Seven Transferable Skills Teachers Can Take to Other Professions

Last Updated on August 28, 2017 by Karl Thompson

  1. Producing engaging written and audio visual resources
  2. Emotional sensitivity
  3. Evaluation and decision making based on standardized criteria
  4. Presentation and communication skills
  5. Facilitating participation
  6. Simultaneous independent and collaborative working
  7. Reflexivity, which incorporates flexibility.

Seven transferable skills which teachers can take with them to kinder careers

Given the depth and breadth of skill which teaching requires, combined with the unbearable amount of stress which teachers are expected to soak up, teaching is without doubt one of the most undervalued professions in the United Kingdom, and I’m fairly sure this is also the case in pretty much every country outside of Scandinavia.

Evidence for this (at least in the UK) lies in the fact that 30% of teachers quit within five years, and the thought of quitting is no doubt at the forefront of the majority of teachers’ minds towards the end of a long summer holiday; and no, a six week summer holiday is not enough compensation.

Just in case you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of undervalued teachers thinking of moving on, here’s a list of transferable skills which you can use to promote yourself to your next employer….

  1. Producing written and audio visual resources that engage a differentiated audience for a sustained period (over month or years) – teachers are required not only to produce quality written ‘work sheets’ which are clearly written and structured, they also have to incorporate a range of audio visual (video/ podcast/ websites/ online tests) within these in order to engage learners. A related benefit is that teachers tend to have both sound levels of knowledge in their specific fields and excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation.*
  2. Emotional Sensitivity – working with vulnerable children requires teachers to pick up on the special needs of students early on, which may not be communicated verbally by the students themselves. An extremely useful skill when working with a range of colleagues and clients in any profession.
  3. Judgement and decision making – the ability to evaluate students’ work according to standardized criteria and provide constructive oral and written feedback to help students/ colleagues/ clients improve their performance in a timely fashion
  4. Presentation skills – teaching requires the ability to present complex information in clear, concise and accessible manner, communicating the goals of lessons clearly to participants at the beginning of a particular session. It also involves the use of humor, analogies, examples, metaphors, stories, and delivery methods other than lecture or PowerPoint to engage an audience.
  5. Facilitating participation through small and large group discussions – teaching involves doing a range of pair-work and discussion work in groups of 3-6, with feedback being given to the whole class. Teachers are experts in making sure everyone feels like they are participating and having a voice.
  6. Independent and Collaborative working – teaching involves both working independently to plan lessons/ mark students work, while simultaneously working collaboratively with colleagues to share information about students in  order to deliver the best outcome for students.
  7. Reflexivity – The ability to continually reflect on one’s own performance and respond to constructive criticism based on feedback from peers and supervisors in order to improve one’s own performance. All of this has to be done within the context of shifting parameters of educational policy, so one also has to pick up new skills and knowledge in order to respond to systemic changes.

Sources and comments on other people’s lists of teaching transferable skills 

I derived this list from the two lists below. Mine is better, but thanks to those who gave me a leg up!

Gina Smith from Branden University suggests the following list Of Top 20 Transferable-Skills:

  1. Active Listening
  2. Complex Problem Solving
  3. Coordination
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Diagnostic Tests
  6. Grading
  7. Instructing
  8. Judgment and Decision Making
  9. Learning Strategies
  10. Lesson Plan Development
  11. Problem solving
  12. Management
  13. Monitoring
  14. Multitasking
  15. Reading Comprehension
  16. Relationship Management
  17. Service Orientation
  18. Speaking
  19. Social Perceptiveness
  20. Time Management
  21. Writing

How useful is this list?

To be blunt, I don’t find this particularly useful – somehow the list manages to include too much information and not enough specificity both at the same time. If you were going to write a new C.V. in order to transition out of teaching, you would probably include all of the above words, but you’d be better off re categorizing them so you had fewer key-skills.

Whoever it is who writes the ‘Life after Teaching Blog’ provides the following five basic transferable skills for teachers:

1. strong written and oral communication skills

2. strong interpersonal skills

3. demonstrated ability to work independently

4. demonstrated problem solving skills/ability to learn new things quickly

5. demonstrated ability to work under pressure/in a fast paced, deadline-driven environment

How useful is this list? 

Well it’s better than the above list because they’ve thought about the key ‘skill sets’ better – personally I think this is a nice, general list, and full disclosure, this guy also has another list of ’12 skills which teachers have’ which helped me a lot with writing the above post!

If, like me, you’re also thinking about quitting teaching, do get in touch.

*If you call me out on my own slightly dodgy grammar it WILL NOT be appreciated, in fact, regard yourself as having received a virtual slap if you’re one of the smug.

16 thoughts on “Seven Transferable Skills Teachers Can Take to Other Professions”

  1. Thank you for the list which was very helpful when justifying my skills in to another field.

  2. It’s a tough one, I understand. It took me four years of planning to get out – I could have done it in three, but four was safer.

    You need to find an alternative career and start building towards it – if that means retraining – either part time while you teach or identify a course starting Sept/ Oct next year and retrain full time. It’d be a massive financial hit but you’d be much better off in the long run.

    There’s no sugar coating the fact that the transitions gonna be difficult I’m afraid, but it sounds like you have to get out!

  3. I agree. I-m thinking about getting a little ‘crew’ together for some private tuition once a week. Then you get some sense of reward without any of the hassle.

    Just have to figure out the logistics.

  4. Soz about the delay in replying. That was the exact length of time I lasted 16 years and the reason I left. Best if you can hold out to Xmas and have a clean break!

    Better to be poorer and sane. Best of luck with the transition. It’s easier when you have no choice but to quit.

  5. Thank you for this list. I am also another looking to leave the profession. It’s a shame because I really do find it rewarding working with youth, but with the heap of other adjacent duties that require more time than we actually spend teaching, there is almost an element of imposed martyrdom that is burning us out far too quickly!

  6. Thank you for this list. Incredibly helpful. I am planning my departure in the next month or two. I have been a teacher for 16 years and I simply cannot go on. My physical and mental health are suffering. You are right, it is a travesty.

  7. I do want to get out of teaching, but I do not know where to turn or how to go about it.

  8. It’s the only option in the current system. It’s simply unsustainable.

  9. Thank you for this useful list. I too am using it as I work on getting out of teaching.

  10. I’m using this last year in teaching to (attempt to) thoughtfully prepare for departure. This post will go into my log of “research” as I move forward. Thanks!

  11. Thank you for posting this – a very helpful list as I prepare for my interview. Kate 🙂

  12. Thank You 🙂 for your Seven Transferable Skills Teachers Can Take to Other Professions. I know us teacher’s do a lot but sometimes feel overwhelmed that I have no skill set at all. lol…
    Your explanation makes me feel much better. 🙂

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