Career transitions can be scary. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you who’s been there, done that. I’ve made the career transition. I transitioned from teaching into instructional design. I can still remember all the feelings associated with a huge professional change - both good and bad. That’s why I can really speak to the importance of having someone in your corner to guide and support you while you walk down a new unfamiliar professional path. That’s where a mentor comes in.
In the IDOL courses Academy, the IDOL Mentor has a unique and vital role in the growth of the mentees in their group. IDOL Mentors are IDOL courses Academy Alumni who have achieved their IDOL goals and are now giving back by mentoring a group of aspiring Instructional Designers. Once a new cohort begins, mentees choose which IDOL Mentor is the right fit for them. They are encouraged to attend that mentor’s sessions throughout the cohort.
Then, reality hit. I realized that there is more to teaching than you can see on the surface.The physical, mental, and emotional toll teaching takes on a person is tough. In a lot of ways, it felt like the deck was stacked against me before I ever started. It became clear early on that this job was not the forever career I had planned.
What followed was the process of changing my mindset, determining a new career path, and transitioning out of teaching. I had built my identity around my job as a teacher. It was who I was. It impacted the ways I...
In Season 2, Episode 2 “Stress Relief” of The Office, we watch Dwight Schrute heat up the door handles, break the locks, and start a small fire because “Powerpoint is boring. People learn in all kinds of ways, but experience is the best teacher.”
I happened to be rewatching this show during my first cohort with IDOL courses Academy when a lightbulb hit.
Dwight is attempting instructional design! Albeit, poorly. Traumatizing employees to get a point across is far from best practice.
But my lightbulb moment didn’t stop there. So many sitcoms about workplaces are filled with topics one could use for a portfolio build!
Take The IT Crowd, a British comedy about an IT department. A running joke in the show is that they always answer the phone in the same way:
A very rough Google search tells me that an IT Specialist in the US makes $20.45 an hour. If they have to answer at least ten phone calls daily and all of them start...
Here’s my current portfolio.
Two years of polish and I still feel like it needs work. Just the other day someone pointed out a typo in my About section. But even with imperfections (that I see!), I'm proud of it and grateful I worked so hard to build it up.
But if this is your first cohort, you’d be comparing yourself to the wrong map.
And that’s what I told my mentees this week.
Here is my first portfolio.
After eight weeks and one badge, this is what I had to show for it.
This is how I got my first remote ID job.
It needs so much polish—and a facelift—but I am proud of Mandy 2020.
I was in...
Any of these sounds familiar to you as a non-native English speaker? You might have the double burden of imposterism.
The idea of a job hunt was a scary and blurred future event back in March 2021, when I graduated from the IDOL Courses Academy® sixth cohort. I couldn’t start the application process right after the cohort ended, but when I started the job search process eight months later in November, I began by reading all the related materials in the IDOL Courses Academy® Interview section, starting with Jay Lash’s The Resume Game. I deep dived into instructional design blogs, journals, the Become an IDOL® Podcast, and the latest research and best practices, such as the Learner Engagement Summit organized and facilitated by Anna Sabramowicz, in the field. I got hooked on Janette Wilcken’s The Job Search Journey on IDOL Blogs, in which she shares three practices that she found helpful...
“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are your comfort zone” - Billy Cox
- Get UP! Move!
- Move from what?
- Move from that comfort zone! Because you know what you need to do to move forward, but you're scared and only doing just enough to get by when you can be doing something extraordinary to reach on to the High! You hear what I’m sayin! MOVE YOURSELF! I know right now jumping into it you’re scared, you’re afraid, you can’t see the outcome, your mind is telling you ‘what if I can’t’… I get it. But once you jump into it, you create an experience that can take you farther than you could even imagine. I’m telling you… You Have to MOVE, You Have to GET IT because if not then somebody else will and that’s...your... Opportunity...TAKE IT, EMBRACE IT, CREATE IT AND GO GET IT!
Testimony of a Former...
Most people trying to break into the field of Instructional Design know that having a portfolio is essential. A portfolio helps you showcase your design skills, how you put together a learning solution and, if you have a good case study, it can help you demonstrate how you solve problems.
However, building a portfolio without an actual client is challenging. In her blog post, Kristi Oliva talks about how she built a portfolio without an actual client, and members of the IDOL course Academy are urged to get a volunteer client as part of the DoItMessy Challenge. If you don’t know where to start, you can get some ideas from this video on how to get a volunteer client for your portfolio projects.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get a volunteer client. That’s mainly because I’m from an older cohort where this idea wasn’t pushed yet. Instead, I focused on perfecting my portfolio only to realise that it wasn’t enough for the hiring...
Trying to take a drink from a fire hose.
That is how I felt when I first joined the IDOL courses Academy.
The content was coming at me so fast and furious, it was hard to keep up. But if there is one thing I have learned over the last three cohorts of being an IDOL, the only way to learn is to dig in just like learning anything else.
After spending years in public education, I find myself having to practice what I preached. I used to encourage the #doitmessy way before I knew it as a hashtag. When I coached student reporters on how to write journalistically, I would encourage them to write down whatever was going through their minds and accept that it would be their worst version. Because the beauty of learning isn’t in the first draft, it is in all the editing and iterations that follow.
FEEDBACK FEELS LIKE AN F-WORD
Although I have experience encouraging learners through their worst versions of their work, it doesn’t stop my...
After I enrolled in the sixth IDOL courses Academy cohort in January, 2021, I found it difficult to put all of the time and effort that I needed into developing my skills as an IDOL as I juggled my teacher responsibilities. I wondered when and how I would ever find the time to do a serious job search including answering recruiter contacts and interviewing. The thought of another short summer leading to yet another year in the classroom, and putting off my career change, just felt wrong, so I took a giant leap of faith and officially resigned from teaching at the end of May.
My last day working as a teacher was...