First Step to Managing Your Stress [Part 1 of 7]

I speak to groups about strategies for managing stress. When I do, the first thing I talk about the importance of staying hydrated.

Your body needs water for several reasons. If for no other reason, however, your brain needs to be well hydrated if you want to make good decisions.

Regardless of your occupation, you need to be clear-headed and focused. If you are a teacher, being clear-headed and focused is especially important.

Brain cells need a balance between water and other elements to function properly. When you are thirsty or even slightly dehydrated, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201010/why-your-brain-needs-water)

If you are a teacher, I can hear your objections now. More water means more trips to the bathroom, right? And if you are a teacher, you can’t just take off any time you feel like it for a trip to the restroom. You can’t leave your kids alone. I get that. But I also know that if you are in charge of students, you need to be at your best every minute of the day. That means operating at the height of your efficiency. So, figure out a plan. Get someone close by to watch your children while you make a quick trip. The bottom line is that the first order of business in managing your stress is being hydrated.

Your brain works more efficiently. And your other bodily functions will also work more efficiently, too. Your kidneys, heart, and digestive system will work better when hydrated.

So, drink when you are thirsty. Steer clear of sodas and sugary drinks. Drink water as much as you can. Adjust your water intake according to your physical exertion. Consider your environment. Also, consider other factors including if you are a new mom who is breastfeeding.

Staying hydrated is a first step toward the self-care everyone owes themselves.  You are drinking enough water if you are rarely thirsty and your urine is a light color of yellow. Check out this article to see a chart demonstrating the color for which you should be striving. (https://dripdrop.com/blogs/news/chart-dehydrated)

For more information or questions for me, please feel free to reach out to me at kittyboitnott@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

I also offer some tools that you may find useful. Learn how stressed you are now by taking a free stress test. Download the self-assessment tool here:  https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/stress-assessment/

Download a free eBook on stress management here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/ebook/

I am also offering a new 7-part Mini-Course on stress management during the holidays. For more information, take a look here: https://boitnottcoach.samcart.com/products/holiday-stress-7-part-mini-course/

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Until next time.

 

Strategies for Managing Stress for Teachers

 

In a previous post entitled, “Teaching is Stressful,” I wrote that I would provide thoughts on how teachers can manage their stress in a future series. I write this now because I know that teacher stress is building right now. It’s that time of year.
 
See the chart below to see a graphic of how the first-year teacher experiences stress.

 

This chart illustrates the typical experience of many first-year teachers. First-year teachers aren’t the only ones who experience stress because of school, though. By now many veteran teachers are hanging on, waiting in anticipation of Thanksgiving. The long weekend represents a respite from the stress of school.
 
I have written about this cycle that keeps some teachers stuck with the profession. That post is, “The Cycle that Keeps Teachers Stuck.”
 
Many people in the general public don’t understand what teachers experience. The fact is, though, that teachers in today’s classrooms are feeling a heightened sense of stress. I know because they contact me almost daily, and the number of calls has spiked earlier than usual this year.
 
There are many things that teachers can do to help manage and reduce the effect of their stress. But doing so means committing to taking better care of themselves.
 
The first–and least expensive–stress management strategy a teacher can adopt is staying hydrated.
 
I know the first reaction of many teachers is to say, “Are you kidding? Who has time to go to the bathroom?”
 
And I know it is true. Many teachers don’t get bathroom breaks for long periods of time. One way to manage that reality is to limit the amount of liquid they take in.
 
That approach is problematic, though. Your brain is made up of 75% water. Your brain will take precedence over other organs in your body in its effort to stay hydrated. That can have long-term negative effects on your heart, kidneys, and digestive system.
 
But your brain needs to stay hydrated because it needs water to function.

Flat infographic concept of everyday water drinking, water consumption

 
In a post on the website, “The Conversation,” as little as 1 percent dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination.
 
Teachers need to be 100% present and able to think quickly and clearly. If you are even mildly dehydrated, you can’t be your best.
 
Staying hydrated also helps those who are prone to migraines. And it can help maintain a healthy weight. Often, people will eat a sugary snack thinking they are hungry and they are thirsty instead.
 
Start taking steps toward managing your stress by staying hydrated.
You may experience an urge to go to the bathroom more frequently at first. But once your body gets used to being properly hydrated, you shouldn’t have to go that often. Work out a system with a teaching partner to cover for you while you make a bathroom break, and you do the same for them.
 
