ESL to Instructional Design: It’s Closer Than You Think

I started teaching English as a Second Language because I loved working with people and I wanted a job that would stimulate me. I worked in the field for ten years, teaching overseas, in private language schools, and at community colleges. I really loved it, but eventually, I started to burn out.  I wasn’t alone. There are a lot of former teachers who have pivoted to instructional design with the help of IDOL courses Academy. It’s a common career move and teachers, in general, have a lot of transferable skills we bring into the field. I may be biased, but I believe that us ESL teachers have some secret talents that come into play when we start transitioning. In this article, I’m going to talk about four areas where ESL teachers are already rock stars when it comes to instructional design. 

 

We Have the Technology Skills

Setting up assignments and grading papers online felt like more of a chore than anything else back when I was teaching. ...

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Taking the Leap: Transitioning from Teaching to Freelance ID

When I decided to leave teaching, I had a mix of emotions. What else could I really do? Teaching had been my life for seven years. I knew teaching like I knew how to take care of my children or like I knew how to drive. I could do it really well with minimal effort, and I loved it. I loved the excitement my students had for learning, and I loved creating lesson plans. Lesson plans gave me the opportunity to bring learning to life, whether I was teaching financial literacy or marketing concepts. 

There came a time I became mentally exhausted. Professionals call it "teacher burnout," and it is real. Teacher burnout usually happens around year five, but I made it to year seven. So, wasn't that an accomplishment? I asked myself often to justify staying. But what I realized is once my heart wasn’t there anymore, I had to leave because I’d lost my passion. When you lose your passion, everyone suffers, from your family to your students, the community and the parents. I...

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Interview Like You Date

 Have you ever gone through a long interview process, then been turned down for the job?

I have. And honestly, it felt like a bad breakup.

Job searching sucks. But with the right mindset and tools, you can find yourself in a winning relationship with the perfect match for you!

 

I think looking for a job is a lot like dating life. 

Each job is like a relationship. Depending on the length of the relationship, you can feel a variety of emotions when it is over. The end of a long, committed relationship may leave you feeling devastated like you don’t know what your next steps will be. Leaving a toxic relationship can make you feel relieved, yet undeserving of anything better. 

Then you are thrown back into the dating pool (the job search) to seek out something new and hopefully better. 

I have found that the rules of dating apply to the interview process.

 

1. Be Confident

If you are unsure of yourself, it will translate in the interview and...

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Interviewing for Instructional Design Roles

 I worked hard navigating the IDOL courses Academy because I was ready for my career change. I built amazing assets and created a portfolio, then I took the leap and started exploring different ID job titles and job descriptions. I was excited to explore the wonderful world of what an Instructional Design career had to offer. At this point, I was ready to start interviewing for Instructional Design Roles.

Now navigating the Interviewing process for ID roles can become a slippery slope, but before you interview, know what you want: What salary are you looking for? What about the people you will be working with? Is the position remote? Do you need health benefits or PTO? 

I use a backwards design model to Interview for ID roles. Backward design is starting with the goal then working backward to achieve it. I look at the interviews with the end in mind. It's not enough to know you want a job in ID, but know precisely what you want in that job. At first, I didn't know...

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Overcoming the New ID Overwhelm and Maintaining Focus

 Are you making a career change? Do you feel like there’s just so much to learn, and you don’t know where to start? Do you wonder if you’ll ever reach your goal?

This was me. And this could be you. But you’ll get there!

Making a career change can be overwhelming. Thinking about all the new things you will need to learn in order to get a job can produce a lot of anxiety and imposter syndrome

When I first decided to change careers from a special education teacher to an Instructional Designer, I was excited to learn more. Then it hit me. The more I learned, the more I got overwhelmed with all of the tools, theories, and practices I needed to know to be successful and confident. I learned several things along the way to help calm down that overwhelm to focus on my goals and learning. Here are my tips:

  1. Analyze job descriptions - There are so many tools out there, and when I first joined the IDOL courses Academy and...
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5 Strategies to be Successful with Recruiters

Changing careers comes with many new experiences. If you are like me, having recruiters contacting me was one of those new experiences. 

