Transitioned Teacher: A Qualitative Blogpost


First off, David, what is a blogpost doing on your data portfolio website?... Well, data is both quantitative and qualitative, and seeing my website analytics I can see that I could use more engagement. I'm hoping that a qualitative blogpost about my transition out of the classroom may bring more engagement, and that my journey may resonate with other teachers in transition. Please join me through career questions, qualitative experiences, insightful lessons, and the actions I am taking now as I tell my story in the tone of the data analysis lifecycle.

ASK - The Destination

The very first question I asked before heading down this transitional road was, "I know my future is in California, how do I bring my classroom with me?" When you are a teacher, especially when data-driven, you are passionate about where your student are at and how you can take them higher at an accelerated rate to meet and beat the standards that are expected from them. I often relied on my relationship building to learn and meet my students where they were at, actively listened and built classroom management around them, and carried a leadership style that grows with my students to a point where they are equipped for the next destination in their educational journey. However, when I asked this question I couldn't find a solution where I could carry my students to my personal next destination.

PREPARE - Analytics, Teaching, and Tech

Before stepping out into my career journey, I had to gather relevant data on who I was, my experience, and what my career objective is. So, who was I as a teacher? I taught math and computer science, backed my instruction with countless data studies and always understood my students' learning levels, and believed that technology could help empower my students to achieve their dreams, let alone prepare them for a tech-forward future. Especially, when we had our eyes set on moving to San Francisco, I  wanted to break into tech and could see how my current skills would grow me towards this by learning data analytics. This led me to enroll in Google's Professional Data Analytics Certificate Course.

PROCESS - The Teacher Becomes a Learner Again

Next come the cleaning portion in the data life cycle, and when you're in the midst of a career transition there is a lot of cleaning that's needed. As a problem solver and lifelong learner, I tried to do this mostly on my own (and I'll get back to that later) but learned that is not a good strategy. However, just like using Excel to process and analyze data, you learn so much by hands-on cleaning, and I became a student again, learning data through certificate courses and through on-the-job skills, hoping to meet the expectations I set and break into tech! I actually almost had it in the late-Fall of 2022 but the opportunity froze along with the tech lay-offs that winter. Eventually, I got my current job as a Systems Administrator for a medium-sized church and my new career in tech was clean and ready for the next step.

ANALYZE - Looking Into The Journey

Although my career journey was at a clean point, church tech was not exactly my goal. The analyze phase, although, calls for a problem solver to lay all the data out, dive into the details, and pull insights from the patterns of the journey. As you may be noticing while reading, my eyes where a bit biased and hyper-focused on a pathway all about data. The truth is, part of my journey includes combining my teaching experience with collegiate tennis experience, where I taught tennis in Chicago and Pebble Beach. (This funded my learning, career, and physical journey.)  While working as a Systems Administrator, I could breathe and dive into the fact that I still loved teaching and could turn any tennis court, group of people, or position/office space into my classroom.

Also, you'd be surprised with how much goes into the technology, data systems, and operations that are involved in running a church. My position centers around CRM's and SaaS, but I love how helpful these tools are for data analysis, engaging and reaching customers, and managing the operations of the church. The teacher in me also kicked in while in this role, and I found myself working hard to make sure our systems were well prepared and equipped with the latest feature and am dedicated to educating staff on how to use it and what our data could mean for the people we serve. One of the key-insights I pulled: Just like the classrooms I integrated technology, it is more powerful when those using it are equipped with the ability to get their desired outcomes and that I enjoy sharing this.

SHARE - David's Data Story

Sharing my story now, is extremely difficult. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing lessons learned, helpful insights, and aesthetically pleasing visuals, but I cringe about sharing my personal experience. Especially, when my targeted audiences here are teachers, colleagues, recruiters, and prospective employers. From every end this story can be perceived, I hear the doubts but stay focused on telling a clear, compelling, and captivating story because the purpose of sharing, whether in education, among my network, business partners, or the company that I am/will be working for, is to enlighten the results that will push your purpose forward.

ACT - Stepping Into The Destination

That being said, here are my actionable insight that will get me to my career destination:

(Pay attention to this point, as it relates to the core of my data story, and I plan on testing you on it after my last point!)

Finally, before actions can take place in the data analysis life cycle or my movement into a new destination, you have to ask your audience of their thoughts and relate it back to the initial Business Question... "Can I bring my classroom with me into a new career destination?" 


Okay David, what are you hoping to achieve with this?... Thanks for asking! Like I said in the DESCRIPTION, I hope that my personal qualitative story might engage you and move you forward with me. Thank you for sticking with me to this point, and I would be happy to hear your feedback and connect!

 -David Brown

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