When you think of education, what types of career opportunities come to mind?
For many of us, our first thoughts turn to teachers who positively impacted our lives…our favorite teacher from elementary school…the high school P.E. teacher who helped hone our athleticism…the middle school math instructor who patiently explained algebraic formulas again and again and again.
Seeking a career where you can make a difference? Education opens doors on a wide range of careers, and not just as a teacher. Educator roles extend beyond the classroom—to non-profit organizations, higher education, and businesses—in advising, coaching, training, and consulting roles.
During Career Conversations: Education, Logger alumni shared stories and insights about their work inside and outside of the classroom, in school districts and non-profit organizations.
Here’s a sampling of what they most enjoy about their work, along with advice for Logger students who are considering career paths that involve making a difference:
Rachel Askew ’16, Admissions Coordinator at KidsCentre, Inc.: I love the chance to see people’s lives transformed through relationships and being known.
Advice: Work based in relationship development can sometimes feel overwhelming and like you are responsible for the welfare of the young people or leaders you serve, but more often than not you cannot see what type of garden the seed you planted will produce. Persevere and take care of yourself.
Kainoa Higgins ’08, MAT ’09, Co-Director Tacoma School of Industrial Design, Engineering, and Arts (IDEA): Every student deserves the opportunity to grow into the best version of themselves. I’m proud to play a role in supporting the future leaders and problem-solvers of our communities.
Advice: Becoming a teacher is fairly simple. Being a high-quality educator is one of the most challenging careers one can pursue. It requires a perpetual growth-mindset, self-less dedication, and the patience of a saint. That said, it is also one of the most rewarding ways to focus your life, knowing that—student by student—you’re helping make the world a better place.
John Hines ’05; MAT ’06, Instructional Facilitator for Academic Equity and Access, Tacoma Public School District: The chance to serve in the district that gave me my start in education, that ignited my passions, fostered my creativity, and pointed me in the right direction gives purpose to my work every day with teachers.
Advice: Follow your passion and bring it into your work. Start your career with the understanding that you should always be growing, experimenting and reflecting on your work. If you do this, over time you will build upon the victories, learn from the mistakes, grow from the struggle, be ready to lead and coach others.
Madeline Isaacson ’13; MAT ’14, 1st Grade Teacher, James Sales Elementary School: Every day I recognize that I can play a role in helping children develop their own passion for learning that would later translate into them becoming stronger students.
Advice: I recommend that students interested in pursuing a career in education seek out opportunities to engage with students and teachers in the grade levels they are interested in; volunteering in classrooms and programs with children is a powerful learning opportunity. Working with children will allow students to observe the ways in which children and adolescents are able to develop significantly greater confidence and excitement in their academic skills as the year progresses. This is a profound experience for students to take with them into their work in the field.
Advice: Students who seek to pursue this type of work should talk with a school counselor to learn more about what the job looks like, and if possible, shadow one in order to experience the life of a school counselor. Getting as much experience as possible in working with children and families, both in schools and in the community, is also valuable.
Kariann Lee ’13, Assistant Director of Academic Advising at the University of Puget Sound: Careers associated with education involve “Connecting, listening, and learning from others and being a part of helping.”
Advice: Follow your heart! Remember to do the things you need to do to fill your cup too.
Advice: Seek out leadership roles when and wherever you can. It is critical to be able to draw from personal experience and helps establish your credibility with clients. Also, meet with people frequently and often. If you’re not comfortable, think of networking as simply getting to know people. If you approach with the attitude of how you can help someone, it can be quite fun.
Julia Miller ’11, Youth & Family Education Manager, Bellevue Arts Museum: I love working directly with kids and families and seeing the joy on their faces when they slow down and make art together.
Advice: One of the most important aspects of being successful in education is being a supportive and effective team member. All the jobs and internships I’ve had so far in the museum education field have taught me that working well as a team behind-the-scenes is just as important as working well with students and the public.Take time now to be more intentional about the ways you support team-based work and continue building on those skills.
Maggie Roach ’16, College Access Corps Program Coordinator (AmeriCorps): I enjoying being able to work with a large and varying group of individuals with a vast amount of talents.
Advice: Talk to people in the field you are interested in! Gain insight and advice from a variety of people who have been in the field for any number of years because they all have their unique insight. I find talking to people especially important in my “field” because I myself am still new to it and there are countless career opportunities, and as much as I want to do them all that is not the reality. Grab coffee, find a mentor. They can help you navigate possible career pathways. This is how I found AmeriCorps. I had two supervisors suggest it as an entry pathway to higher education, which then opened the door to working with high school students (something I never imagined pursuing.)
Make sure to join the next Career Conversation. Connect, listen, learn…you just might open the door to your own career path! Visit the web site to see what’s coming up next: pugetsound.edu/CareerConvos
Photo Credits | Head shots provided by each alum, Career Conversations poster elements created by Audra Delisle ’11
© 2017 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound