I originally wrote a version of this networking for teachers post in May 2020 on LinkedIn when I was just a couple months into the transition process. This is an updated version now that I have completed the transition process.
For teachers, networking isn’t often “a thing”. But for those who are looking to transition beyond the world of K12, it is a must.
Teaching is an isolated job. You get to school early, close your door so you can focus on grading without interruptions, scurry to the copy machine hoping there isn’t a line, and work right until the kids come. During every class, the door is closed on your insulated world. You might venture out at lunch, but let’s be real, 25 minutes isn’t actually enough time to connect with the people around you. By the time you leave for the day, you’re so exhausted, you go straight home, put on your jammies, and relax with a cup of tea (or glass of wine).
Not only are teachers isolated, but in many ways, schools are isolated from the rest of the outside world.
For teachers looking to transition out of the classroom, this insulation from the contacts and connections in the community can make the task of transitioning even more daunting.
So how does a teacher start networking?
Tips for Getting Started
Start with social media and the internet
If heading out into the world to randomly meet strangers who might help you get a job seems a little overambitious, take a step back, and think about making connections from the comfort of your own home first.
Where to Start:
Figure out which social media platforms work best for you. Below, I highlight the aspects of the most popular platforms that might help you network.
LinkedIn is a must if you’re trying to transition out of education. This is where professionals network but even if you’re staying in ed, you can connect with school leaders from anywhere. Look to connect with people in the industry you’re interested in.
Instagram is image-based and it’s easier to avoid some of the content you don’t want to be bothered with (news, anyone?!). There are hashtags and people to follow in every niche. Search by keywords for your industry of interest.
Twitter is fast-paced and can be overwhelming for many people, but it is a quick and easy way to share content and connect with educators. Again, search by hashtag or look for people you know from other platforms. From there, you’ll find more people to follow.
Facebook groups make it easy to interact with people in the specific niche areas you’re interested in. There are also several different teacher transition groups available if you want to look beyond education.
No matter which platform(s) you try out, be sure to search for and connect with people in your area(s) of interest.
But don’t just follow people, interact with them.
Join FB groups and talk to the people there. Reach out through Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Ask questions, share ideas, articles, and resources that you like. The people you interact with often will remember you and this will increase your chances of being remembered when opportunities arise.
Read blogs related to your areas of interest and leave comments. Interacting with the writers and the audience through the comments on the blog can open up some amazing connections.
Through these easy steps you can do while watching reruns of Schitt’s Creek, you can start connecting with opportunities outside of your bubble. Chats, webinars, trainings, groups, and other meet-ups are great ways to meet new people, learn more about your area(s) of interest, and spread the word that you’re interested in a change.
Once you have made these virtual connections, keep an eye out for ways to extend them into the real world. Perhaps you’re going to a conference and can meet a virtual friend IRL! Or maybe you connect with someone who lives in your area, what can you two accomplish together in person?
Whether you are just starting the transitioning process or you’re a few months in, networking should always be part of the process. Take advantage of this hyper-connected world we live in and connect!
In my next post, I’ll write about taking advantage of networking opportunities and next steps. Stay tuned! 🙂