Robin Sargent 0:00
Welcome to become an idol. I'm Dr. Robin Sargent, owner of idle courses. This is the place where newbies come to learn and veteran share their knowledge
I have here with me today, Cynthia Berry, and she is coming on to tell us about her idol success story and her journey to become an idol. So Cynthia, who you please introduce yourself? And tell us like a little bit about your background and who you are?
Cynthia Berry 0:41
Yes. Hi. Really glad to be here. My name is Cynthia Berry. I am a former teacher. I've taught for a total of seven years. And I loved teaching, but I was just being called to do something different. And instructional design had popped up a few times and researched it and I'm here, I just love it. It's great. What kind of teacher did you say you were? Well, I taught? Let's see, I taught eighth grade language arts, I taught seventh grade writing, writing is my jam. I love technical writing. And I love writing. So seventh grade was actually the grade that I love the most. But I taught fifth grade math, and then I taught fourth grade math. And fourth graders are good, you know, because they still, you can still tell them what to do. And they'll do it. Seventh grade have a mind of their own.
Sometimes that was a little tricky. But I was more like elementary, middle school teacher. I've never taught high school or anything. But I enjoyed my time as a teacher.
Robin Sargent 1:44
When did you start to feel that it? I mean, I know you said what, seven, eight years? So what was it that kind of led you to find a new career? And then how did you actually find out about instructional design?
Cynthia Berry 1:57
That's a really good question. So the itch would be last year wanting to do something different. I wanted to become a coach. And it seemed like there were so many hurdles to jump through or I needed to know the right person, I needed to do the right thing here and there or have someone's favor in order to move up to being a teacher, I mean, a coach rather and I wound up just thinking like teachers will stay teachers, you can't if you make a lateral move from one school to the next, you're not upgrading, you're staying a teacher, you're just in a new facility with a new principal. So just thinking about it more and more at the end of last year. It just really occurred to me that I really wanted to do more. I enjoy being in leadership positions and partnering alongside people to encourage them or help in some way. I just saw myself doing so many other things for people I thought this is this is I really enjoyed doing this when we had the I guess quote unquote, locked down when every everyone was virtual. I went to making a lot of digital content for my for my students. And it went into the slasher when we taught asynchronously. So I had to create everything from scratch, and I loved it. I loved putting all of the new digital, I had to take all of my math curriculum and create it digitally. Like, I mean, they they didn't give us anything, we just kind of had to do it. And you know, you'd use out there you know what I'm talking about. They just give you the stuff you're like, Here you go. Like Alright, then I guess this is what I'm doing. So I did it and I absolutely loved it. And what I did was I kept asking questions, I kept asking people that were in authority, you know, one for like, the learning platform that we used and trying to get information on, you know what to do next. And the thing was instructional design actually popped up three times for me twice in an email. One was in like an email drip. And they mentioned idle courses Academy. I blew it off. I was like what is this? I went to meet with someone that I thought was on my side that was going to help me get to where I needed to be was prepping me and growing me to be model teacher classroom for math. And that never really actually happened. But he said, instructional design. I'm like, I have never heard this word before my life. What does it mean? And then lo and behold again, I see it in the email drip from a woman from the same email to check out idol courses Academy. And so I did and everything about it was like, this is exactly what I want to do. I understand everything that the scope of the entire Academy. This is what I have been doing. I've been creating digital content I've been creating eLearning solutions I've been creating these things, it's on a different level. Okay, for elementary I get it. It's, it's not a corporate thing or whatever. But it intrigued me so much that I just took a leap of faith and I was like, I'm just gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. And thank goodness it was over a summer because a lot of work. I didn't have a summer. Actually, I started i o course Academy in June, this summer was cohort seven, and finished it right when school was starting. And then I got my idol job like two weeks later.
Robin Sargent 5:38
Okay, you've got You've piqued my curiosity. There was a drip email was it and it wasn't from me.
Cynthia Berry 5:44
No, I was following someone off of Pinterest. She was called the teacher fluence. And it was a lady who left teaching and she created pathways for teachers to kind of move out in teaching and into curriculum writing, or, you know, content development or something like that for these edtech companies. So she was doing a lot of research and just putting these pathways out there for people. And, I mean, I just, it was just, I decided just to join her email distribution list. So I could just kind of see what's going on in it. And you know, it was interesting, and had a lot of neat little articles. And then there was always job posting, and like, I'm never gonna be able to do anything like this. I'm like, I just, you know what, but it just sounded great. To do something else with this, the talents that I know that I have, and many other educators have. There's like a toolbox full, and we only get to use so much. So I was just ready to jet. I was like, deuces, I'm doing something else. And I'm gonna get there. I'm gonna get to where I want to be. And so, you know, it only took a sec three times. And then I was like, yes. Okay.
