A Few Words on Educators in Career Transition

Educators are people with Intestinal Fortitude. They are people with courage and perseverance to stand up in front of a group and speak to them with authority; not everyone can do that. Persistence, too, is a quality that is characteristic of Educators. They learn early in their profession that it is important not give up on people, but instead set clear goals and make every ounce of their energy available to others in order to help them reach those goals. Educators are also extraordinarily perceptive, trained to listen, to be sensitive to the reactions of others, and to gain feedback as to whether or not their message gets through. If the cliché is true that 90% of the problems of most businesses could be solved by better communication, then people with those skills would be in demand … and they are! You can find them leading programs within businesses and as public relations specialists and “change agents”.
Here are some other perspectives on Educators:

Educators are disciplined organizers who must learn early on in their careers to manage their time and that of others, wisely. Although their classroom hours may be structured for them, all that they do in the preparation and creation of new approaches and the monitoring, et al is performed in an unsupervised environment. This means that they have to set the structure themselves, on their own time, and maintain the discipline required to keep at it. Have you ever known an Educator who does not have strong scheduling, planning, time management and administrative skills? Just to be minimally effective requires careful planning as to course content, materials to be used, pace of learning, plus the optimum mix of role playing, testing, lecturing, drill, and more – very similar to project managers in business and industry.

Educators ARE project managers – and good ones too! They HAVE to be in order to get through the day, week and year. They are normally assigned duties beyond the classroom: Parent and teacher meetings; conferences; professional development workshops; associations meetings; coursework; and presiding over one or more student activities. It is left up to them to provide the organizational structure, goals, milestones for progress, and they are the final authority on matters that might be in dispute. At the same time, they have to understand group dynamics, build consensus, and enlist/enroll others to contribute so that they get the most out of the raw enthusiasm and talent that their students can bring to an activity. Too, it is they who see that things get done and the objectives are met, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and minute-by-minute.

If an Educator fails to function well as an expert project manager and leader, the evidence is glaring and staring them in the face. A poor newspaper article, a yearbook that doesn’t come out on time, a junior prom that flops, an art show with unfinished projects, an archaeology club with no field trips… lack of results has immediate and harsh consequences. When you think about it, time after time and year after year, Educators as a group do turn in outstanding performances in these many roles they are asked to fill.

Educators are also creative professionals. They continually find new and refreshing ways to present material and make it interesting. They are adept at thinking on their feet, solving problems, taking on new challenges and managing “surprises” such as the audience that looks for inconsistencies in an attempt to trip them up if can – it makes news.

Educators are Public Relations, Communications and Community Affairs professionals as they are regularly involved with group and individual sessions with parents/providers/administrators/unions/board members… Often different aspects of the community are touched by Educators’ activities, thus tactful and carefully thought-out communications is a must. This has become especially critical in recent years as schools have been asked to take over more and more of the roles formerly filled by families and the community. For those who are creative and/or thrive on new challenges, it’s a jolt of adrenalin every day.

Educators are Counselors and Consultants. They are expected to provide the psychological and emotional support that many of their students AND families require. They also counsel and consult with each other. This requires the qualities of a good listener, advanced communications skills, a person who gets beyond the symptoms to the causes, a perceptive person who is supportive, compassionate and bold … all these come to the foreground in the Educators who function as counselor and consultant. And finally…

Educators are trainers, motivators and coaches too. They take bodies of information and then design and implement procedures to make sure that audiences (clients, classes, teams) absorb that information. But they do more: They teach people to think for themselves and to develop the skills they need to learn on their own. This creative group of leaders, public relations professionals, program managers and trainers instill a desire in their listeners to take an interest in the subject matter and to work hard at mastering it. When you consider that they do not always have a willing audience, and that the subject matter is not always of the greatest interest to the audience, their motivating feats can be appreciated more fully! They are what’s more, the ideal trainer.

Many formal Educators are General Managers who have started and run small businesses during the summer. It makes little difference whether it is a concession stand at the shore, a landscaping or house painting company, part ownership in a local restaurant; a summer camp, a basketball clinic or running tours for students. In any of these businesses, they learn what it means to meet a payroll and what cash flow and generating revenue are all about; and they learn to deal with the pressures involved in making a profit. They understand the importance of systems to control operations, costs and quality, and tat of good customer service … and “selling” too. They oversee operations, plan direction, serve as spokespersons, train and organize, recruit and motivate, and more. They know how to “act in the moment” and make adjustments when things aren’t going as planned. These Educators also understand logistics and supply chain and many other aspects fundamental to running a business. In general, they can do almost anything good managers of successful small to mid-size businesses can do, and accordingly, for all the Educators who have run or helped others run businesses, there are tens of thousands of potential employers, and that include just about every small and medium-sized business in the U.S.

There you have it … just a few words on Educators! Hopes this helps someone.

Yours truly!

RT