 I left public education for the corporate world. Once I updated my LinkedIn page and toggled on the switch “open for opportunities,” I was inundated with messages from recruiters who thought I would be the “perfect fit” for their opportunity. I was so excited! They were already knocking down my door to offer me a job. I will land my coveted IDOL role in no time I thought.  I quickly learned that was not the case. I had become part of the very competitive world of recruiting.  The recruiting process is more about helping the hiring company and recruiting firm than it is about helping a candidate land her dream job

Companies often hire external recruiters to find viable candidates to fill open positions. Recruiters search for those candidates in places such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job...

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Go From Ghosted to "Best Hire": Transform Your Career with Feedback & Community

Are you getting ghosted after interviews?

Are you relying on friends & family members for feedback on your portfolio?

Do you wish you had a community to guide & support you during the job search process?


You can go from being ghosted to becoming one of your future company’s best hires with IDOL courses Academy. I did!

Before joining IDOL courses Academy, I was a literacy teacher/teacher trainer & coach, who was spinning her wheels on how to officially break into the instructional design industry. 

I dove in taking courses, reading books & blogs, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos. In 2019, I even attended the ATD conference, networked, and attended the career center, where I managed to land two interviews.

One of the interviews seemed promising. I liked the team, and I had a feeling that they liked me, too. Then, they popped the big question: “Do you have a portfolio?” 

I did not. I only had a couple of samples I had created...

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Do You Feel Like an Imposter? You're In Good Company

“I’m a fraud.”

“I only got the job because I got lucky.”

“Will they find out I don’t know what I am doing?”

Do any of these sound familiar? You may be dealing with imposterism. And you are in good company.

If you aren’t sure, take this Imposterism self-assessment created by Pauline Rose Clance.

Imposterism. Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Phenomenon. Imposter Experience. 

These terms describe how high-achieving people fail to recognize their success and/or accomplishments and have persistent self-doubt and fear of being exposed as a fraud. They struggle with attributing their performance to their competence and often attribute success to luck or other outside factors.

No matter what you call it, imposterism is real and present in the business world. It is not a disease or an abnormality, but can have a harmful impact on job performance and satisfaction, and eventually cause burnout.

Prevalence, Predictors, and Treatment of...

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Lessons Learned During My First Big ID Project

I have been an ID for some time now.  Mostly working independently on projects except for referring to a couple of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to ensure I have processes and terminology correct.

 I was very excited when I was asked to be part of a large, high profile project. We were asked to redesign a New Hire Training (NHT) that traditionally was done face-to-face and took approximately five weeks to complete.  The redesign was an innovative concept to the company, and the reason it became such a high profile. Everyone wanted to know how the new concept would work. We developed a blended learning course for NHT, which reduced training time to only 3 weeks. 

You are probably thinking – Blended learning is nothing new. It has been a valid teaching strategy for years. However, my new company had been solely creating facilitator-led training before this. We were finally breaking into more modernized training methods.

This was going to be my very first...

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5 Lessons I Learned Building My Portfolio

Are you a perfectionist?

Are you struggling to build your first portfolio?

Do you feel like you're spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere?

STOP! Right where you are. Save yourself wasted time and effort by learning from my mistakes.

Here are some revelations I had while working on my portfolio:

Set realistic expectations for what your portfolio should look like based on your current abilities and experience as an instructional designer. If you are new to the field, aim to demonstrate your proficiency and understanding, instead of skill and expertise.

While the portfolios of experts and leading industry practitioners are great sources of inspiration, your portfolio will likely not look like theirs. As a novice, you do not have the experience to create a portfolio equivalent to the portfolios that took others years and sometimes a decade-plus to work up to.

Here are some examples of what your first portfolio website might look like:

Christine Prince

Bonnie Lou Davis

...

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