Build your network of education professionals, and you can advance your career and improve your practice. Follow these tips to get started and keep your network thriving.
When you hear the term “networking,” does it call up images of suit-clad business CEOs sipping martinis or schmoozing salespeople? As a teacher, you may wonder why networking is relevant to you, yet I would suggest that not only is it relevant, it’s essential to your career as an educator. The point of networking is to cultivate relationships for the exchange of information, services, or resources for employment or business. This may sound cold to us in the educational world, where children and youth are our No. 1 customers, but a network can be a huge support as it pertains to your career goals and your practice.
Let’s think first about the context of your career. As a teacher, what career goals have you set for yourself? Do you want to be a principal or superintendent? Do you want to work at a specific school where the openings are few and the applicants are many? Whatever your short- and long-term goals are, consider the following:
1. Do you know someone who has achieved your goal? If so, can you call or email them to seek their advice? If you don’t know someone personally, consider who is in the field that you respect or admire and who might be open to your request for advice or mentorship. There are also educational organizations across the country, like Pi Lambda Theta, that host various events and conferences which offer an opportunity for you to rub elbows with educators in various positions.
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