Making yourself sick by not taking care of yourself serves no one, least of all your students. They need you to be on top of your game all the time. They pay the price if you get cranky and moody because you are approaching mild dehydration. Do yourself–and them–a favor and stay hydrated. It is a good first step toward managing your stress more effectively and proactively.
 
Want to learn more on how to manage your stress? Get a free PDF, “Stressed, Stretched, and Just Plain Overwhelmed.” It is my gift to you. I hope you will use to help you manage your stress starting today.

 

[Case Study] Meet Angie Crockwell, a Teacher Who Found Her Passion Again

Meet Angie Crockwell, a music teacher who came to me for help with her job search early in 2017. She was on a sabbatical from her job as an elementary school band teacher when she found me and reached out to me for assistance with her job search.

In spite of her passion for music, Angie had gotten burned out with her job as an elementary band teacher. She was feeling the physical symptoms, and when she contacted me, she was already dreading the thought of returning to her school in the fall.

She had hopes of finding a position as an arts administrator in a non-profit, but as time went by, she had little luck finding those types of positions and landing them even if she got as far as an interview.

Angie decided to work with me because I had been an educator myself and I understood her feelings. After our initial complimentary strategy session, she decided to try the Starter Program which was intended to help her gain some clarity around what she wanted—and needed—next in her career.

A few months after completing the Starter Program, she reached out to me and asked about what her next steps might be. She decided to upgrade to the Group Coaching Program which gave her access to the rest of the program I offer:  (1) instruction on how to write a resume directed toward the next job you want; (2) help with an optimized LinkedIn profile; (3) learning how to write a compelling cover letter; (4) auditing social media profiles, and (5) preparing for an interview among other things.

She also benefitted from the group coaching support. It was eye-opening to learn that she wasn’t the only teacher feeling the way she felt. In fact, in her particular cohort, she was one of three music teachers going through the program!

Listen to Angie’s story in her own words as she explains how stressed out and unhappy she was when she first came to me and how happy she is now in her new position as a high school band director. She has found her passion for music and teaching again!

 

Angie’s experience shows that sometimes all you need to recharge your batteries or overcome the pain of burnout is to make a change in grade level, school, or school district. You may not have to leave teaching altogether to find your joy in teaching again.

Of course, if you have decided that you DO need to leave teaching in order to enjoy your work again, that’s okay, too. Life is too short for you to be spending it in work that you don’t enjoy, no longer find fulfillment in, or feel that you aren’t making a difference by doing anymore. Whatever it is for you that will fill you with joy again, that’s what I want for you.

I hope you found Angie’s story uplifting. If you would like to learn more about how I might assist you in making the change you want, please reach out to me and make an appointment for a no-obligation 20-minute strategy session. It won’t cost you anything but 20 minutes of your time…and it may change your life forever.

Sign up now.

Teaching is Stressful

Here's What You Can Do About It

There are people in the general public who think that teachers have an easy job. They have no idea. These are often the same people who can’t wait to send their one or two children back to school after a break. They never stop to think that their kids’ teachers manage 25 to 30 kids all day long five days a week.

 

We are all more stressed today than ever. There are many reasons for this. Just consider what has happened in the last few weeks:

(1) Three category 5 hurricanes that we watched play out on TV with 24-7 coverage including breathtaking rescues.
(2) The ongoing rescue, recovery, and agonizingly slow aid efforts in Puerto Rico along with the Virgin Islands and other territories that may take years to recover.
(3) A 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, and again, we watched breathtaking and sometimes, heartbreaking rescue and recovery efforts.
(4) The largest mass shooting in America’s history (so far) and the never-ending debate about gun control in this country.
(5) Fires that swept through whole neighborhoods in California. Thousands of people have lost their homes, cars, pets, and everything they ever accumulated in their lives. They are starting from scratch.

(6) And if you are a political junky, you can’t stop watching the drama that is playing out in Washington, DC. Regardless of your personal politics, the division and the polarization that has gripped the country is taking a toll on all of us, even if you try to block it out.

It’s almost too much to think about. Yet, think about it, we must. It’s part of our current reality, and unless you live under a rock or in a cave, you cannot be unaffected by it all.

