At our first Career Change Event this year, a gentleman stood up, asking "why do you say your experience counts? Is it not a contradiction when you also say that nothing can prepare you for that first term of teaching?"
Excellent question. Well, let us explain.
Now Teach believes that your experience is incredibly valuable and can make a difference to schools and young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
We know that many experienced professionals who change careers don't know anything about teaching, yet the skills they’ve developed over the course of one career can help ensure success in the second.
So, we think your experience counts on both a personal level and to schools.
Hard-earned skills are useful when learning something new
Think back to 21-year-old you, and ask yourself – what do I have more of now? Resilience, leadership, communication, confidence, the ability to organise and prioritise, clarity of thought… the list goes on.
So, whilst teacher training can be tough and there is a huge amount to learn, the ability to draw a line under a tough day, prioritise workload, or work in a team, are all factors that can contribute to your success as a trainee teacher.
And beyond these skills, many experienced people have picked up specialist skills, like database management, and business or financial planning, both of which are helpful with the process of changing careers itself.
People with significant career experience have inevitably grown networks of colleagues across previous jobs and industries in which they’ve worked. You have a wealth of knowledge on careers that are really valuable to students and schools that don’t have access to such networks.
A lot of Now Teachers have run large teams or been involved in the recruitment of employees, so naturally - they know what employers want. Often, they are able to leverage their contacts to find opportunities for work experience or career talks within their old professional networks.
Knowing something about life
Our co-founder Lucy Kellaway really said this best: "Now Teachers have done all sorts of things. They’ve been journalists, bankers, civil servants, whatever. It doesn’t really matter what they’ve done. They know something about life and they can communicate that to pupils in a way that’s really useful to them."
Some of that is about careers, but also things like how to get a mortgage, tax, and Brexit. The things we all wish we’d had lessons on in schools.
Experienced professionals can reflect on how organisations are run
Once you have teaching skills, you will have the headspace and profile within your school to use other aspects of your past career. A previous career means that you have experience of how organisations work effectively or not so effectively.
Whilst your first year will inevitably be focused on learning how to be the best classroom teacher, once you’ve found your feet it’s possible that you can contribute to other aspects of school life, like the running and business management of the school.
Now Teachers have taken on database management work, looked at HR functions and supported their schools in the marketing and communications of a new site.
Whilst we're still a relatively new organisation, we are already starting to see the substantial impact career changers can make in the education sector - and we know this will only grow in the coming years.
That's why we say your experience counts. We exist to find you, help you apply and train, and be part of a new professional network for your entire career in teaching - that supports you to make that impact.
Ready to take your experience into the classroom? Speak to one of our Career Change Specialists.