On a visit to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami Florida, I met a nurse. In one of our many conversations she announced that formerly, she was a trained school teacher who had taught for a number of years. I was also reminded by a colleague from St. Kitts-Nevis that many of their past and current officials were teachers. This included the only female on the government team, Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Education Planner and Chief Education Officer.
As a teacher, these experiences ‘shook me to the core’ because they went against a deeply held belief that teaching is not a stepping stone or a springboard to another career. However, as I reflected on my long-held, deeply engrained idealistic notion, I concluded that the action of the ‘teacher-turn-nurse’ and the other highlighted above, may have ‘come of age’ and that they are encouraged by the nature of 21st-century career trends and the nature of teacher education and training.
The nature of 21st-century career trends
What are the trends in 21st-century careers? First, it is an understood fact that a large number of people do not work in the area in which they have their degree. Second, even if one is lucky enough to be employed in the area listed on one’s degree, the average adult will change jobs a number of times over the span of a career. The reasons for doing so are many. However, given these present-day career realities, it seems irrational to insist that teachers generally, and especially those who are unrefreshed, getting bitter and disenchanted, limit themselves to teaching because they are trained teachers. For as we see, limiting oneself to a single job over a period of a lifespan is no longer the norm in 21st-century careers but the exception.
The nature of Teacher Education and Training
The nature of education and training teachers receives and in particular the skills and content knowledge they develop during training are transferable to other jobs. This also helps to encourage the idea that maybe it is time to promote teaching as a springboard to other careers. For example, teachers during training, develop technical, numeracy, communication and social skills which are very desirable in most organizations. Skills and knowledge developed make teachers a good fit for jobs such as:
- Entry Level Managers
- Corporate Trainers
- Sales personnel
- Human Resource personnel
- Project Coordinators
- Event Managers
- Entry Level Software Developer
- Social Workers
- Administrative positions
- Real estate agent
- Insurance agent
- Business services
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it helps to support the point I am making.
I must point out to those who might object to reason number two for promoting teaching as a springboard or stepping stone to other careers, that this occurrence is not to be construed as an indictment against teacher education and training, but an endorsement of its dynamic nature.
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