And then there is work. The average professional–not just teachers–finds that work is taking up more and more time and energy. We are all trying to do too many things at once. And even when the clock says it’s time to go home, we often take our work with us. We are also “on call” to respond to email well into the evening unless we decide to say, “no.”

Busy woman trying to do many things at once.

All of these factors impact stress and burnout in teachers and other busy professionals.

Right now, I am just speaking to teachers, however.

 

When teachers call me about burnout, it isn’t always because they are burned out with their students. Most of them admit that they still love their kids. In fact, they will say, “If I could just be left alone to teach, I’d be okay. It’s all the other stuff that I can’t take anymore.”

If you are a teacher, that may sound familiar.

 

Teaching has grown to be a difficult job because of the increased demands upon teachers in general. Again, people in the public have no idea what their child’s teacher does in their time off. And let’s be honest. They don’t care. They are unaware of the hours it takes to prepare for a typical day or lesson. They don’t understand what goes into grading papers. They just don’t get it. And why should they?

 

So, what’s a teacher to do if they are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with the job with no remedy in sight? If the stress goes unchecked, it may lead to burnout, and burnout could mean changing your whole career path. Wouldn’t it be better if you could find a way to manage your stress and avoid burnout altogether?

 

That is what the next several posts will be about. I will offer suggestions for teachers. These suggestions will include specific tools, techniques, and strategies for managing their stress. These recommendations will help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. They will also help you build physical, mental, and emotional resilience.

Want to know more? Then subscribe to TeachersinDistress.com right now so you can get alerts as the next few posts are offered with tips, techniques, and tools that will help you feel less stressed out and overwhelmed.

If you aren’t sure if you are dangerously stressed or not, I invite you to take a free stress test to check yourself. To download it, click this link: https://kittyboitnott.com/stresstest
Take the test. If you answer 10 or more questions with a “yes,” it’s time for you to seriously consider what you can do to lessen your stress. Stress gone unchecked for too long will make you sick. And you don’t want that.

Again, to get the free stress test, click on the graphic below:

Stress Meter Showing Panic Attack From Stress And Worry

Speaking to the Issue of Teacher Burnout as a Guest on the “Always a Lesson” Podcast

A few months ago, I went in search of people who are offering podcasts related to education, and I found that there are many. In fact, many of them are connected through the Education Podcast Network. I reached out to a number of these individuals and connected with them through LinkedIn so I could follow their work.

In the process, I connected with one young teacher who is passionate about empowering teachers. She offers both a blog and a podcast and is a member of the Education Podcast Network.

Gretchen Schultek Bridgers who offers the podcast, “Always a Lesson” asked if I would be willing to be a guest on her podcast. I was thrilled to do that, and the resulting interview was released just this morning.

If you feel that you may be experiencing the signs or symptoms of burnout, don’t despair. There is hope. Perhaps you will hear something in this podcast that will spark an idea or generate an action plan. I sincerely hope so.

And if you have any questions about what you might be able to do if you decided that teaching isn’t what you want to do anymore, we should talk. Make an appointment for a no-obligation strategy session by using the form to the right of this message. It won’t cost you anything but a little bit of your time, and it may help you decide on next steps in your career.

Enjoy the podcast by clicking here.

Until next time.

Maybe You’re Asking the Wrong Questions

Young woman asking for help.

Since I help teachers who are experiencing burnout find alternative careers, I am often asked the question, “What else can I do besides teach?”

And my answer is, “That depends. What would you like to do?”

It isn’t a trick question, yet it seems to stump more people than it doesn’t.

The frequency with which that exchange takes place makes me wonder. Have we been so conditioned to believe we have to take what we think we can get that we don’t dare go for what we want?

It is ironic, isn’t it? Teachers are often the very people who inspire and motivate their students to reach their full potential. Most people can recall that one special teacher (at least one) who saw something in them and made them feel like they could stretch themselves toward a goal that felt unattainable. Teachers routinely encourage their students to stretch outside their comfort zones. They see things in us that we don’t see or feel in ourselves. Right?

Many of the teachers I speak with on a daily basis, however, believe that their own options are limited.

And that makes me sad.

The typical conversation starts with, “What are the options for teachers? What else can I do with my education credentials and experience?”

My answer is always, “You can do whatever you want…but you have to believe that you can, and you have to be willing to take some chances.”

And there, I am afraid, comes the rub.

Teachers are not prone to be big risk takers.

