From Classroom Culture to Corporate Culture

By Tech Powered Dad | November 29, 2014

Switching jobs from classroom to corporate

If you’ve followed Tech Powered Math over the last year, you’ve probably suspected this day was coming. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I’ve been exploring career options for some time now, first via some career coaching and over the last 6+ months by retraining via taking online courses (re)learning how to code. A couple of weeks ago, I accepted a new position that will take my career in a very different direction.

I’m going to be working in on a new team that’s starting up at a Fortune 500 company, with my role starting in just a few days. I feel very fortunate to be moving into this position. My impression throughout the interview process was that my new employer is looking to be very progressive in this area, both in terms of the technologies used and the type of work they plan for my team. Their corporate culture seemed quite professional and driven, yet warm and welcoming at the same time, exactly what I was looking for as I made the move out of public education. I really couldn’t be more excited to have an opportunity like this.

And while I have no regrets about making the move, I must admit that there are a few twinges of emotion and trepidation that go along with it. Of course, I’ll be leaving behind some great colleagues and students that will be hard to say goodbye to. The hardest thing about leaving my school after 10 years without a doubt is saying goodbye to the math team. I actually told the math team I was leaving before I told my classes. That activity has been my pride and joy. I’ve seen so many triumphs from the kids. I’m leaving on a streak of 7 straight regional titles and 5 straight years as the top public school at the Illinois state championships, and an unforgettable 2012 state title. I have seen the kids learn so much through those competitions. In many cases, they have realized that they can outperform other students that have more natural talent by hard work and stretching their minds to attempt new challenges and problems.

I also know that for a long time now, I’ve felt very confident that I’m an expert in my field, that I know how to do the work well, and I understand the expectations of my work environment. I’m leaving that comfort zone to start over. But honestly, that’s what I wanted–a chance to prove to myself that I’m capable of “making it” from scratch in a competitive, cutting edge field.

Additionally, I  left with the question of how to write for Tech Powered Math. I don’t plan to stop, although I’ve already cut back significantly the past year due to time spent on job retraining. It’s hard to know at this point whether I can expect more or less time for things like blogging now that I’m commuting longer, but grading papers less in my evenings. How much will this blog continue to be about graphing calculators and education apps and how much will it evolve to be about R and Python and MOOCs? I’m not sure at this point. Writing for TPM has mostly been about having fun and expressing myself over the last 4 years, so the answer to that mostly depends on what continues to catch my fancy in the upcoming months and years.

STEM careers are the future. Will you be ready?

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