How To Advance Your Teaching Career

by Carter Toni

If you think that earning your teaching qualification and stepping foot in the classroom to finally teach your students, whether they’re very young children, adults, or somewhere in between, is the pinnacle of your teaching career, you would be right. In other words, what you assume to be true will be true – if you think you’ve done all you can and gone as far as you can go, that is as far as your teaching career will take you.

However, if you think there might be more, and you start to consider how to advance your teaching career so that you can achieve everything you possibly want to achieve, then you will be right with this idea too. As we’ve said, whatever it is you believe, that’s your reality, so if you believe you can go further, that’s what will happen. Of course, just believing that you can advance your career won’t be enough on its own. It’s a good start, but more is required. So if you feel that your teaching career can be boosted and you can do a lot more in terms of helping students and yourself, read on; here are some great ideas on how to do it and ensure ultimate job satisfaction.

Chart A Course

If you just vaguely hope that one day you’ll advance in your teaching career, you’re going to have some lovely daydreams, but you won’t actually get very far. Advancing in any sector is all about hard work, and that’s what you’ll need to do if you want to get ahead in teaching.

However, although hard work is obviously crucial, it’s also something you need to be wary of. There is a fine line between doing enough work and doing too much (or not enough, as the case may be). This is why it’s so important to plan things out. Charting a course to get you from where you are now to where you want to be will allow you to stay on track and not get distracted. You’ll know just what kind of work you need to put in, and you’ll know how to do it. When opportunities arise, you’ll know which ones to take and which to say no to. With a good plan in place to help you reach your goals, you’ll be able to reach them accurately and (relatively) quickly, and you won’t take too many wrong turns on your way.

The first thing to do when you are assessing your goals and making a plan is to determine what kind of teacher you are. Do you like standing in front of a large class, for example, or would you like to teach on a one-to-one basis much more? What age range do you prefer to teach? What kind of lessons or even subjectsexcites you the most? Would you be better as an administrator or researcher, or is a classroom environment right for you? Answer these questions – and others – honestly, and you’ll have a good idea of the direction to start heading in.

Once you know the answers to the questions above, you can look at what your end goal might be through that lens. Where do you want to end up? As head of a department? As an educational leader? As a much-loved and well-respected classroom teacher? Put this idea together with the answers you gave yourself in terms of the other questions, and you’ll see how a plan is starting to come together.

Outperform The Competition

You might not think that there is much competition in teaching. After all, isn’t everyone working at education students and working together to create a cohesive educational system? The answer to this is both yes and no. It is true that teachers do need to work together in many cases to ensure their students get the best possible all-around education, but there is certainly competition as well. This all begins with finding a job, to begin with.

If you want to be the best and have your pick of places to work, you’ll need to show that you are an excellent teacher and that you can outperform everyone else in the running. This might be done through recommendations, awards, positive evaluations, and more. Whether you want a promotion or you’re changing to another school, having these things behind you will improve your chances of working in the place you want to work.

Improve Your Resume

If you want to advance your teaching career, your resume is going to be a vital component. You’ll need to make sure it’s entirely up to date, and that should mean including all your experience and your qualifications on it

Even if you think that something you did isn’t worth adding to your resume, an employer may well think differently, and it’s best to include it just in case rather than leave it out if it would have been a useful – perhaps vital – element in you getting a new job. That job might have more responsibility, higher pay, or be in a school you have always wanted to teach in because you know you can make a difference. Soin order to give yourself the best chance of getting the job you want, include everything you can think of on your resume.

Some people choose to get extra help in creating the ideal resume, and this could be an option for you. Hiring someone to help you write a good resume that will get noticed will certainly cost money, but if it helps you get where you want to go and do what you want to do, it will be worth it; you could look at it as an investment. No matter what, however, having a good resume is vital if you want to advance and enhance your teaching career. If you feel it is lacking, perhaps additional qualifications could help.

Keep Learning

Following on from the point above, the more you know as a teacher, the more your career can advance. This doesn’t just mean knowing everything there is to know (as far as that is possible) about your own teaching subject or age group (although this is hugely important); it also means knowing about teaching in general.