That is not a criticism, but it is an observation, and it is based at least in part on my own experience.

Teachers like to play it safe. For the most part, we are rule followers as well as rule makers. We believe in rules, and we believe in practicalities. Having something “stable” may outweigh having something that feels less predictable.

Many teachers tell me, “I have to have a job with benefits.”

I get that. Getting a job with benefits was the main reason I took my first job. My mother was determined that I take whatever I could get because her insurance company would be kicking me off her plan within a few months of graduation. As a nurse, she was keenly aware of my need to “be covered.”

And I am not unsympathetic, I promise. Upon retirement, I started paying almost $600 a month for my own insurance because I wasn’t willing to take a risk that I would stay healthy.

So, having a job with good benefits is a good thing.

But I have to wonder if it is worth it if it keeps you stuck in a job your no longer enjoy?

Every individual has to make that choice for themselves. I am in no position to advise you to quit your job and not have a plan.

But I am suggesting that it isn’t helping you if you aren’t willing to look at all of your options.

These days, it is possible to have insurance without being tied to a job you don’t feel invested in anymore.

And it is worth taking a risk, perhaps, if it is one that would pay off in the long run.

The main thing I am suggesting is that you be open to possibilities.

Unless you are approaching retirement, if you are in the category of “burnt-out teacher,” it may be time for you to check your alternatives. But start with the right questions. What were you born to do? What is your true passion? What is your mission in this life? If you have a magic wand, and you could do, be, have, or accomplish anything in the world without fear of failure, what would you be doing instead of what you are doing now?

If your answer is, “Nothing. I was born to teach, and I plan to teach for the rest of my life” then that is great news! We need good teachers. We need dedicated and committed teachers, and I wouldn’t dream of encouraging you to leave.

BUT, if you are not enjoying teaching, and you think there must be “something else out there” that you could do instead, we should probably talk.

It’s your life. It’s your decision. And there is no time like now to start if you want to make a change.

Until next time.

                               It’s Your Time

 

Yes, Teachers Do Need Freedom, But Few Feel They Have It

I just read an excellent article by Ashley Lamb-Sinclair in The Atlantic. It is entitled, “Why Teachers Need Their Freedom,” and she describes how she and her co-teacher used some of the techniques offered in a book called Teaching Content Outrageously by Stanley Pogrow. I applaud Ashley for being willing to take a risk. I am sure her students enjoyed the lesson that she described in the article, and I do not doubt that engaging them differently make an impact.

I agree wholeheartedly with the premise that teachers need their freedom when it comes to deciding how to teach effectively. They have been trained, after all, to do just that. The dilemma, of course, is that few teachers feel they have any freedom or autonomy at all.

For them to feel “free,” they would have to break the chains of restraint that most districts are imposing upon them.

 

I talk to teachers every day who feel the restrictions upon them in such a way that they feel chained–strangled, even–by the uncompromising demands made by their administrators.

I have to wonder if Ashley and her co-teacher would have used the lesson described in her article if it had been a day that they were being observed by the principal for evaluation. Perhaps they would have. It would have been instructive for the administrator to see, but somehow I doubt that they would have felt the “freedom” to be that innovative on observation day. I hope I am wrong about that. But even though they might have been bold enough to offer that lesson for administrative observation, I know many teachers who wouldn’t feel that kind of confidence.

In fact, the teachers who call me are talking increasingly about their profound sense of burnout with their jobs. They talk about feeling overly restricted by the demands of the administration to comply with rules that don’t make a lot of sense to them.

Just this week, a teacher who cares deeply about her students said to me, “I feel that I am out of integrity with myself because I am doing things that I don’t even believe are in the best interests of my students.”

She was referring to the endless round of tests that she is required to administer. Learning is taking a back seat to testing. It doesn’t seem to matter to the people in charge of schools these days if any authentic learning is taking place. Everything hinges on how well the students do on their various tests.

 

Student filling out answers to a test with a pencil.

People, in general, like to feel that they have some control in their lives including how they conduct themselves on the job. When you feel that every move is prescripted and every decision is made by someone else, it tears at the individual in a fundamental way. I believe that this is a cause of the rise in teacher burnout that I am witnessing just anecdotally.

The teachers who call me say without exception, “I still love my kids. I love teaching, but it’s all the other stuff I don’t want to do anymore.”

