In this conversation, Chicago-based Arts teacher, Ann discusses possibilities for new careers after completing an online transferable skills assessment. She was surprised at strengths that were revealed by the assessment and excited at possibilities for the future.
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Aired on May 19th 2021
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Elizabeth Diacos 0:00
Welcome to Season 3 of the Get Out of Teaching Podcast. I'm your host, Elizabeth Diacos. In each episode of this season, I'll be coaching a teacher around one aspect of their move out of Education. You'll have the privilege of listening in on the powerful coaching conversations that move people closer to a life they love. So come along for the ride as we get out of teaching.
Episode 9. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the show. And I'm very pleased to have with me today Ann, who has just completed the online transferable skills assessment. And now we're going to unpack that and, and talk about what she's gleaned from that, the information that she got from the assessment, and to see where that might take her next. So, welcome to the show and thanks for being willing to let everyone be a fly on the wall for this conversation, Ann, thank you.
Elizabeth Diacos 0:58
Okay, so tell us what you discovered from the, from the assessment. So I've sent you a link to an online assessment. And you've had a chance to complete that and, and sort of go through the steps that they asked you to go through. So what was your takeaway from that? What did you glean from that?
Um, I thought it was pretty interesting was like you just learned - if you can still see me, can you still see me?
Elizabeth Diacos 1:28
Oh, I've got just your picture. That's fine.
All right. So real quick, I just pull up the screenshot that I have of it. But um, I thought it was interesting that I had, I was, I thought creativity or... would be my highest, but my highest was analytical. And I was, that was interesting to just see kind of what was, things that I scored highest on, I didn't necessarily expect. And then I was just interested to see, although creative was high, it was interesting to see. When I was reading about the jobs that some of the skills, I'm like, "Okay, we definitely," I don't know, I'm like, I almost feel like it's, I feel like, "There's going to be more to this right?" But a lot of the skills needed for the jobs that I found interesting were skills that I'm like, that could do that in my sleep. So like..
Elizabeth Diacos 2:29
The three jobs I ended up choosing were a curator, graphic designer, or a set and exhibit designer.
Elizabeth Diacos 2:41
Okay. All right, so so, that's really interesting, because I feel like where we've got a lot of similarities, I started out thinking I would become a graphic designer, until I did some work experience at my cousin's graphic design firm, and hated it with a vengeance. Because it was just clicking the mouse all day, you know, a lot of mouse clicking, and it just wasn't, it didn't sort of, I felt like it didn't, there wasn't a lot of creativity involved, as it turned out. But I'm interested because, what you said about being more analytical, I wonder if that's a sort of strength that that you've had to leverage in order to work as a teacher, but it's not actually your core, like what you love? What do you get from that?
That makes sense. I mean, it's definitely something. It's definitely a skill you need. Because when you come into, I mean, everything about Education is, is analysing, right? And you are constantly reading faces and analyzing how kids are perceiving what you're saying, or, you know, receiving your redirects or receiving, you know, any kind of feedback, you're you're giving, you're also analysing, you're analysing how people's behavior seems to be, you know, impacting things. And I mean, it makes sense that, I guess it makes sense that that's pretty high up. I do, my background is, my educational background. My my undergrad is Psychology, so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised, but I feel I've, I've felt like I've so far removed from that. And then I was surprised to see it as high as it was, and I guess in retrospect, it makes sense for, for, for a teacher to have high analytical skills.
Elizabeth Diacos 4:39
Yeah. And just a kind of, I mean, is there an emotion around that for you that that's high for you?
I guess it just surprised me because it was, I felt like, I guess I felt a little bit trapped in terms of the creative, creatively at work, and I just thought that would be like, you know, when I took the survey that would be like, that would be like a huge one like the payout, the money one, right? And then when I saw it was like, you know, organisational and analyticals like, well, that is boring. Boring math teachers, boring, boring math teacher stuff. But it's, it makes me think about those skills in a broader range too, like, you know, a museum curator, I wouldn't think would be very analytical, but it came up as a job. And that sounds really exciting. You know, so..
