5 Reasons Why Your Company Should Recruit Teachers

September 12, 2013

Teachers make up an impressively large talent pool -- just doing a simple search on LinkedIn shows that there over 4 million people whose professional title is “teacher.”

They also represent an impressively under-recruited group of job seekers. Many of them are searching for new opportunities in the corporate world, non-profits and startups. However, quite often companies ignore them because their skills don’t seem like an immediate fit.

In fact, I believe that now is a great time for companies like yours to consider recruiting teachers, as their skills are transferable to many settings.

Effective teachers are filled with passion, ideas, energy, and have a high-level work ethic. They work well with small groups, large groups and on their own.

Here is a list of the top five skills that teachers possess and will transfer well to any office environment:

Teacher at work

1. They are great team leaders

Teachers manage everything in a classroom, from the basics of the physical environment to the students. In a corporate setting, this would be equivalent to managing 20-30 direct reports. They are able to juggle multiple priorities and manage the pedagogy, the content deliverables, the daily schedule, and the needs of the students, along with balancing classroom behavior.

As leaders, teachers are accountable to many: the students, administrators, parents and the community. In short, teachers are conditioned form the get-go to excel in leading teams and being sensitive to the different needs of the team members, while making sure everybody has the resources and support to perform at a top-notch level.

2. They are project managers

Effective teachers design curriculum and manage projects throughout the school year. These projects are created specifically for students’ needs and are also designated and regulated according to strict state guidelines. One teacher will usually have a class mix of diverse students with great differences in abilities and they will use differentiation methods to assure a lesson or project is tailored to each student.

As in an office environment, they create projects and deliver based on requirement and deadlines. Successful project building is an individual and team-based effort. Teachers consistently meet with their teammates, provide status updates, make changes accordingly and deliver projects that bring success.

3. They know how to communicate  

Being a great teacher means being able to explain complex ideas in ways everybody in the audience can understand. They can talk in third grade language with a student and a minute later they may be leading a professional development workshop for 50 colleagues. Effective teachers are great listeners, presenters, and they understand that accurate, ongoing communication is imperative to the success of the classroom.

All of the communication skills used in education are applicable to the modern office environment. For example, teachers can give solid presentations; make speeches, and present information on a daily basis to an audience. They are designed to be “on” all of the time, and know when it is time to talk and when it is time to listen. They are comfortable standing in front of a room of listeners and know how to catch and save attention. These communication skills transfer easily to the corporate world and provide positive results.

4. They are great problem solvers

Teachers face an astounding amount of choices in any given day. They must solve students’ problems as they come along, and make quick decisions within a short period of time.

In a corporate environment, employees are faced with problems to solve for clients (internally and externally), support those who are working on a problem, or they may be discovering problems before they begin. Solving problems as a teacher can be equivalent to solving problems in the corporate environment. Although the stakeholders may be different, the ability to think quickly, assist others, and solve problems can be quite similar.

5. They are flexible

Flexibility is key in the education field. Teachers must be open to change, as it happens daily. Effective teachers know that the day they have planned will most likely change due to the various needs of the classroom. If a lesson flops, they know how to start over and do it again until all students understand. They realize that in order to find success, they must be able to handle change and produce new deliverables.

In a corporate environment, employees must be flexible, as the needs of customers can change minute by minute. If a customer is not happy with a product or service, the employee must be accommodating and listen, fix, and meet those needs. Teachers must answer to the community, just as corporations must answer to their customers. Flexibility, listening and sharing are all soft skills that are required in both settings.

Teachers fill our communities with compassion, knowledge and an unrelenting passion for making a difference in the lives of others. They make a great addition to any type of team because they bring a wide range of soft and defined skills needed in the workplace today. They also make great office employees because they understand the value they bring, are highly ethical, and take great pride in their work. Effective teachers also know that the work they do anywhere will affect the lives of others in many ways. Educators truly know their customers, whether they are in the classroom or within a corporation.

Companies and recruiters should take note of educators. Teachers bring great experience, built in soft skills, and a wide range of talent that can span across many diverse fields. As education is their primary field, they are always ready to learn.

Robyn Shulman is Director of Instructional Design @ Dreams for Kids and manages the education e-zine ED News Daily

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* image by World Bank Photo Collection

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