Robin Sargent 7:01
That's so I haven't even heard of teacher fluence. That's so interesting. I'm like Woo's this person. It's so it's not Daphne.
Cynthia Berry 7:08
I don't, I don't remember the ladies. If I remember, I'll message you on that, and idle and let you know, I know, I have emails from her. Still. But I actually haven't seen that email Jeff in a while. It was it only happened up until the point where I joined idle. And I actually want to contest or contest for a one on one I want to book and then she gave me a free year subscription to flex jobs. So I didn't know what to do with that, you know, the book is, looks interesting. And Michael, I haven't tested it yet. But I'm gonna because I want I want to fully immerse myself in some, just the mindset of, you know, continuing my journey, it's not gonna stop just right here, because I have an ideal job. You know, I was just not. Okay, so
Robin Sargent 8:00
now I have to get into it. So you did you joined in June? And you were part of the seventh cohort? And did you do the become an idol challenge? Or did you just enroll and get started?
Cynthia Berry 8:09
So the five day challenge, I saw that you're talking about the five day Yeah, I saw that probably like in day three. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I you know, I'm gonna have to catch up. And so I took the quiz I tried to do as you know, everything that I couldn't just take a look at it. But then I did the one when I joined, we did the 14 Day Challenge. But I didn't get to complete it. I think it might still be in there. But it was actually very good. It's a very good condensed version, with a lot of really good nuggets to just kind of get a glimpse of the possibilities of what an idle, you know, instructional designer does. So it's those type of things. And I just loved it. I loved doing the work.
Robin Sargent 8:53
So how much time did so you start the Academy? And then did you? Okay, so it was supposed to be your summer break? But how did you actually approach material building your portfolio? How much time did you put aside? What did your journey look like before you landed your job?
Cynthia Berry 9:09
We'll Gosh, since it was a summer, I had all the time that I needed to except for the fact that I was teaching. I wrote curriculum for the ACE program, which was going to be over the summer. So like ology, and I was still doing that happening. I was kind of like directing slash being a classroom teacher for the enrichment program. So I was doing that and then eventually I just started bringing my laptop to bear and I was given the crabs like you guys do this. Let me know if you need help. And I'm gonna do this, you know, and so I just started going through everything just at a pace that I knew I could handle. And I really hard on myself like I stay very organized. I try to I guess I'm hard on myself. So if I didn't, if I wasn't doing it at this time, I would get stressed out a lot. But just I started it and then I paced myself, but then I feel like I would set myself back because I would get that what is called impostor syndrome, like, what am I doing, I can't do this, like, you know, just being a whiny behind me about it, but like, I was just okay, you know, you, you're gonna do this, and I just had to change my mindset. So then I Just plowed through it, you know, not at the pace I wanted, because I wanted to do a whole lot more, but I would get stuck, just you know, mulling over and processing things. And just staring at my computer for hours at a time, I don't even know where the time went, you know, but I think I was like, 12 hours a day on my computer, you know, and then putting together portfolio that was probably the most fun thing. Just, I don't know why, but you know, what creative and I love colors. And yeah, this is fun, you know, it gets to these things and stuff. And it was it helped me see what my style is, what my preferences are, and how my message is gonna relate to whoever's looking at my portfolio. So the journey through idol was absolutely incredible, that tons of people still I get to work with and I'll still one of my one of my friends, she works with me, not directly, we're on a team. So we're paired up, she's paired with someone else, but I got to have some really make some really good relationships with it. But the journey was awesome. It was some growth and has some hard growth. Like, you have to push yourself to do this, because it's self paced, you're like self regulation, you're kind of like trying to go do your thing. And if you don't do it, okay, that's cool. It's gonna sit there until you're ready to come back. So if you don't move, then you're gonna get, you're gonna get left in the back where everybody else is going ahead. And I saw that, and I just, it made me hungry to keep going.
