect situation is waiting for you to find it!
Thank you to the following people for their support and feedback as I venture through my journey from Teacher to Tech. Also, thanks for sharing some of these amazing resources with me. Your experience and kindness will ripple through and have positive influence on not just myself, but a much larger audience.
Melissa Milloway- Learning Experience Design Manager at Amazon
Myra Roldan- Senior Instructional Designer at Amazon, Technical Curriculum Developer, Program Manager at Amazon Web Services
Clint Clarkson, CTDP, CTT- Founder & Managing Partner
Andrew Claassen- Director of Learning at MassiveU, Inc.
Thembi Rowe- My amazing man who has supportively handled melt downs, becoming one with my computer and books for hours upon hours, and reviewing endless papers and projects; all the while surrounding me with hugs, love, and laughter. 💜