5 Takeaways for Students Considering a Career in Education

The journalist Sydney Harris once said that “the whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” This sentiment was evident at the Education Career Pathways Panel hosted by the Office of Career Services and the Educational Secondary Department this past month as four Harvard alumni shared their experience in education and how they impact the lives of students. Below you will find my top five takeaways from attending this panel.

  1. There’s no typical day in education.

            When someone mentions education, the first thought that comes to mind may be a teacher in a classroom, textbooks, or even daily life at Harvard. However, a theme that was made clear by all the panelists was that there really is not a typical day in education. Ben Sorkin’20 (Sociology & Secondary in Educational Studies), Ed.M’23, discussed how, as an admissions officer for a boarding school in Connecticut, much of his job included traveling to events to meet with students and their parents, coaching, and living in the residential dormitories. Amma Ababio’19 (History and Science), who is both an operations manager for Newsela, an online platform for educational content, and a teaching assistant at Boston University, discussed how she enjoys a career that offers the flexibility that comes with working virtually and teaching in higher education. Even Mona Miao’20 (Psychology – Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology), EdM’21, who is an 8th Grade Science teacher, highlighted how her daily schedule is diverse and includes creating new lesson plans, meeting with parents, and, of course, teaching.

  1. Teaching experience is important for a career in education.

            Across all the panelists, experience with teaching others, whether they be middle schoolers, college students, or corporations, is important. A career in education has large implications as individuals are shaping content and policy that will affect a large group of people – whether they be students in a classroom or entire school districts. Mark Heath’14 (Government), who is a principal associate for Education Resource Strategies, a national non-profit that consults with school districts and their leaders to create successful school systems, explained that it is not just “students” in the traditional setting that need to be informed about the world and effective strategies for success, but schools and their administrators need to be educated as well. Thus, no matter what your job looks like in education, the heart of the field is helping others learn, and teaching experience is an integral component to this goal – both when applying to jobs and when working in those jobs.

  1. Leadership opportunities are everywhere.

            Through their experiences, panelists highlighted how their career pathways have also encompassed leadership opportunities. For example, Mona discussed creating her daily lesson plans and how she balances creativity with her curriculum. Additionally, Amma discussed the opportunities she has had regarding leadership and being able to oversee a team that coordinates initiatives within the company.

  1. The TTL Program was a popular topic.

            The Teaching and Teacher Leadership (TTL) program was repeatedly mentioned throughout the panel discussion. The program is through Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and it supports new teachers in achieving initial licensure in secondary education for the state of Massachusetts. The program allows teachers to develop practices that create innovative learning environments for students. To learn more about the program, check out their website (https://www.gse.harvard.edu/masters/programs/ttl).

  1. Education is an ever-changing field.

            Given today’s climate – whether it be consulting schools on best practices, selecting students to be admitted to school, or teaching, students pursuing a career in education have vast ability to shape the future of how we see education and the world. While challenging at times due to the lasting effects of the pandemic, teacher burnout, and the politicization of education, those in education-oriented careers have the power to affect policy, schools, and the next generation of students, and the four panelists were a testament to that level of influence.

Picture of Jadyn Matthews, OCS Peer Advising Fellow

Jadyn Matthews’24, OCS Peer Advising Fellow


By Jadyn Matthews
Jadyn Matthews