During the deadliest period of the pandemic, Heather Rainey left her teaching job to help her own children, ages 5, 7 and 9, learn virtually. Then her husband lost his job.
Rainey, a paraprofessional who leads a classroom of emotionally disturbed students, was forced to return to work while Grahame took over duties at home. Rainey finds her job worthwhile but tough.
"They hired me on the spot because nobody is crazy enough to take this job," the 35-year-old said. "It's very intensive."
This is a dynamic time to look for work in the education sector as workers like Rainey return to their jobs and employment begins to bounce back, adding 58,000 jobs since the beginning of the year.
Those entering the field for the first time may want to consider teaching assistant roles.
From tutoring privately to helping a teacher in the classroom, teaching assistants play a critical role in education, and their employment is expected to grow 4% by 2029.
Ultimately, if you are interested in becoming a teacher, now is a great time to get started. Here are three jobs to consider as stepping stones into this sector:
3 education jobs women can get now
- Tutor. Tutoring opportunities have exploded recently thanks to on-demand tutoring apps, ranging from the well-known, competitive Chegg to other, more accessible options. Many apps require a bachelor's degree, but some only call for a high school education and subject area expertise. Pay ranges from $9 an hour on Tutors.com to about $30 with Varsity Tutors. Private tutors may make a lot more than that.
- Teacher's aide. Sometimes teaching assistants and teacher's aides are seen as interchange roles, but there are subtle differences. Teacher's aides, for their part, are responsible for completing clerical work, supervising students, and enforcing classroom rules. Only a high school diploma is needed to become one.
- Teaching assistant. Teaching assistants, on the other hand, are qualified to help in classroom instruction. They assist in grading, taking attendance, collecting homework and recording grades. Teaching assistants make more money, and their role often requires a two-year education degree.
How to write an education resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
Functional resumes are perfect for those who are transitioning into teaching because they emphasize your skill set rather than work experience. Some of the skills you may want to highlight front and center include lesson planning, multitasking, patience, preparedness, child care, teamwork and first aid/CPR.
Here's an example of what a functional education resume might look like:
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
Give your skills and work experience equal footing with a combination resume. This way, you can highlight some relevant work experience (e.g., volunteer work on after-school child care) and emphasize your transferable skills, like handling paperwork and supervising group activities.
Here's an example of what a combination resume might look like:
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
If you already have experience in education, the chronological resume format is right for you. The chronological resume puts your work experience at the top to showcase your professional advancement.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain employment gaps on an education resume
Due to a near-total shutdown of the school system during the COVID pandemic, employers will understand recent work gaps on your resume. Since employers expect gaps, you may not have to go out of your way to explain them.
Nevertheless, multiple gaps may catch an employer's eye, so you should be well prepared to discuss your on-again, off-again employment history if the topic comes up. In addition to personal reasons like taking time off to tend to a family illness, here are a few strategies for explaining the "downtime":
- Child care is relevant to some types of teaching. Teacher's aides, for example, enforce classroom rules and supervise students. Tutors must plan lessons and consider each student's learning style. All of the above could be skills you've honed with your children.
- Homeschooling could help you flesh out your skill set. During COVID lockdowns, parents became de facto teachers, many homeschooling their kids for the first time. Skills like lesson planning or one-on-one instruction are highly transferable into tutoring or teaching assistant roles.
- Employers, including parents seeking tutors, may be impressed by any additional expertise you've acquired. Highlight time spent pursuing certifications, even if they're simply completing courses in an online marketplace like Coursera.
Find an education job with a flexible schedule
Finding a teaching job with a flexible schedule is possible, but your options will be limited. Teaching assistants and teacher's aides usually but not always work full-time hours. Tutors are more flexible. You may be able to work weekends or evenings if you find the right client. On-demand tutor apps offer additional flexibility.
Ultimately, finding teaching jobs with flexible schedules may be competitive, so you'll want to be thorough in searching the major job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor. But you can take this one step further by keeping a tab on industry-specific boards like K12JobSpot and SchoolSpring.
In the end, women returning to the workforce want quality jobs that work with their schedule and unique set of needs. You can set yourself up for success by having a solid resume in hand that's tailored for the jobs currently available.