Thursday, May 4, 2017

Teaching and Mentoring in Industry

Contributed by: Marc Pollack

As teachers, the skills we gain are invaluable for the classroom, but they can often seem tethered to it. Much as many of us enjoy teaching, finding a position for yourself as a professor and staying on long term is becoming less and less common. In an environment where new teacher attrition rates are steadily increasing, university professors are facing the harsh realities of a workplace that is demanding much of them without the requisite support. As we scope out other positions to turn to, teachers need to understand how their skills translate to professions outside of academia, and see the value in the wide variety of valuable, transferable skills they’ve gained through their efforts.

Positions ranging from marketing and sales to being a NASCAR pit crew member, despite being tremendously different, depend on a rather similar set of skills. Being rapidly adaptable, thinking on your feet, and managing a team are all traits that can apply to several jobs, and they’re all skills we learn as teachers. We develop our communication and interpersonal skills, learn to effectively plan and strategize for maximum learning potential, identify and address complex problems, and know how to monitor progress, all skills that are always in high demand in any number of industries. We have the means to move to places other than academia and thrive, and though many of us might choose to stay, we should always know that our experiences here are restricting our career options.

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