Robin Sargent 12:06
I just love how you took it as like something that inspired you to keep going, because I think it can go either way. Right? It can either like discourage you, or it can do what it did for you. So you spend like 12 hours, you are just rocking and rolling. And you got which is I mean, impressive. But I understand, right? Like when you're committed when you have a goal. And you're like, Well, if I spend more time I'll get there faster. So you started June? Did you start applying like right after the dude messy challenge? And then keep working on your assets? Did you take that approach? Or did you do it a little different? No, I
Cynthia Berry 12:42
did not apply to nothing. I was like, I don't even know what I'm doing. But I saw people applying and getting interviews and stuff like how are you doing that? Like, what's the formula? And I was just afraid. I was afraid because it was something fresh. And I didn't really think that I was capable of landing those positions. I didn't think I was capable of speaking to a corporate executive or recruiter and do well. I just didn't feel like I wasn't even going to be there. I didn't do. I didn't move ahead. Like one of my friends. I don't know if I can do that. But I'm not going to but but one of my friends, I mean, she's sailing, She's a beast. And she was just sailing through. I'm like, How are you doing this? And I just I could not process. I felt like a failure because I didn't, because I wasn't attacking it with this assertiveness or aggressiveness. So I felt a lot of stress about that. And I would spend countless hours just looking on LinkedIn, wanting these positions, but not doing anything about it. I was afraid that would be I guess, related to impostor syndrome, or just downright like my mindset started to shift or fade away like this goal that I had, like, Okay, you're gonna take this course. Okay, that's great. Now you got to do this and like, oh, wait a second, I have to apply now. Okay, so that was tough for me. But that was part of the growth that I needed to go through. And it was a slow process for me. I felt like I needed to have all of these skills first and know all this stuff first before I actually apply. That's what my mind told me. And everybody else is like, No, you if you're an idol, and you're doing these things, you already have the skills. So I did all the work. I went to all of your calls, I reorganize the LinkedIn. I put together the resume, you know, I did all that stuff, but it was is the next step that I was afraid to do. So it was a little bit of a process for me, which is strange, because I'm usually a go getter. But there's some things that I just, you know, that will stop me in my tracks because I feel like I'm not prepared. And I don't want to set myself up for failure. And I thought that if I did that, and I got rejected, it was a failure. And so,
Robin Sargent 15:25
obviously wasn't just perfection talking to you. So. So you, how far did when did you feel ready to apply? Did you have like a certain amount of assets in your portfolio? Did it just like, did you feel strength one day, what happened?
Cynthia Berry 15:42
It's a string. I feel I feel the storm. No, like, I don't even think my portfolio is still I have things that I'm working on the pipeline. But it's a slow process, I'm still working through things, I have things that I've almost completed, but I don't want to put something that's not fully completed on my, my portfolio. And I just, I don't know, something that looked like I was, there was okay, it was just a slow process, I would still look through the jobs, I would get lots of encouragement from the mentors and my friends. We did that for each other, we lift each other up quite a bit. And the more I heard that, the more I was like, okay, I can do this, I'm just going to have, okay, I'm going to apply to like to today find two that I think that look good, you know, research can be a little bit, well, their values seem pretty, pretty good and research their posts and stuff. So then it's like, okay, I'll apply for this job. It was just, I didn't do batches or anything like that it was just a few at a time. But then towards the end of idle, after the cohort finished, I seem to pick up the pace, which is I was a little late for him like, Okay, now you get to go to eat, now you get going to the school year and see us because you ain't got your job yet. So I would just pace myself into Okay, I'm going to do a few today. And because rewriting the whole resume, looking for the transferable skills and the verbs and just rewriting everything for a position is a lot of work. And so I would just take my time trying to get that down as best as I could. And just, I would just do a few at a time. That's that's how I got through it strengthen, I get strength one day, I guess one day, I just finally said, you're going to do this, you better you know, you have to, otherwise you'll be teaching another school year. You know, so that created a sense of urgency.
Robin Sargent 17:53
So the cohort ended like the first week in August, you start applying a couple of jobs. And then I How did you find your current role?
