Former teachers make the best employees (and there’s probably about to be a lot more of them), so if you’re looking to expand your workforce, here’s why you should consider hiring an educator.
#1: Excellent Communication Skills
Teachers are expert communicators. They can speak to everyone from children to board members to angry parents in a calm, enthusiastic manner, and they maintain a cheery attitude, even as they repeat the same thing 700 times a day. They’re good at speaking clearly, writing professional emails, and (thanks to covid) they have learned to convey a wide range of emotions from happy to shocked to sternly disappointed, with only their eyes.
#2: Fast Learners
Concerned that a former teacher doesn’t have the specific skillset you’re looking for? Give them an uninterrupted hour and see what they do with it. (The first thing they will do is look scared and confused because they’ve never been given an uninterrupted hour before. To make them feel more comfortable in this situation, try ringing a bell once in a while or screaming in the office next door for no reason.) Educators are given new technology on a yearly (sometimes weekly) basis, trained on it for thirty to forty-five minutes, and expected to implement it with 140 users the following day. And they DO. When the technology doesn’t work as advertised (it never does) and when the users haven’t been added correctly (they never are) the teacher figures it out, makes it work, and hands out two Band-Aids, a laptop charger, and a pass to the counselor’s office all at the same time. Teachers are learners. Give them a chance to learn, and they will wow you.
#3: Calm Under Pressure
Teachers remain calm in stressful situations. We are used to having unexpected (and unusual) circumstances pop up in the workplace, and we handle them swiftly and without panicking. Even when we may be freaking out inside, we remain cool, composed, and unruffled to the outside observer. Situations in which I, myself, have had to remain calm include but are not limited to the following:
- A student sticking a paperclip in his eye
- A student sticking scissors in an outlet (This actually happened next door, but I had to watch both classes while the teacher escorted her shocked (literally) student to the nurse.)
- A student vomiting in my trash can
- A student drawing Pennywise-the-clown makeup on his face during my lesson
- Having to keep my students in my room for an extra half hour because there was a bat in the school that had to be caught before we could release them into the hallways again
#4: Great Public Speaking
Educators are comfortable in front of large groups of people. We know how to get the attention of a crowd, and we can project our voices when the mic doesn’t work.
#5: Masters of the Pivot
The definition of flexibility in the dictionary should have a picture of a teacher next to it. Teachers are excellent planners. We create engaging, educational lessons properly paced to fit within our forty-five-minute, one hour, or ninety-minute classes. But we know, when creating them, that the chances of the lesson going exactly as planned are slim. Anything from a technology outage, a fire drill, or a disruptive student can throw off the best laid plans. That’s why we’re always ready to pivot. Swap the writing lesson for reading time. Take a walk outside to escape the heat of the broken air conditioning. Do Friday’s lesson on Thursday, or reteach what the class learned on Wednesday if they’re still struggling with the material. Changing plans is part of the job when you’re a teacher. We’re better at it than anyone should have to be.
#6: Strong Organizational Skills
Teachers must have systems in place to keep track of who’s absent, who’s missing work, who’s failing, who’s in the restroom, and who’s allergic to peanuts. They have to differentiate every assessment for each student’s individualized learning plan and keep data on each student’s progress. This takes an organized mind and (for me personally) a lot of different colored pens. (Side note: Teachers love office supplies. If your company wants to up your sticky note game or needs advice on the best brand of marker, hire a former teacher.)
During hybrid teaching, the need to stay organized increased tenfold. Suddenly teachers’ desks looked more like the workstations of air traffic controllers: multiple monitors, a dozen tabs open, headphones, the dings of various messages and notifications interrupting every other sentence, and the poor teacher coordinating it all. (Please note that none of us want to do that again, but we can. We did. No planes crashed on our watch.)
#7: High E.Q.
Companies today are beginning to see how valuable it is for their leaders to have strong emotional intelligence in addition to intellectual intelligence. Being able to relate to others, to empathize and connect as humans, is essential to creating a successful staff. Employees are happier, less stressed, and more motivated to produce quality products when their emotional needs are met in the workplace. Teachers are ahead of the game when it comes to E.Q. They’ve been trained in Social Emotional Learning and have both participated in and led numerous team-building exercises. Educators know the power of intrinsic motivation. They know that students won’t perform their best if they don’t feel safe in their environment, and they won’t reach their full potential unless they care about the work they’re doing. If you need someone to build relationships within your workforce and help your organization feel more cohesive, what you need is a teacher.
#8: Boundless Creativity
Teachers are problem solvers, content creators, web designers, and miracle workers. In addition to teaching, we also have to decorate our classrooms and hallway bulletin boards, participate in random dress-up days throughout the year, and constantly come up with fresh, engaging, interactive lessons to ensure that our students aren’t bored. A teacher’s creativity knows no limits. Try us.
#9: Assorted Skills
Teachers have skills you might not even know your company needs. We’ve been trained (yearly) to deal with seizures, peanut allergies, asthma, fires, tornadoes, lockdowns, cyber security, suicide prevention, bullying, covid protocols, active shooter scenarios, the proper way to use an epi pen, and how to safely clean up blood. You’re welcome.
#10: Lunchtime Entertainment
Former educators have endless funny stories to tell about our teaching career, the kinds of things that sound made up but aren’t, so we can keep your team entertained on lunch breaks. Plus, we all eat super fast, so we’ll be finished long before everyone else.
#11: Appreciative of Perks
Teachers are used to doing a lot of extra work for no extra pay. Everything from bus duty to cafeteria duty to academic coaching to after school tutoring fall into the category of “Other Duties as Assigned,” and these minutes taken away from conference periods, lunches, and evenings are rarely compensated. The kind of perks we’re used to are jeans passes (You get to wear jeans on a day that’s not Friday! Yea!) and snack size candies in the lounge. If you give a former teacher stock options or a bonus or the ability to go to the bathroom whenever they want, they will cry with gratitude.
All joking aside, teachers are some of the smartest, hardest working, biggest-hearted, most creative and passionate people on the planet. They’re just looking for a chance to make a difference in an environment where they’re valued for their skills and effort. Their resumé may not wow you at first glance, but if you give them a chance to learn, and if you treat them with respect, they will blow you away with their work ethic and dedication. Hire a former teacher. You won’t be sorry.
Are you a teacher looking for a new path or a company hoping to hire a former educator? If so, check out this article for great tips and resources: What Recruiters Can Learn From Companies That Hire Former Teachers