Although this latter point may not feel as though it’s so important, especially if you are focused on one element of teaching and you have a lot of other information to gather and retain, but it can be extremely useful. Understanding more about teaching as a profession and the educational system as a whole will allow you to move forward more easily, and it will mean you can plan out your career path with all the information you need. It’s especially important if you intend to move into management, research, or educational leadership since you’ll need a much more overall education.

If you’re serious about moving forward with your teaching career, gaining additional qualifications is the ideal way to go about it. Studying for an EdD program online means you will gain all that information, and it will show any potential employer that you are passionate, interested, and serious about moving ahead.

Of course, teachers are busy people, and taking time to study for extra certification and qualifications is not always easy. In the past, it might have been impossible to continue teaching (and gaining experience) and study at the same time. Today things are different, and online courses allow a teacher to take on whatever extra learning they want and not have it interfere with their teaching jobs. They can learn at a pace that suits them and, even if it takes a little longer to get where they want to go, they can still get there. So if you were concerned that you wouldn’t be able to become an educational leader or an advanced teacher or a researcher or anything else because you would have to stop working in order to study, this is no longer the case. It’s actually wise to obtain as many qualifications as make sense for your ultimate teaching and career plan if you want to prove you are ready to move forward.

Maintain Healthy Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships in the workplace is hugely important, and although it might not be something you think about when considering how to advance your teaching career, it’s a crucial element to keep in mind. The more connections you can make, the more opportunities will open up to you in the future. Networking might be something you think of in terms of the world of business and entrepreneurs, but it can be of use everywhere, and if you want to advance your career – whether that’s in teaching or anything else – sometimes it really is a case of the people you know helping you. That’s not to say you don’t also need a lot of experience, education, and be good at your job (these things are just as important), but networking can certainly offer you things you might have missed out on before.

The staff in the school you’re working in now aren’t the only people you might benefit from creating positive relationships with. The parents of the children you teach are also important. If they are impressed by what you do and how much you are helping their children, they might pass this on to your employer, and this will help you achieve more. Recommendations and commendations such as this are always going to be useful in terms of moving forward from where you are now to where you want to be.

As well as being offered additional opportunities thanks to your networking efforts, having healthy relationships with your colleagues can help in other ways too. More experienced co-workers will be able to offer plenty of advice, perhaps even mentoring you to help you get ahead in your career and make the most of the opportunities you find. Experience is hard to come by; it necessarily takes time to achieve it. If you have helpful colleagues who are willing to assist and give you extra knowledge and help, that experience can come a little more easily and a little more quickly, ensuring you can reach your goals in good time.

Get Involved

Making a good impression is a crucial part of moving forward with your teaching career and ambitions. In this way, you will be noticed more, and therefore more able to achieve promotion when they come about. Plus, your employers will have a better idea of who you are and what you can do, and they might offer you advancement opportunities you would otherwise have missed out on because of this.

An excellent way to make this kind of impact is to get involved with as many aspects of school life as you can. Of course, you’ll need to be careful about creating a good work-life balance; otherwise, if you do too much, you run the risk of burnout which would be detrimental to your career and your health. However, if you can be careful and selective with what you are involved in with the school, you will be able to make a good impression as someone who is helpful and who cares about the children and their education, no matter what it might be.

To do this, you can:

  • Ensure you go to all meetings (and arrive in plenty of time)
  • Volunteer to help out with some extra-curricular activities
  • Help out on field trips
  • Get involved in discussions and put forward ideas

If you can do all of this, you will be seen as a valuable member of the school community, and you will have much more scope to take your career in the direction you want it to go in.

Side Gigs

We’ve already acknowledged that teaching is hard work and takes up a lot of time; it’s not just a matter of arriving at school for 8am and then leaving at 3pm and not having to do anything else. So having a side gig might not be something you are keen to consider. However, if you can do it, you will be able to gain a lot more experience and knowledge, and this will benefit you in the long term

A side gig can be anything. If you know you want to stay in education, then it should revolve around teaching, however. Perhaps you can start a youth group, or maybe you can get involved in your local Scout group or similar. The more chances you have to help out and do more, the better your career will eventually be.

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