Cynthia Berry 18:04
From one of my idol friends? Yeah. When am I Oh friends, the one that's like the trailblazer who was just a beast. And she's like, telling us myself, and like the accountability group that I started. She's just telling us all the things that she was doing. So I'm thinking, Yeah, I can do that. She's the one that referred that position to me. And I think a few other people, myself and my co worker that I know, that I'm working with, I know that we both applied to it. And it's an instructional designer for the University of Missouri. And, gosh, that's that's how it happened. It was a referral from someone within the cohort that just thought of me and referring the position. And
Robin Sargent 18:53
I got the position. It's, uh,
Cynthia Berry 18:54
I, you know, I sometimes I wake up, I'm like, I'm an instructional designer. Like, they're like, for probably weeks after I started, I started September 1, I couldn't believe that I was because I thought for sure I would not get to where I was, I wouldn't get to that point. I didn't have that confidence thinking like I was I was gonna get there. And then all of a sudden, I wake up September 1, and we have our onboarding meeting and I'm like, oh my god, yeah, I'm, I'm doing it, I'm here. And I'm so thankful that should refer that position. I'm so thankful for that. And just for all the encouragement that not only she gave, but several of my other friends gave and everyone just everyone's wired differently. And that's okay. As long as you keep moving, you're going to get there, even if it's at the pace, some are gonna be like rabbits, and some are gonna be turtles. You know, I hate to use that analogy, but I've always thought so instead They wins the race. And for me, you know, if that's the case that I need to be at, to do it, well, then I will. I don't want to get from A to B and have a lot of messy work in between. I want to be able to do it the right way. So, you know, for anyone out there who's like, well, the process is taking a long time, I totally get it. I mean, it took a month, a month for us to finally get like everything together. And then we started September reverse, I mean, that's a long process. But the process that you go through is tremendous growth, you learn a lot about yourself, and your learning about what you're capable of. And you know, what you what can you really do? It pushes you to a limit of being uncomfortable. But stress causes change. And that's what that's what it did for me. So I'm just forever grateful that my friend had referred that to me and the people I interviewed with Sal ascended in me and gave me the opportunity. So I'm two months into it now, going on two months, and I'm getting it
Robin Sargent 21:12
all those valuable writing skills. A lot to do with it do and, of course, all your portfolios and things like that. But I mean, those writing skills don't I mean, I would not even dismiss all those that you had before you ever even decided to become an idol. Those things are very valuable in our space. So. So you're in higher education as instructional design. And I know you thought you do corporate, but you're in higher ed, what do you think about that? You
Cynthia Berry 21:42
like it? Well, yeah, I mean, it's my first experience Sure, was do this higher ed. The funny thing is, like when I started school, the LMS is Canvas. And when I when I started teaching, like the LMS for Mizzou is Canvas when I started teaching me how to do reading Academy. And the LMS is Canvas. And I was looking through that I was like, I know exactly what this is. And they I was looking through the pages and like this is a rice course This is rice. This is like I was like I know what this is, I know, I know exactly how they put this together. And that just really lifted my spirits. It's like, oh, my gosh, this is like, I could do this, I actually know something I've like I know kind of what I'm doing what I've been telling myself this entire time. So higher ed, this, we're working on a project that is through a grant. So this is a contract position. And it is in partnership with Siemens, to create a certificate course for biomedical engineering. And one of the modules that we're working on, you know, I'm partnered with my other instructional designer. And together, we help the professor who's new to teaching, we help him build the course out in the LMS, he has to deliver the content to us, and we put it in. So for this higher ed, we're not actually using all the neat videos that we learned and idle, we can but it's we're inputting the information and building up the course that way. I, myself and the other idols are also creating soft skill courses. So I am personally responsible for one soft skill course, in that entire certificate course which my imprint will be there forever and ever. So that's, that's incredible to me. So yes, the writing skills and everything have come into play. But higher ed, I think they're the subject matter experts are going to be just as I think they'll be, they'd be the same as if you were in a corporate environment is the same thing. I don't know anything about biomedical engineering or extra radiography. So they're going to tell me about it. And I'm going to do my best to convey their message and their voice in the LMS when building this course or this module. So what I like to be in corporate eventually, yeah, because I want to experience that as well. So when this contract is out, we'll see what happens. The cool thing is that after this, you know, I could go anywhere, to have the experience. I could go anywhere I have the experience that I was giving me I am continuing to grow myself in my skills and invest in myself. So when this contract is up, I'll be more than ready to really get going in corporate, if that's the route that I take, which I'm open but I still have goals. I'm gonna stick to that path.
Robin Sargent 24:51
Well, and also I mean, it's not even just exclusively curriculum for higher ed, you're building a professional development certification for are a corporate entity. And so in many ways you are using all of your corporate idle skills to do work like that. And so, I mean, not all of them right now your tech tools, but all the parts,
Cynthia Berry 25:15
your that's absolutely correct. That's great.
