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How did you start your career in education and training?

I am a middle school student and I took a quiz in class that told me education and training would be a good career choice for me. #school #student #graduate-school #high-school-classes #college #education #training

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Katie’s Answer

Hi Donovan!

When I was in college I was truly trying to search for a role that fit my skills and interests. I always thought I'd get into something with professional sports - that was my passion. Come to find out, it was something I was passionate about as more of a "hobby". Giving back and assisting with education and training was my real passion. I ended up applying for a role within HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and once with the organization I dabbled in a few areas (product development, marketing - even went back and got my MBA, communications, and finally content development/training). I am fortunate enough to now run a team of 4 where we focus on building training programs for our Account Executives (AEs). It's important to educate our sellers to allow them to then inform our buyers appropriately. Our AEs represent our organization and if they are unsure or uncomfortable discussing our program offerings it's likely the sale will not take place. Now, I've been here 14 years. I look back and realize I am teaching/training but not in a traditional way (in classroom teacher).

Please know that when you think of teaching/training it can go in MANY directions with many organizations. What business sector is important to you? Start there and then begin research on teaching/training opporutnities.

I hope this helps!

Katie
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Diana’s Answer

I started with an undergrad degree in Education - I had worked with younger children a lot in school and after (in daycares) and really enjoyed it. My focus was on the K through 6th grade age. It's a hard and often thankless job but incredibly important to the young people you have the privilege to inspire and teach.

In my area at the time (20+ years ago) I was looking for a full time teaching job and it was a hard market to get into here so I ended up subbing for a couple of years, but then got a full time job in corporate training. I trained different classes in business for about 13years and you get to learn a lot of different things and work with a lot of different people. You get to see the impacts of your work on adults who learn the new skill and then can hopefully move on to excel in their job role.

Really give some thought to what ages interest you - I never thought I would want to teach adults but corporate training has it's benefits with higher pay and recognition, but teaching in the schools have summer breaks and you know you can positively affect children, especially ones that may not have that support and care at home.

Good luck!
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Donovan,

It's exciting to see that you have some skill or interest in Education and Training. I am a training professional, specifically an Instructional Design. I write web-based training programs, create instructional videos, and I create training that other people teach. Your teachers right now are probably supported by something that an instructional designer created for them.

You are the biggest component of how you want to act on that information. Do you want to educate or train people? It is often not as easy as it sounds to teach people to do something. Sometimes the people you are teaching either do not want to learn or are not ready to learn. This means that you may need to be flexible with how you teach and when. You should also think about what you want to teach. I work in a Corporate University, which is very different work than your middle school teacher or a college professor. You should explore where you want to teach - to who do you want to teach or how do you want to impact education. For example, my brother is an assistant principal. He used to be a teacher but now he in administration, supporting teachers in their jobs and making the school function better. There are so many opportunities in education that are more than standing up in front of a room and teaching.

I would say as you think about education, focus on what you would want to teach. What subjects do you like now and already teach to others? (When you help your friends understand how to do their homework, that is educating.) Are you an artist? Is your dream to just do science stuff all day long? Would you like to train in a virtual form (like video or web-based)? Educating people can be hard. You need to find a way to stay passionate about educating people by working in a subject or medium that you are really excited about. For me, what drives me to educate is that I want to help people do their job to the best of their ability. That is why I train people who work in business. I feel grateful that my work can help people earn more money or a promotion from taking it. I want them to have the best shot to be their best at work. I prefer to work in the leader-led training space, because I believe it is important to learn with other people. Virtual training, like Zoom, is challenging but still a great way to stay connected.

Good luck finding your role in Education. We need teachers for people of all ages, so consider lots of different options before you settle on one.