I know how they feel. Part of the reason I left education and started this business is that I could not bring myself to participate in the teaching of arbitrary standards and administering tests that have little real meaning. I long for the days when I was treated like a professional. And most of the people I talk to feel the same way.

I wholeheartedly agreed that teachers DO need their freedom. I wish they had it. I wish they felt like they could declare it for themselves. Few feel that they have that freedom, however. And the result is teacher burnout on the rise.

BURNOUT

 

If you happen to be one of those teachers who feels that your job is causing you undue stress, the first order of business that you should address if your stress level. I invite you to download a free PDF on stress management that offers some simple but effective strategies for managing your stress and becoming more resilient. To get the free report, click here.

 

And if you think you might be suffering from symptoms of teacher burnout, you may also download another free PDF that offers 7 questions that will help you determine if you are burned out and your level of burnout. Get that PDF by clicking here.

 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Until next time.

It’s “Back to School” Time!

Back to School

It’s “Back to School” time! Sales for school supplies, school clothes and shoes have all started. Even if the school doesn’t start for you until after Labor Day, you have already started thinking about going back, I bet.

In my last post, I recommended that if you are a teacher and you are contemplating your return to school for another year, it may be a good idea to do a “gut check.”

After writing about that, I had teachers tell me that they literally feel sick to their stomachs when they contemplate going back for another year.

That isn’t good.

Here is what I know for sure.

If you go back with an attitude that you are just hanging on by your fingernails, your kids will sense it. You aren’t going to be having any fun, and neither are they.

It bothers me that teacher burnout seems to be on the upswing. After all, if everyone left teaching all of a sudden, what would happen to our kids? Who would teach them?

On the other hand, if you are a teacher who is experiencing the pain and heartache of burnout, it is a cinch that you aren’t doing your best work anymore, and you owe it to your kids to either get your burnout handled or look for something else to do.

Taking care of the burnout may be the simplest approach. Have you taken advantage of the free e-book I wrote a couple of years ago on stress management? If not, I invite you to take a look at it. It is a simple, straightforward approach to 7 strategies for managing stress more effectively and proactively. Burnout is the result of stress gone unmanaged for too long.

Take a look at the book and download it by clicking here:  http://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/ebook.

Stressed, Stretched, and Just Plain                               Overwhelmed ebook

If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing burnout, perhaps you would benefit from checking out my free 7 Signs of Teacher Burnout Assessment. To download the assessment for free, click here:  https://kittyboitnott.leadpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/.

If your burnout goes beyond needing simple stress management techniques, it may be time to explore other career alternatives. As a Career Transition and Job Search Coach, I specialize in helping teachers who are feeling burned out explore their career options.

For many teachers, just knowing that you have options helps alleviate some of the sense of being stuck where you aren’t happy anymore.

So, I urge you to take note of how you feel as you consider going back to school this fall. If you are excited and looking forward to it, good for you.

If you are filled with dread at the prospect, it may be time to get help. Contact me by visiting my website at TeachersinTransition.com.

Sign up for a complimentary Discovery Session. I would love to talk with you to see if I can help.

Until next time.

 

Gut Check: Attention Teachers — Are You Excited about Going Back to School?

 

Gut Check Intuition Hunch Instinct Box Mark 3d Illustration

Gut check

 

Summer is flying by! The fourth of July is already a memory.

 

Perhaps you still have that summer vacation to the beach ahead of you. You still have a lot of summer left! But if you are a teacher, I bet you have already begun to think going back to school.
I urge you to take a gut check right now. When you think about going back, are you excited?
Are you eager to get back into the building so you can start arranging your room?
Are you the teacher who goes in early on your own time to put up bulletin board displays?
Did you buy the bulletin board displays with your own money at the local school supply store?
I used to do that. I used to be that teacher. I loved school.
In fact, I loved my job! I never dreaded a single day of work once I made it through my first year. That first year is another story, but I survived it and made it through 32 more years. Not that everything was always peachy-keen. Every school has its challenges after all.
All in all, however, I had a great time as a teacher/library media specialist. Truth be told, I had the best job in the building. I loved being the school librarian. It was the perfect job for me.
 The best days to be a teacher, however, were before the politicians began to meddle in our schools.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against being held accountable for doing a good job. I think everyone should have annual or bi-annual reviews of their performance.
And I think principals should be honest with those teachers who need to step it up. If a teacher isn’t doing a good job, I hold the principal responsible for that.
It is the principal’s job to evaluate honestly and provide honest feedback. Too often, they are too busy, though. They just check the boxes without having done a proper observation.
I know this because it happened to me…a lot!
I went through several evaluations without the principal ever observing me. That should not happen. But it did…too often.
That is probably why the politicians felt like they had to step in in the first place. They observed that teachers they knew weren’t doing a good job and came up with a scheme for evaluating.
The scheme they came up with is flawed, however. I don’t buy into holding teachers accountable for things outside their control. Using arbitrary benchmarks that have nothing to do with real teaching and learning is ludicrous. Tying those arbitrary test scores to a teacher’s evaluation is wrong. It is harmful to all concerned, and the entire system is suffering for it.