Robin Sargent 25:20
So I'm totally remote.
Cynthia Berry 25:22
I am and I would not I love my autonomy. You know, I love that I'm being at home. Okay, you know, I think it's great, I didn't realize how much I would love being alone in my house and just working the flow from eight to five, I am busy. There's no like, I'm just gonna, you know, sit back and like, watch the sunrise with my tea or anything like, No, I gotta get going, because everybody's already slacking me or I have emails or my my deadline is on Friday, and I need to get edits done and everything. So I don't have time to waste. And this, I'll tell you something funny is a contract position. And like, you know, my office is kind of moved from the dining room to a bedroom. But I tell my husband is like so when I get my permanent position. I get a she said, right. Yeah, she said in the backyards, then again, my private office, and give my she shed in there and just to be able to work. So I'm, I'm looking forward to that. That's a goal. Oh, my, she said,
Robin Sargent 26:32
I want one of those to do my she said I was gonna be girly. And I understand. I understand the desire for her. She said, Because you're like, it's my own space. It's what inspires me. So I love it. That's
Cynthia Berry 26:48
right. That's right, you need a good space to work in. So you can have that flow. And it just, no, just makes you want to work.
Robin Sargent 26:57
Yeah, now you have the autonomy, you get to just focus on your work, you can go to the bathroom whenever you want. That's
Cynthia Berry 27:06
true. Cuz teachers know, like, it's is really hard for you to take care of yourself when you're in the classroom. So I don't know, Dad, I don't have to put a timer on or anything like that I can just take care of myself when I need to, which is awesome love. Okay, so
Robin Sargent 27:24
Cynthia, I love your story. And I think everyone wants to know, what's your best and final advice for those that are wanting to make the transition to instructional design, move,
Cynthia Berry 27:35
you know, move, move from what move from that comfort zone, because you know that you need to do something more to get yourself where you need to be. But some people just like me, you're scared. But you have to move yourself. Because jumping into it, you don't know what's gonna happen. You don't know what's going on. You don't know anything. You have fear that might overcome, you know, overtake you at times. But I get it. It's something new, it's something fresh, but you have to move and you have to get it or else somebody else will. And that's your opportunity. So I would encourage anyone who is looking to be an instructional designer to move or you will be moved. That's just, that's just it, the more I see my feet and LinkedIn, the more I know that a lot of people are doing this right now. And if you're not willing to put forth that effort to get where you need to be, and you feel defeated, like I did at many times, your pace is going to be a lot slower than it could be I just, I feel like people, you just need to move, or you will be moved. And take those opportunities. And don't give up I know those are like cliche words, you hear it all the time, don't give up you can do this is completely true. Do you not feel like you like you are not capable of doing that? Because I felt that way. And that was a really tough spot for me to be in. Because I don't you know, I don't want to feel defeated or a failure before even give it a try. No, you need to take those opportunities, and just just do it. Just jump into it. Don't worry about what's going to happen. The process is brutal sometimes. And I see so many people that have had like, you know, rejection after rejection, but it's only gonna get you closer to a yes. It's only gonna get you closer to a yes 10 knows gets you closer to a yes. And someone will see you all of that stuff is still an experience. And you learn from it and you grow from it and you keep pushing yourself to get to that point where you're going to be and you don't stop until you get there. And when you get there. You're going to help somebody else get there. You're going to help somebody else get there because somebody helped you get to where you are and you You need to, you know, I would encourage and hope that you're going to pour into somebody else to get them to that, that place as well. So,
Robin Sargent 30:08
Cynthia Berry 30:10
Robin Sargent 30:11
I mean, that's perfect. I have nothing else to say other than thank you for sharing your story. I know that somebody is going to be moved by your advice and your story. And I mean, thank you just for coming and sharing and pouring into everyone that hears your story today. So, yeah,
Cynthia Berry 30:30
thank you for having me. It's a pleasure and an honor to do this.
Robin Sargent 30:35
Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes for this episode at idle courses.com. If you liked this podcast, and you want to become an instructional designer, and online learning developer, join me in the idle courses Academy, where you'll learn to build all the assets you need to land your first instructional design job, early access to this podcast tutorials for how to use the elearning authoring tools, templates for everything course building and paid instructional design experience opportunities, go to idle courses.com forward slash Academy and enroll or get on the waitlist. Now get out there and build transcendent tours.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai