Teaching/UX crossovers

This week I applied for a UX role. While putting my application together I tried to link my transferable skills from my previous career as a teacher with the role of a UX designer.

In my application I discussed how teachers must be user-centred. They need to find out where each pupil is currently at and where they are coming from in order to create a meaningful learning journey for them. A step further is to find out what excites this group of students and develop lessons that are engaging and encourage a desire to learn more. Accessibility is a key area for teachers to consider when planning. For example pupils with dyslexia, EAL or a low reading age would need some adaptations or additional strategies in place to enable them to access the content of a lesson.

It was only later on in the week that I began to search for teachers who changed career and become UX designers. I was interested in their journeys and successes. In my search I came across this blog post which sums up all of the cross over skills between teaching a UX in an eloquent and detailed way.

He starts by listing the responsibilities that teachers have that will be familiar to UX designers. His list reads:

  • User research
  • Prototyping
  • Visual communication
  • Empathy
  • Interaction design
  • Analytics
  • Communication skills
  • And much more…

He discusses each individually but I particularly enjoyed reading about Usability testing and iterating as I hadn’t looked at what I did as a teacher from this perspective before.

“Teachers use usability tests every day.
We use both qualitative and quantitative data from those usability tests to inform and iterate our lesson planning.”

This is so true! I remember once taking over mid-week from my job share. The maths lesson depended on them having done preparatory work the previous day. For one reason or another it hadn’t been done. As I was talking I could see that the kids had no idea what I was talking about! I iterated my lesson plan on the spot, adapted it to include what should have been done the day before and carried on.

Towards the end of the blog post Bennett states the following:

“Teaching gives you an edge and perspective that no other career can. As a teacher you are a researcher, a problem solver, an academic, a parent, a therapist, a coach, a designer, a collaborator, a philosopher, a scientist, a content creator, an entrepreneur, and much more.
But most importantly being a teacher gives you a perspective, a sensitivity, and empathy that most other fields don’t. And with that perspective you begin to understand the world in a holistic way.”

I can clearly see how the skills that I developed (and took for granted) as a teacher can mesh nicely with a career a UX design.

“UX is all about solving problems and developing solutions in order to improve the experience of a user. The question I’m left with is, who has more practice doing this than a teacher?”

I would love to hear from anyone else who has made the jump from teaching to UX. Please get in contact if you have!