Teacher to EdTech: Tips & Tricks

Teacher to EdTech: Tips & Tricks

For my teachers out there looking to transition into the EdTech field:

We recently interviewed a former teacher for a position here at ChalkTalk (a role we were asking for 3+ years of EdTech experience for). I wanted to share a few things she did that made her stand out and made us go all-in with interviewing her!

  1. She knew exactly what position she wanted. I come across a lot of teachers who are looking to transition into EdTech but that’s it. They haven’t taken the time to look into what roles they think they’d be good at or what they really want (besides transitioning out of the classroom). Do research on different roles, take career aptitude tests, and ask mentors so you can figure out where you fit best in EdTech. This way, when you message hiring managers instead of saying “I want to get into EdTech” you can say “I want to pursue a role as an SDR at your company, and here are three reasons I think I’d be great in this role.”
  2. She was persistent! She messaged me on three different occasions about things going on at ChalkTalk (over the course of 3 months). Even though there were times I didn’t respond quickly or see her message until later, she continued to reach out.
  3. She never talked about “EdTech” but always talked about “ChalkTalk!” When she messaged or talked to me, she never said “I’m excited to get into EdTech;” rather she said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to join the ChalkTalk team.” Companies want to feel like you truly want their company versus you just wanting to transition out of the classroom, so personalized messaging goes a long way!

 

Some of you might read this and think “great… but I’m stuck on tip #1. How am I supposed to know what position I want? How do I start?”

Here are some of the divisions in edtech companies that actively hire former teachers:

Product (Product Management), Content (Content Lead, Project Manager, Content Writer), Implementation (Customer Success, Account Management), Sales (Sales Development Rep, Account Executive), Marketing (Event Marketing, Content Marketing, Product Marketing).

If your favorite part of teaching was writing, designing and putting together the curriculum, the easiest entry point would be the content team at an edtech company with a content division. Educators tend to have extensive experience with designing and building teaching materials and that’s under demand. Common titles to look for include: content writer, content manager, curriculum writer, curriculum designer, content project manager, content lead.

If you’re an extroverted, competitive people-person, a customer-facing role such as sales might be for you. Sales roles carry commission and pay really well with on-target-earnings. Having prior experience selling things (doesn’t have to be edtech or software) can be a huge plus when applying. Common entry points into sales include: sales development representative and business development representative. Typically these roles involve high email and calling output. If you enjoy full-cycle sales roles, you should look into Account Executive or Partnership Manager titles.

If you’re an extroverted and relationship-oriented person, Customer Success may also be for you! If you’re tech-savvy, and the one other teachers sought out for help when the school rolled out a new edtech program, customer success is a place you could excel in. Customer Success falls under the implementation department and common titles to look for include: customer success, customer support, education success, academic success coach and more!

A hybrid between sales and customer success is Account Management. These reps are more admin-facing than teacher-facing—so they live in reports and dashboards— and often carry a renewal quota (the same way that Account Executives carry a quota for new sales).  

Marketing and Product Management are harder to break into unless you can show you have related work or project experience (which you can acquire on your own in your spare time through online courses at Linkedin, Coursera, or others) and are prepared to discuss these works in detail. 

A lot of the other roles in edtech companies require some technical skillset (e.g. software engineering, data science, UI/UX design, finance …). You can still apply for these roles but you need to show that you’ve acquired that skillset in your free time—for example, you can demonstrate that you’re a great candidate for software engineering by showing that you joined a coding boot camp and developed your github repository in your free time. 

I hope this is helpful to you as you make the transition into EdTech!