Elizabeth Diacos 5:45
Okay. Yeah. So I mean, I've noticed that in with other people that that that kind of thing happens where they'd score really high on something that just is not exciting for them at all. And you feel like it's boring. But it also shows what a broad skill set you have, because you've obviously still got that creativity side of you. But you're also been able to build up a skill set in the analytical, organisational side, which then makes you far more appealing. Because you're able to, you know, multi-, sort of, I guess, you've got a multifaceted skill set now, where you can bring creativity, which is your kind of heart language, if you like. But then you've also got this other skill set that you've developed over time, out of necessity, even that might not be your thing.
It's kind of you've had to, and I know that even, you know, right back from when I first started teaching, that there were skills I'd had to develop early on, just to just to function and survive as a teacher. And then, but they weren't the thing that was kind of lighting me up every day, but I still had to do it. So okay, so you've got these three, curator, graphic designer and set and exhibit creator, I guess, like a so this is like, the theater or for maybe from museums, or what what do you think the context of that one is?
I felt like it was, it was kind of broad. So yeah, it could be. I was, I was even thinking about my, like, thinking about it myself. I'm like, I wonder if this could be like storyboarding, or in a small way, something like that, where you're kind of, like a set designer on like, a, like a movie or could be like an exhibit like a museum? I, I'm thinking something like that, but I'm not sure.
Elizabeth Diacos 7:41
Yeah, I think you might be right.
I did read up about it. You know, when it had, it was, it was the description was very, like, open ended. It was more like, you know.
Elizabeth Diacos 7:51
This is a job title that could be in a lot of different technically, technical fields. Same same story different, you know, environment.
Elizabeth Diacos 8:00
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, even thinking, as you're saying that something like, you know, when you go to a conference, and they've got all the, the stands set up, and they've got plants in the corner, and they've got a jar of lolleys, and they've got, you know, I don't know tea and coffee and all that kind of stuff. Someone has curated that environment, to be a welcoming environment, or to be, to have some kind of mood attached to it. So I can see that, that, that could also be that job, it might not be kind of glamorous, but hey, that'd be a whole thing, wouldn't it, just setting up exhibitions and, and trade shows and that kind of thing. Somebody must do that.
I never thought about it either actually, as a job, but I guess someone has to do it.
So okay, so when when we talk about these three options that have come up from that survey, and that these were the ones that you, you obviously picked that there would have been other choices, but these are the ones you thought were going to be the best fit. Out of those three curator, graphic design, in the set and exhibit curator. What sort of gets you excited?
Um, I think the one I found most exciting was curator. Just curator in general. Like, because there's that, because I still, like I'm a natural. I'm a natural teacher. I've always been teaching, even before I was a professional teacher. Um, and I'm a storyteller. So I like to.
Elizabeth Diacos 9:35
It seems like it's kind of really up my my alley, but I I worry about like, does that mean I have to be an expert in some particular field or? I don't know. But then at the same time, I became an expert in middle school math when I wasn't. Um, so.
Elizabeth Diacos 9:57
You're an expert in Education. Like, it's you know, you are an expert, what we need to do is help you to show the value that you bring to if you're going to work for somebody else. Or if you're going to create something of your own, where then you maybe you work as a contractor to other people who are, you know, setting up exhibits and things like that. All who were in a museum or I don't know, there's like hundreds of contexts where that could be a job out there.
Yeah, it definitely has them. And it said that the job because it, you know, it gave the little details about what to expect in the field, and said that the field is growing, which I kind of believe just because, you know, post COVID, I'm sure, there'll be a boom of, you know, exhibits opening up again, and, and things like that. So...
