Some great advice from a former teacher turned Data Specialist-- she left teaching and you can, too!
Today we’re hearing from Jenna W. who left teaching and became a Data Specialist. Jenna will tell us about her search for a new career as well as the many perks of her new position. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Jenna!
Brittany’s Question: What do you do now that you’ve left teaching?
Jenna’s Answer: I’m now a Data Specialist.
Brittany’s Question: That’s awesome! I’m sure as a teacher you worked with data as well. What steps did you take to get into that new career?
Jenna’s Answer: I searched far and wide– Google, local newspapers, free newspaper ads (how I found my current position), Facebook, and I asked around. I also found that some companies or businesses do not directly post open positions to job search sites. I made a list of the possible places I would like to work and went directly to that business’s website (to their Careers page) to view what they had open. This did wonders! I found lots of positions I was interested in that were not advertised elsewhere.
If you think that your resume is the best it can be, check again! I started out by using my original resume format from when I started teaching 3 years ago. This was getting me nowhere in terms of getting any interviews outside of education. I opened my resume, and even I was just not impressed when I opened it – it had a bland format and didn’t grip my attention right away. I searched for a new resume template that I really liked, caught my eye (but not too flashy), and was organized simply enough for me to easily plug in my information. I tweaked it to better display who I was as a professional, and after a few weeks of sending out that new resume to 5 different places, I had 3 interviews that led to 1 offer. I also pulled up each job description, and would edit my Skills and Experience section so that it connected better with what the job was looking for.
I saw positions I wasn’t entirely qualified for, but was very interested in, and applied anyway!
Brittany’s Question: As someone who’s skilled in resume writing, I think you offer some really great advice. In your current position, do you still use your teaching skills? How so, and which teaching skill(s) do you use most frequently?
Jenna’s Answer: I use data entry, data analysis, data reporting, COMMUNICATION (the biggest one), problem-solving, the ability to manage multiple projects, Excel, and a bit of Spanish speaking.
Brittany’s Question: Wow! You use quite a few of your teaching skills in your new position! What new skills did you build?
Jenna’s Answer: Advanced Excel skills and database building.
Brittany’s Question: So you built on the skills you already had- cool! What was the biggest obstacle to leaving the classroom and how did you overcome it?
Jenna’s Answer: Putting in that resignation! This goes smoothly for some, but it was a tug-of-war with my superintendent. I knew had to get through the hard stuff to get to freedom and peace, though.
Brittany’s Question: Yes, resigning can be tough even when you’re sure of your decision. What is the BEST thing about being out of the classroom?
Jenna’s Answer: I get to use the restroom whenever I want, enjoy my coffee while it’s still hot, talk to adults, listen to quiet music, work on one thing at a time, actually do my job instead of managing behavior and trying to do my job, drinking water all day, taking a short walk when I need to, snacking, actually eating lunch, looking forward to the day ahead instead of dreading it, leaving my work at work and picking up where I left off the next day, my supervisor doesn’t breathe down my neck, I don’t have to answer or try to please tons of different people, I feel valued at work, I can actually do my regular chores and be with family when I get home, the weekends are all mine, but most of all……PEACE. CALM. SIMPLICITY.
Brittany’s Question: That’s awesome! That is quite a list! I have to ask, do you ever miss teaching, and would you ever go back to it? Why or why not?
Jenna’s Answer: It feels like a breakup with a toxic partner. I will miss those few good moments, but when I reflect on it, I need to also remember the overpowering toxicity and know that I am better off. I will never go back. Why? My mental health and quality of life are worth more than teaching.
Brittany’s Question: I agree! Your mental health and quality of life are SO important. What advice would you give to other teachers thinking about leaving teaching?
Jenna’s Answer: It may take time. Even if the desire is high to get out NOW, action MUST back up that desire. Small things you do each day get you to where you want to be in a year or a few year’s time.