Gloria
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Katie’s Answer

Hi Donovan,

The best advice I have is to really learn about yourself, your strengths, and what you actually enjoy doing. There are so many ways to get involved in education. I started in college as an English Education major (to teach middle/high school). I spent a semester student teaching and realized that really wasn't my passion. There are things you'll uncover about your personality and what brings you joy. Listen to that part of you because it can help guide you in your journey. I ended up with a B.A. in English Literature and a M.S. in Management and Leadership. I found my happy spot as an instructional designer which means I find ways to break down skills and help people learn them as an adult. I specialize in leadership training, and the most important aspect of this career path is that it's a lifetime of learning. You'll never 100% know everything that can be taught, and that is my favorite aspect of having a career in training and development. I get to be authentic to me. I read, research, write, and enjoy helping others learn.

Don't be afraid to try something and then change your mind. I switched majors in college. I didn't go back to graduate school until I was 32. Your journey will be unique to you, and I'm proud of you for thinking ahead. There are many ways to this career and many degrees that can give you the skills needed. There are training and development opportunities in every industry: technology, financial services, retail, manufacturing...you name it, there are learning professionals there. I started in customer service doing on the job training and creating process guides before finding my way to a leadership training company.

Take time to notice what you like doing. I found an English degree taught me the research, writing, and critical thinking skills that has brought me into a successful career. However, you can honestly start wherever you want. If you want to get into K-12 education, then you can get a degree for that specifically. If you want to get into corporate training, you can truly find a path you love, seek opportunities and internships in college that can give you experience that can help you make decisions.

I'm sorry there are no cut and dry answers for this. The good news about that is you can forge your own path. Find a degree program you love, look for internships that can give you experience in the skills you'd like to develop, and look out for opportunities that will eventually show up in your career. Stay flexible and true to yourself.

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Patrick’s Answer

There is plenty of time to decide what you want to do as an adult. However, one of the jobs I never thought I would have as an adult was that of a teacher. As a teen, I found myself bored in school for whatever reason. After graduation, I joined the military as a mechanic working on construction equipment. At this time leadership found I had a knack for mechanics and sent me off to teach advanced mechanics. I was really nervous my first time in front of a class but it was one of the most rewarding jobs I ever had. One I learned more about my trade (mechanics) than ever before. It was enlightening. and more importantly, the satisfaction of seeing the process click in a student is unforgettable. Ever since that point, I have taken any chance to teach.

I do want to point out there are many different pipelines to become a teacher. You should explore all the paths available. The first step I recommend is to find a topic you enjoy, learn about it, and teach it back to someone. A family member, friend, or even at a local library.

Patrick recommends the following next steps:

The first step I recommend is to find a topic you enjoy, learn about it, and teach it back to someone. A family member, friend, or even at a local library.
Enjoy life and have passion in what you do.
There is plenty of time to discover what you want to do.
Have fun.
Be a kid.
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Sametta’s Answer

Hi, Donovan. I started my career in training as a writing tutor. I did it while I was in undergrad. It was a way for me to help people write essays and prepare presentations and get paid while doing it.

I continued on to graduate school and got a full academic scholarship. One of the conditions of the scholarship was that I taught first-year composition to college students. I was blessed to be able to go to graduate school without having to worry about paying tuition. The grad school paid for me to learn (academic scholarship), and I got paid to help others learn (monthly stipend).

From there, I decided to work at a telecommunications company (Verizon). I started by taking customer service calls. And I learned so much. Once I felt like I mastered that, I wanted to share what I learned and my passion for learning with others.

Nine years later, I'm still at Verizon training customer service, tech support, and leadership courses, and I love interacting with my learners and my peers.
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Michele’s Answer

I started as an English major and eventually applied my writing skills to education and training.
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Linda’s Answer

Donovan,
The books recommended above seem a little too much for a middle school student, but I do agree that your actual "subject" in education is the student(s). One of teacher education professors taught aspiring educators that "We don't teach reading, math, or science ; we teach students. I started teaching because I wanted to share, just like I did as a 6th grader in a program with 3rd graders. Then, I enjoyed teaching people how to operate products as a customer service representative. Finally, after years of teaching, I earned a master's to work as a librarian. My learners are more motivated and are usually individuals or small groups so I can do more for each one.

Linda recommends the following next steps:

Keep talking and asking educators and trainers about their work.
Ask a librarian to help you find age-appropriate material about teaching
Consider if you want to serve people rather than focus on a thing.
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