Elizabeth Diacos 10:53
And I think to, like, I know, here in Australia, everyone's scrambling to create experiences for the local community, because international travel's still, and you know, sort of hasn't really come back online properly. And our government's talking about pushing it out until 2023, or something before we can have full blown international travel again. So I know there are people here curating experiences for local travelers who don't need to leave the country in order to, you know, do something cool. Like I've been to the, The La Brea Tar Pits in in LA, which is very cool. And that's like this whole kinda-museum, but it's on site. So you go around to the different sections of it.
And it's got, like, you know, a little show, with a saber toothed tiger, it was so much fun, My daughter was really mad because she wanted to see the Hollywood sign. And we took her to see that instead. But for me as a kind of a bit of an ancient history geek, I loved it. So I think those kinds of experiences are gonna become more popular, as you know, as we want to still do cool stuff, but maybe you don't want to travel overseas and take those risks of the pandemic. So, when you think about that, like, did you get a chance to actually do a bit of a Google search and see if there are any jobs in those fields?
I didn't research too heavily, I just kind of played around with it a little bit. And I just kind of looked at, I really actually mostly researched a lot of places around me that had exhibits and I didn't even know some things existed. But I was just kind of like, looking around just to see like, what, you know, besides you know, an art museum, what else is there? Just because I, I do like I do like the, like, remember when you were saying like the para-teaching roles in terms of they're, they're still Educational, but they're not like a traditional teacher in a classroom. I like that I did. And I was just looking into, you know, what kind of curators do that? What kind of curators are kind of active with their, you know, they may be a part of their exhibit, or they may be with it, or they may help it move along. So I did, I did that I didn't necessarily research too much. But, um..
Elizabeth Diacos 13:29
Right, so you're talking about things like running a tour of an exhibit or explaining something, you know, to the audience, that kind of thing?
Yeah, yeah, some kind of exactly something where you're, where you get to share your passion for whatever it is, you know, and, or share the history of something. And I lucked out, because I'm close to Boston and stuff. There's a lot of, there's a lot, there's a lot more than I even realized, places around, and a lot of history and things like that. So..
Elizabeth Diacos 14:05
Awesome. Okay, so what do you think the next step is, then? Given that you've now you've got this broad skill set of both creativity and these organisational analytical skills? You've you found three potential jobs, one of which is really kind of getting you excited? What do you think the next step needs to be?
I think I need to do a little bit more research on like, what does it mean to be in that position? And what do you need for that? I don't, it's hard to it's, it's sometimes hard to tell what skills are like necessary for a job and what skills, you know, how do I put this. Like what skills you can have, like this is, obviously, transferable skills, right? So a lot of them in the write up, it said a lot of like, how your skills would transfer over to this position.
Elizabeth Diacos 15:02
But then I wonder like, do I need to have something else? Then you know, any other level of expertise? Or can I walk in and learn it? Like I learned, you know, middle school math curriculum? You know, I'm not, I guess.
Elizabeth Diacos 15:20
Yeah, so I guess it would depend a little bit on what, which area you went into, like, if you went into museum curatorship, there's bound to be some kind of short course for that, I would imagine. I remember doing a short course in, like art, curating art exhibitions and writing the curatorial box for art exhibitions back, you know, years ago, before I even started teaching. So there's definitely little things you can do along the way. I guess what we want to find out, though, is any of that kind of translate quickly into another job, which is kind of what what would be the next logical step is? How much extra study do you need to take on before you can move into something new?
And I guess the best way to find that out is to start asking people. Start asking questions. So I'm going to give you some homework. And I know you're still teaching and busy, and it's night time there, and you've had a big day. As like, as every teacher has. But...
Elizabeth Diacos 16:23
I think it'll be really helpful to pick out say, I'm gonna say 20, knowing that that's possibly a high benchmark, 20 places and see if you can find on LinkedIn or through, you know, just a bit of basic research, who you would need to speak to, and take them out for coffee. Who do I need to speak to, about this role? And, and maybe have some questions like, "How did you get into this role?" "If someone, a young graduate was coming in? What would they need?" "What if there was someone more experienced, what would they need to bring to the to the, you know, to the party?" sort of thing to, to take on a role in this in this place? And, and what what are the highlights, maybe?
