Education

Changing Careers

September 24, 2007 3 min read

I graduated in 1985 in Wisconsin with a Home Economics - Education degree with a Family Life and Child Development minor. My husband and I moved around a lot and I stayed home and raised our three girls, so I have a checkered work history, which involves very little teaching and mostly cooking. Now we live in Minnesota and 23 years after graduating I have decided that I want to teach! My first plan of attack has been to apply for my Minnesota teaching license, it’s pending now, and if I get it, I will spend this year subbing and fulfilling testing requirements for the renewal next year. Then what? My question to you is what are some important avenues for me to explore? What should I be doing, while subbing, to help me make my next move? Where can I get more experience than subbing so that I can look more experienced on my résumé? Do I look for schools that have Family and Consumer Science (new name for Home Economics) in their curriculum and sub there?

Thank you for your time. Dina

Hi Dina,

Congratulations! Your decision to pursue teaching as a career should be a great fit for someone who has been a parent and who has also had a background in the area of Home Economics/Family Life.

Agent K-12 now accepts questions about finding jobs in education. Our Web site is dedicated to providing job seekers with top school openings. E-mail careerquestions@agentk-12.org to have your questions answered by an expert in the school recruitment field.

You’re correct – the new name for the field is Family and Consumer Science, and teachers in that field are in strong demand. Any subbing experience that you could get in the field would greatly enhance your résumé. If you are fortunate enough to find a long-term substitute position in that field, it would be even better.

If, however, you cannot find adequate subbing possibilities in Family and Consumer Science, don’t be too concerned. Any subbing will strengthen your candidacy as a teacher. Just being in the classroom and gaining current exposure to students, teaching methodologies, teaching colleagues, and changing trends in the field of education will be an asset.

Your background as a parent will make you an excellent applicant. Be sure to emphasize, on your résumé, any personal history that you’ve had with your children or with teaching cooking, even informally, that uses transferable skills. You may have been a room parent, a PTO member, or a field trip sponsor, for example. These are all ways that you can demonstrate your interest and expertise in working with students.

If you’ve taught cooking, you’ve worked directly with Family and Consumer Science subject matter that is a part of the curriculum. This, too, is valuable training.

Here are some other hints to help you as you prepare to embark on this new career:

  • Get to know as many teachers and administrators in your local schools as you can.
  • Make appointments to talk with principals in the schools where you sub; ask about what they look for in teaching candidates, and seek their advice on ways to become the most marketable candidate possible.
  • Become familiar with the problems that face your local school district, especially if that’s where you are hoping to teach. Learn about plans for expansion, change, and programmatic innovations.
  • If you still have children in the schools, volunteer to assist with activities in which they might be involved.

Most importantly, be confident that you have something special to offer. Teacher applicants who are also parents have unique insight into the educational, developmental, and social issues that face students. Build upon this, and don’t undersell yourself. Remember that you are your own best advocate.

I’m sure you will be able to bring some very distinctive qualifications to any teaching job for which you apply.

Good luck!

This answer, provided by Dr. Dawn Scheffner Jones, online education and health advisor for career services at Northern Illinois University, is intended for informational purposes only. Opinions are solely those of the participants.