How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher

Lexa Pennington's picture

Choosing a career in teaching can be fulfilling, especially for those dedicated to positively shaping students' futures. However, after gaining substantial classroom experience, many educators look for growth opportunities in education or other sectors that allow them to continue making a difference while advancing professionally if you're a teacher considering a career change.

Male teacher at table with students. From How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher

1. Keep a Teaching Log

Select a recording method that you find most convenient, a physical notebook, a Word document, or an app like Evernote, to chronicle the lessons you impart and their outcomes. Make it a habit to note down your reflections at the end of each day, focusing on what was successful and what needs refinement.

Take note of which activities stimulated student involvement and which presented more difficulties. Record the questions students asked. Was there anything that was ambiguous or took too long? Were there unforeseen gaps in students' understanding that hindered the delivery of the more complex parts of the lesson?

Maintaining such records will simplify assembling a teaching portfolio or drafting a teaching philosophy in the future. It will also aid you in modifying and enhancing your lessons as necessary throughout your teaching journey.

Seated female teacher reading to kids sitting on the floor. From How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher

2. Boost or Add to Your Certifications

If you're an aspiring teacher, it's common to need to pass a Praxis test or a similar state exam to show your proficiency. Similarly, experienced teachers often discover that acquiring additional qualifications, such as a Masters of Education in Australia, can enrich their careers while fostering continuous learning and personal growth.

Reflect on your career goals; perhaps you're contemplating broadening your teaching horizons to different grades or subjects or aiming to obtain credentials for an administrative role. With the convenience of self-paced online courses, it's usually possible to pursue further education, all while fulfilling your current teaching responsibilities.

Male teacher in front of classroom. From How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher

3. Connect with Your Peers and Guides

Your fellow educators are a gold mine of wisdom, particularly for novice teachers or those who have recently shifted to a new academic environment. Imagine them as your library of teaching tips and tricks. 

This enriching interaction can include hearty discussions about your experiences, exchanging innovative lesson outlines, and brainstorming solutions for classroom hurdles. It's like adding vibrant colors to the canvas of teaching, making it a job and a journey of joy.

Consider being a silent observer in your colleagues' classes, much like a fly on the wall. If your school management agrees, you could gain the opportunity to observe the teaching styles of esteemed peers. It's like watching a live tutorial on effective teaching, offering new viewpoints and promoting open dialogue.

Don't shy away from inviting others to observe your class too. Think of it as a live performance review that can offer beneficial feedback and ignite discussions about successful teaching strategies.

Remember, the art of communication is the bridge to personal progress. The evolution of your teaching skills is often interconnected with how well you communicate and collaborate with your fellow educators and mentors. The better the connection, the smoother the journey towards becoming an effective teacher.

Group of educators learning and laughing. From How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher

4. Maintain Your Expertise in Your Domain

Imagine you're a high school biology teacher. Of course, you have an excellent grasp of the basic principles and can likely impart similar knowledge to every new batch of students that come through your doors. 

However, remember that the frontier of biology research (along with virtually every other discipline) is perpetually expanding and evolving. Maintaining pace with the latest studies in your teaching domain is crucial throughout your professional journey.

Science teacher doing lab work with students watching. From How to Improve Your Career As a Teacher