Teachers in K-12 are quitting their profession at a higher rate than ever before, noted a Wall Street Journal article last year. You have undoubtedly seen in the news what has been dubbed the “teacher-strike tsunami,” by the Washington Post, still washing over the country. Many teachers are tired of the low salary and high cost of benefits that come with their profession. But teachers are not the only ones who are dissatisfied in their workplace; as much as 70 percent of the U.S. workforce is dissatisfied with their work situation.
And, perhaps because of this dissatisfaction, people are job-hopping more now than they have in the last 17 years. The prevalence of the Internet and increasing availability of finding jobs online has helped many skilled workers in America find new jobs easily within their area. One hop for teachers that could come with a higher salary and lower cost for benefits is the talent development profession.
The talent development profession is set to grow by 10 percent year over year—a rate much higher than the national average job growth rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the 2017 ATD Salary Report, the average talent development professional makes between $80,000 and $89,000. And teachers are skilled in many of the same areas in which trainers, talent development managers, and instructional designers are skilled.
Instructional designers are tasked with analyzing and understanding what their audience needs to learn; creating and designing that coursework, along with developing instructional materials, handouts, and job aids; then assessing what the audience has learned. While the models may sound different and the audience may be a bit taller with more facial hair than what K-12 teachers are used to, the fundamental skills are based on the same components.
Moving from the classroom to the talent development space can seem daunting for some; but for many, the love of teaching is the main reason why they make the switch—and find themselves so good at their new jobs.
“After feeling like such a failure in the public school sector, this job (teaching adults technology) really helped me gain back my confidence in my own teaching abilities. I also found that I was actually a very good teacher!” said Hillarie Hunt, learning and development director at the NWEA and a former high school teacher.
Of course, many of the challenges teachers experience transfer to the training space. And to be honest, teaching a roomful of adults on a concept as dry as compliance is not going to give you the same fulfillment as teaching a child how to read or helping them discover that space and time is continuous. For all the pluses of the talent development field, there are certainly a few drawbacks as well—and many feel very similar to those in the K-12 environment.
No organization or role is without its problems or downfalls, but for those considering leaving teaching K-12, a natural next step in your education career might be moving to the adult education space and the talent development profession.
To find out more about moving from teaching to instructional design, please sign up for this free webcast on Thursday, March 21, with former teacher Kari Knisely.