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A Pilot is a Pilot

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

The last two years, and likely the upcoming ones as well, teachers have been transitioning into a variety of new careers. They've left the classroom and become instructional designers, corporate trainers, project managers, sales representatives, and a wide variety of other positions.


But have they really become those things? Two years ago, I would not have been able to describe what an instructional designer is, but I was doing it on a daily basis.

Whenever I led professional development activities at the school, district, or state level, what preceded the designing, developing, and implementing of the session was an analysis of the types of learners who would attend and what they needed (ADDIE).

I would design, develop, and implement daily learning experiences for my students and make evaluations for my future classes based on how the first one reacted to and learned from it (SAM).


When planning out those lessons, careful thought was put into grabbing the attention of the students, keeping the material relevant, building their confidence, and ways to provide satisfaction through instant feedback and enjoyment (ARCS).


The list could go on for days and similar lists could be made for nearly any career path because the number of hats teachers wear on a daily basis is incomprehensible to those who haven't done it. But what does that mean?


I don't think quality teachers can become instructional designers, because they already are exactly that.


A pilot is a pilot, regardless of the kind of plane they're flying.


To be clear, teachers should not expect to be successful in a career change without doing the necessary learning and upskilling first. Just as I would not want to hop into a 747 with a pilot who has only flown crop dusters, companies are understandably reluctant to hire teachers for positions based solely on percieved transferrable skills.


But what's true of that crop dusting pilot is true of teachers looking to change career paths:

  • Your underlying skills are there and are transferrable.

  • Your learning curve is not as steep.

  • Your underlying experience from the classroom is more than relevant.

A pilot is a pilot.


A good teacher is an instructional designer, sometimes there's just some work to be done before it's time to fly a different plane. ___________________________________________

If you're looking at transitioning into instructional design, here are some of the resources I've found that have taught me a great deal about the field:

I'm always happy to help in whatever way I can, so if you have questions you'd like to ask as you begin your journey, feel free to reach out and I'll share what I have learned.



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