If you are changing careers to become a teacher, every book, every career counselor and every life coach will tell you the same thing – you really need to try the job before you switch careers.  In fact, in the “10 steps to a successful career change“, numbers 5, 6, and 7 all include really getting to know your potential new career by truly getting involved in that career – from the website:

  1. Get personal. Find out as much as much as you can about the new fields and reach out to personal contacts for informational interviews.
  2. Set up a job shadow (or two). Shadow professionals in fields of primary interest to observe work first hand. Spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days job shadowing people who have jobs that interest you. (your Indiana Teachers Field Experience)
  3. Try it out. Identify volunteer and freelance activities related to your target field to test your interest.

A teaching career is no different.  The more you experience you have in a school setting, the more successful you can be. You will be able to make a much more informed decision on becoming a teacher and which school, which classroom, what age groups are right for you.  Becoming a teacher is truly a great calling – but a calling that is just as demanding as it is rewarding.

So – how do you try it out?

  1. Substitute Teacing – as much as you can. Our most successful teachers have substitute teaching experience. Make sure you are actually teaching a lesson plan – not just starting a movie. This also gives you a chance to meet other teachers and to truly understand the great things about teaching as well as the challenges. It also gives you an edge for a job opening – you will know school leadership, the teachers, the students, the school climate and culture – this gives you a leg up on the competition for a great teaching job.
    1. If you’re in the Indianapolis area, Purdue Polytechinc High School would love to have you as a substitute. To get more information, fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfFYxJzyaxTGiwJsc3ga7S-V1LSSaAFEcR7iDFA2TLE0AiAfA/viewform and e-mail Lead Instructional Coach Karen Puffer at kpuffer@pphs.purdue.edu
  2. Observe – Did you know we have a “Get Hired” list that identifies Administrators interested in hosting Indiana Teachers of Tomorrow interns? E-mail teach@inteachers.org to take advantage of the list of schools interested in hosting.
  3. Volunteer – schools need volunteers and you can get to know people, see the teacher and get a first hand look at what it means to become a teacher.
  4. Paraprofessional – if  you need a salary, becoming a paraprofessional in your schools a great stepping stone to a full-time teaching role.
  5. Tutor – gain invaluable experience working directly with students in the age range you are targeting and work 1:1 with students to help with work.

The more teaching experience you have, the better prepared you are for day 1 in your classroom.  You can get to know the administration in a building and start to build relationships that could lead to a teaching position. And you now have some great teaching skills on your teaching resume. You will have used some of the teaching skills you learned in your Teachers of Tomorrow program and you will have a network of education professionals to help you get your first teaching job.

You can become a teacher – and you can be an even better teacher if you get some solid experience before your first day on the job!

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