Choosing a career doesn’t have to feel like a life sentence without parole. It is a conscious decision you make every day.
Why do some people change their career? Is it easy to “transfer” skills from one profession to another, especially when you decide to become a teacher and can you go back to your previous field of expertise once you’ve been in the classroom for a few years? Can teaching broaden your horizons and inspire you for new projects with an education twist? Teach For Bulgaria participants and alumni help answer these and more questions about leadership and professional development.
If you are ready to make a career change, find out more about Teach For Bulgaria’s program and submit your application today.
The courage to choose a rewarding job…
Shortly before joining Teach For Bulgaria’s leadership and professional development program, economist Nikolay Ivanchev was a project manager responsible for the development of a fast food franchise. He could clearly identify gaps in the skills and knowledge of his team and decided to get to the root of the problem – education. Nikolay left his job to become an economics teacher at Vocational High School for Management and Food Technology because, as he likes to say, “you cannot build a house without laying the foundations first”. His business background proves to be useful in the classroom and his management experience helps him identify the individual needs of all stakeholders involved in the education process – students, fellow teachers, and parents. Nikolay’s background allows him to make his lessons much more practical and relevant in order to help his students develop the right skills for the current market. His experience as a project manager also helps him in his efforts to motivate his students to work as a team and achieve common goals.
… can pose new challenges, but your diverse experience may have already prepared you for them
Tsvetomir Marinov believes that his experience in sales and customer service at two major Bulgarian telecommunications companies helps him “build a relationship of trust” with his students and their families. As a primary school teacher at 75 Primary School “Todor Kableshkov” in the neighborhood of Faculteta, Tsvetomir applies his communication skills and former experience daily.
Making a career change can be a refreshing break in your routine which gives you a chance to meet new people…
Emil Emilov majored in tourism at New Bulgarian University and worked at a tourist agency for about a year. Teach For Bulgaria’s leadership and professional development program brought much coveted change. He was motivated by the cause and by the community. Ever since he first heard about the program, he wondered what it would be like to move away from Sofia and teach at a small village school. So he wrote he would go where he was most needed in his application as well. He found his dream school “Neofit Rilski” in the village of Dermantsi where he currently teaches English and leads the afterschool program for some of the students. The school principal, Petya Georgieva, helped him find his own place and thanks to one of the mechanisms for motivating teachers to work in rural areas, implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science, his monthly accommodation expenses are reimbursed. However, Emil admits that such drastic change – switching careers and moving from the city to the countryside – requires a specific mindset. You have to be motivated to take on this challenge, “only then will this experience be useful for your own personal growth and for the people you meet and work with”.
… and empowers you to broaden your professional horizons
Stanislava Bazitova applied for Teach For Bulgaria’s program in 2013 when she was just about to finish her bachelor’s degree in architecture in London. She decided to come back to Bulgaria not as an architect, but as a teacher because she wanted to show her future students from the small mountain town of Klisura that they had unlimited potential and the agency to make their dreams come true.
Stanislava worked as an English teacher in Klisura for two years. She also had to complete a qualification program at Plovdiv University to get her teaching certificate – as do all Teach For Bulgaria participants who enter the program with no prior teaching degree. Her teaching experience, qualification program, ongoing training, and the professional support provided by Teach For Bulgaria deepened her understanding of the education system in Bulgaria. This experience inspired her for a new project with an education twist. Stanislava returned to London for a master’s degree in architecture and after a few years of practice she discovered the best way to combine her profession with her passion for education and founded The Study Project.
The Study Project is a design startup which measures the impact of architecture on student learning and works towards establishing new paradigms and methodologies in school design using a research-based design approach which meets the needs of the entire school community.
Stanislava shared that she dabbled in entrepreneurship and worked at startups before and during graduate school, but she got inspired to start her own company focused on transforming the learning environment mostly because of her experience as a participant in Teach For Bulgaria’s program. Stanislava’s current focus is research: she is trying to isolate the impact of classroom environment on student learning in order to identify specific areas for improvement. She is determined to introduce The Study Project on the Bulgarian market as well which will give her the opportunity to keep supporting Bulgarian students, albeit not directly in the classroom.