School has become less about learning and all about testing.

Something is wrong with that whole picture.
Yet, teachers have been powerless to do anything about it. In fact, they are increasingly powerless to do anything of their own accord.
Would those in the public sector accept similar accountability measures for themselves? Let’s create some arbitrary performance figure for them to meet. Then let’s throw in a bunch of variables that they have no control over. How would that go over? Not well, I imagine.
But I digress. Believe it or not, this is not a post about testing or accountability.

It’s about you as a teacher doing a gut check to see how you feel about going back this year.

If you are excited and can’t wait to start a new year, that is awesome! I hope you have the best year ever!
If you are feeling a sense of dread, though, you need to take note. If you feel a heaviness in your heart every time you consider going back, it may be time for you to consider a change.
Worried woman with book

Unhappy Teacher

It is probably too late in the summer for you to find a new job that pays you commensurate to what you are making now. I don’t recommend that you quit your teaching job without having something to go to.
But if you are dreading going back to school and it’s only early July, it may be time to explore what your options may be.
I always urge people to plan their next move carefully. Don’t be impulsive. Don’t quit your job in a huff. You may need a good recommendation from your principal someday.
But you should think about planning your future. You don’t have to stay stuck in a job you don’t love anymore.
Stuck Inside the Box

Stuck?

Your options may be more varied than you think! I know a lot of teachers think they are stuck with teaching because they are “just a teacher.”
Most of the teachers I know are pretty smart, however. Many of them have talents that are being underutilized. In fact, your current sense of discontent may be the result of your feeling that you could be doing “more” in your career
You should open yourself to possibilities. Let yourself consider what options you may have.
If you aren’t excited about going back to school this year you may want to schedule a chat with me. Sign up for a complimentary 20-minute Discovery Session. It won’t cost you anything but your time. Just click on this link to schedule a time that works for you:
And check out my free giveaway, “7 Signs of Teacher Burnout.” You may find it useful in assessing the level of your discontent with teaching. Click here to download it instantly: https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/7-signs-of-teacher-burnout/
If you aren’t sure what your dream job might be, download this additional giveaway. It’s entitled, “What is Your Dream Job?” It may help you consider what you else you are called to do. To download it instantly, click here:  https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/what-is-your-dream-job/

If teaching is still your dream job, that is wonderful!

We need dedicated teachers who want to stick with the profession. The more experienced you are, the better!
For those who are feeling the ill effects of teacher burnout, however, here is what you need to know. If you aren’t having fun anymore, your kids aren’t enjoying themselves–or you–either.
Kids deserve to have teachers who are 100% committed to them. If you have started to feel that your future as a teacher is limited, we should talk. I want to help you discover the world beyond teaching that you may not even know exists.
Until next time.

 

[CASE STUDY] Success Story of Deanna’s Career Transition from Classroom Teacher to Mathnasium Director

This case study highlights the success of Deanna Forsythe, a teacher from Wisconsin.

Deanna enrolled in my “Jumpstart Your Job Search Program” in late April 2017. She landed her new job as the Director of a Mathnasium Center in mid-June

This was, without a doubt, the quickest success I have seen as a Career Transition Coach!

I would like to take credit for it, but Deanna did the hard work. My program and our one-on-one consultations contributed to her success. She was responsible for her fast transition, though.

The average job search today, from start to finish, is generally four to nine months. Given that Deanna’s process from start to finish took place over seven weeks is definitely not the norm.

What I observed about Deanna was her positive, “go-getter” attitude. I am sure she was a phenomenal teacher. She has all the right characteristics for an outstanding educator. She is extremely organized; she was highly motivated and hyper- focused; and she was eager to be successful.

