Table of Contents

Resources for Transitioning from K-12 Teacher to Trainer

There seem to be a lot of teachers at a career crossroads, looking to transition from the classroom to the training room. If you (or someone you know) falls into this category, today's post might be helpful.

If teachers have their reasons for wanting to leave the classroom and find other opportunities where there strong skillset in instructional design can be transferred fairly easily into a new career, then the least I can do is offer my appreciation in the form of a few resources that may be handy in teacher to learning & development transition.

At Endurance Learning, we have two very high performing former teachers on staff, and we work with several others who have transitioned to the world of freelance elearning developers. So I’ve seen firsthand how a teacher’s skillset is readily transferable into the world of adult learning and professional development.

There is a learning curve that comes with the shift from classroom teacher to corporate trainer, but it is happening more and more. The teacher to trainer shift means an obvious change in audience (from classroom students to adult learners) and a sometimes less obvious (by maybe more jolting) change in organizational culture (from schools to for-profit or non-profit businesses).

Book about Going From Teacher to Corporate Trainer

teachers to trainers

Lisa Spinelli, who now works at the Association for Talent Development (ATD), published a book entitled Teachers to Trainers: Apply Your Passion and Skills to a New Career. This would be the perfect place to begin exploring if the leap from school classroom to corporate learning might be the right move for you. The book includes skills assessments, worksheets, write-ups of certification and certificate programs and recommended reading.

If you prefer to listen to Lisa share some of the trends and lessons learned as she was writing her book, you can also listen to the episode Preparing Teacher to Train I had the opportunity to record with her when her book first hit the shelves.

Podcast Episodes and Article to Learn from Others

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing several professionals who made the transition from teacher to learning and development professionals. In each of these episodes you’ll hear about their experiences making the transition out of teaching into the corporate training world.

  • Lauren Wescott made the transition from K-12 teacher to learning and development manager. She shares her thoughts on the similarities and differences between teaching and training.
  • Shermaine Perry-Knights is a former 7th grade social studies teacher who now serves as a master trainer with the Fulton County Government and who is also very active with her local ATD chapter in Atlanta. In the Teacher to Training episode, Shermaine talks about her journey going from the classroom to the training room.
  • Two of my colleagues, Hannah Radant and Lindsay Garcia, have made the transition from k-12 classroom teacher to elearning developer with striking success. They recently spent some time talking with me about what they found transferable from their teaching roles to elearning developers, and how they’ve been able to overcome challenges, including the lack of confidence in their ability to do this work.
  • List to an L&D Manager who has hired instructional designers about the types of create a learning & development portfolio examples to include that will make a difference in your job search easier.
  • I had a conversation with Asha Aravindakshan is the best-selling author of Skills: The Common Denominator about her research that focused on how people have successfully used their skills and experience to land the job they truly want to be doing.

LinkedIn Network of Key People to Support Teachers

While books and podcasts can be helpful resources to assist you in getting a feel for what to expect in the transition from teacher to trainer, building a network of people who can answer your questions, share stories and even help get your foot in the door at an organization is crucial. After all, your instructional design and facilitation skills may be extremely transferable, but there is way too much truth to the adage: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Here are a few people you may want to connect with on LinkedIn and even propose to have virtual coffee if they have the time:

  1. Lisa Spinelli. I mentioned Lisa and her book above, so she’s included here for obvious reasons.
  2. Shermaine Perry-Knights. Also mentioned above, also on this list for obvious reasons.
  3. Lauren Wescott. Lauren now serves as a manager of learning and development with Endurance Learning and came into her role without any prior experience developing or leading corporate elearning initiatives. She’s now a rockstar and might have some interesting nuggets to share about her journey if you connect with her.
  4. Lindsay Garcia. Lindsay is another manager of learning and development with Endurance Learning who worked in St. Lucie Public Schools (FL) early in her career before settling into her current role where she combines graphic design with instructional design to generate amazing elearning experiences.
  5. Alexander Salas. Alex runs LXDLaunch, which offers a variety of courses that can help build your skillset and portfolio when it comes to things such as elearning development, video creation and editing, creating educational resources using augmented reality, and improving your visual design skills. While there are a lot of online courses and academies out there, I specifically recommend reaching out to connect with Alex because I know that he works with a lot of people who are teachers and are looking to transition into the world of corporate learning and development. In fact, Lindsay (mentioned above) and several other people we work with as freelance instructional designers have come from the LXDLaunch programming.

There you have it – a book, some interviews with former teachers and a few LinkedIn connections if you’re looking for some help making the transition from teacher to trainer. Of course, you can always reach out and connect with me as well – I’d be happy to share my own journey and offer any insights that come to mind. Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Articles Similar to Resources for Transitioning from K-12 Teacher to Trainer

Brian Washburn

Where do HR and L&D intersect?

With two distinct professional associations (SHRM and ATD), the worlds of HR and Learning and Development seem to be separate entities. Deadra Welcome feels there are ways that those two worlds can come together to achieve great things.

Quiet Quitting for Training Professionals

Yes, I shamelessly jumped on board the “quiet quitting” bandwagon this week with a podcast around how training professionals can adopt some sort of boundaries when it comes to the work we’re asked to do.

by endurance, we conquer
Rachel Niles

Ernest Shackleton, Problem Solver

“By Endurance, We Conquer.” This was the motto of the family of early 20th century explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. So when it came time for him to name his ship

writing for an international audience
Global Training
Erin Clarke

5 Lessons Learned Writing Training for a Global Audience

Developing training for learners around the world is a bit different than developing training for learners who are located within one country or geographic region. Here are 5 lessons we’ve learned as we work on training projects around the world that I hope help your own projects move forward more smoothly.

resolution dates
One Word Resolution
EL Team

One Word Resolution (2023 Edition)

For 10 years I’ve talked about my one word resolution for the year. As we head into the next year, here are the words each of us at Endurance Learning has chosen as a North Star as we try to be intentional about the direction we’d like to take our thoughts and actions.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

Download the What's Possible in L&D Worksheet

what's possible in L&D careers

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

Download the What's Possible in L&D Worksheet

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.