And one of the bits that the challenges of this job? And then maybe ask a question like, like, "What's a day in the life of a museum curator, or exhibition curator?" or, you know, I'm trying to think of other options, I'm struggling here. But you know, people who curate spaces, then they they have days, like, what's that day look like for them? I've been to co-working spaces where there's someone there curating an experience for the people coming in, and they would have guest speakers and all those kinds of things. And, you know, provide lunch and all the rest, and someone made that experience happen. So that's a, that's a curatorial role of sorts. So, so what are the, what's the scope of this role?
And then also, if I wanted to do it, what would be a nice environment? If you talk to 20 people, especially if you've got to go and meet them at their workplace? I know this is a big task, especially when you're working full time. But you know, your, you're a bright, sparkly, particularly today, covered in glitter. You know, like, you've got the capacity, I think, to have those conversations, and be brave enough to have - imagine what you could learn if you spoke to 20 people in this industry.
Yeah, that would be, I wish I talked to 20 people before I started this job.
Elizabeth Diacos 18:53
Yeah, no comment. I'm pretty sure a lot of teachers that feel the same way. That they wish they'd had a little bit more information about what it actually entailed. You almost need to do work experience. Before you do your, your course don't you? With Education. I actually did but I was in year 10 at high school. And there was a big gap between doing that and becoming a teacher. So I think that, it changed a lot over time. So what's your takeaway from our conversation now?
Um, I would say that it would just be to, to, to research and to get the dialogue flowing about what what is. What is this job going to be like in the in the real world versus what it's like on paper and see what that, and see if that's going to mesh with what? What I'm envisioning for the future. What'd to see the big, the big takeaway.
Elizabeth Diacos 19:59
Because it's easy to say, "That's gonna, that's gonna be awesome." And then it could be, it could be, you know, not a good mix, and then you'd be down this rabbit hole again, you know. So..
Elizabeth Diacos 20:12
Elizabeth Diacos 20:17
So after that call ended, Ann and I spoke for a little bit longer and she's going to go off and try and make contact with six people in that industry in that curation industry to see if she can sit down, have a coffee with them. So actually go to their workplace, try and meet with them, ask them some questions about what their job looks like from day to day. And to see what skill set she would need to bring into a role like that, and what qualifications if any, that she needs to pursue in order to be able to work in that field. This is still an investigative process for Annie. And you know, it's just the very beginning of the whole process where maybe she'll decide it's not her thing, but there's only one place to begin.
And that's just putting one step, one foot in front of the other, and doing the research that's required, so that she's really sure that if she's going to change out of Education, and into something new, that she actually is pretty certain that that's a good decision. And I guess the only way to really find out is to try it, but in the meantime, she can make an informed, you know, decision about it. And I guess the other thing I wanted to say is if you would like to have a conversation like that, where we unpack the results of the transferable skills assessment, you can find the booking link to a transferable skills assessment and the conversation that follows it.
It's on my website, at larksong.com.au and just click on that link, and it'll take you to the booking link for a transferable skills assessment. And we can have a conversation afterwards. And that's a paid service. So there's a, it explains it when you when you click on the link about how to to make a payment for that. And I think we'll leave it there. Thanks, everyone. Thanks for watching and listening. Take care, bye.
If this is the kind of conversation you'd like to have, here's some ways we can make that happen. You can connect with me via my website, larksong.com.au or join the get out of teaching Facebook group or send me a message. You don't need to stay stuck in a job that makes you miserable. I offer a free 10 minute triage call to people who are ready to explore possibilities for the future. So let's have a chat. You've been listening to the Get Out of Teaching Podcast please share it with your teacher buddies and for show notes and other resources visit larksong.com.au/podcast
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