When she first approached me, Deanna expressed a combination of frustrations.

She felt that the system didn’t respect her expertise as an educator anymore. She had even changed from one position to another in hopes of a better situation. She was disappointed to find that that change didn’t fix the problem, however.

 

respect different opinion

Respect vs. Disrespect

 

She also felt that she had more to offer than was being used in her current situation. Hear in her own words what she wrote to me about what led her to seek out my services:

“I have been an educator for over 20 years, working in the private, public, and choice sectors.  I have supported children of varying ages, academic abilities, and behavioral needs.  Over that time, I noticed a profound shift in the field of education.  Demands placed on teachers continue to increase, Autonomy continues to decrease.   I recognized at that point that it was time to utilize my skill set from both my BS and MA in a way that was far more productive, meaningful, and fulfilling to me.”

She took to the program with enthusiasm. The program includes online tutorials, recommended reading, exercises, and activities. She tackled the program as though she were undertaking a new advanced degree. She set up a system for herself, and when we held our first consultation, she was wide open to suggestions. She didn’t come into the program with a preconceived idea of where it might lead.

I discovered that Deanna has a deep intuitive nature. Part of what she was heeding was her gut instinct.

She knew there had to be something “out there” where she could contribute in a more meaningful way.

She also expressed her love for animals and how her dream is to one day be an animal healer. I encouraged her to continue to explore that. We don’t listen to our inner wisdom often enough. We shut down because we have convinced ourselves that certain things “aren’t possible.” I try to get my clients to embrace the idea that “anything is possible.” It is, in fact, “possible” once you believe it is.

Listen to Deanna’s testimony in her own words as they relate to her experience of the work we did together:

Deanna’s Case Study:  https://youtu.be/IOtJN7H31E4.

This video conversation holds several key pieces of information. Deanna made use of the entire program starting with getting in touch with herself and remembering what brought her job and peace.

Here is what she said about the nature of the instruction and inspiration she got from following the modules and the results she saw:

I developed my professional portfolio through LinkedIn (lesson 7).  Others in the field I am in accepted my invitations, and I continue to meet and expand my network today.

Also, I closely followed Kitty’s modules regarding bringing life to one’s cover letter/resume (lessons 3-4). I applied for the position I currently accepted, and within 24 hours, I received a response of interest.

A breakthrough I experienced was I recognized that I held the cards.  I simply needed the support of someone like Kitty who has ‘been there, done that’ to guide me through the process of reinventing myself.”

There are usually side benefits to taking part in programs like this. Sometimes they can be unexpected. Here is what Deanna said about one of the benefits she received from working with me one-on-one:

“Kitty’s ability to relate to and validate my frustrations as an educator in today’s world was valuable to me.  I no longer felt alone.  She is an excellent empathic listener!

I also felt supported in taking baby steps, as reinventing one’s self can be an overwhelming process.  She understands the challenge in breaking new ground, as she was once in my shoes.”

I always ask people if they would be willing to offer a recommendation on LinkedIn or a testimonial for my website as I draw my work with a client to a close. I did the same with Deanna. Here is what she offered that she would tell her friends and colleagues about working with me:

“I would (and already have) recommend you to others who are looking for more fulfillment in their professional lives.  You are authentic.  You have experienced this journey firsthand, and that lends credibility to your interest in supporting me to do the same.

You also have experience leading others outside of this realm/position, as former president of VEA, and that also lends credibility to coaching others, in my opinion.”

 

Man writing Happy Client on a virtual screen

Happy Client

 

So, there you have it. Another satisfied client. Another teacher who has decided that the system has failed her and it’s time to move on. I am confident that Deanna will be successful in her new role. She only need bring half of her enthusiasm to her new role as she brought to her job transition program, to that, but I know she will bring 100% to that new endeavor.

I am also confident that while she will bring tremendous value to her new position, she will learn as well as contribute and she may have even greater things waiting for her in her future.

It is a pleasure working with people like Deanna. She saw a need to make a change in her life, and she made it with confidence and determination.

What about you? Are you ready to take charge of your career and your life?

If so, I urge you to contact me for a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session. Just go to my calendar here to sign up. It won’t cost a thing but 20-minutes of your time:  https://kittyatcareermakeover.coachesconsole.com/calendar/.