We’ve seen many people quit their jobs and start new careers recently. You might even be one of them. But, when it’s teachers looking for opportunities outside the classroom, there’s a stigma attached to it. This means that support and resources are in short supply and many people end up staying in jobs that affect their health.
Today’s guest, Daphne Gomez, is a member of SPI Pro and a former teacher now turned CEO. In 2017 she left the classroom to work for an Edtech company and ended up talking to a lot of struggling teachers as part of her new role. When they started following her to parking lots and asking about other job opportunities, she knew she had to create a resource and a safe space for them.
Daphne’s Teacher Career Coach is a judgment-free community that has helped thousands of educators find happiness and success inside and outside the classroom. In this episode, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how the community works and how it’s changing the lives of its members. We also learn how Daphne’s course and podcast fit into the business.
Another thing you’ll be happy to find out about is the Teacher Career Coach Jobs Board. We know all about it here at Team SPI. In fact, we’ve already found our newest community manager through Daphne. (Hey, Ashley!)
Daphne Gomez is a former teacher who left the classroom in 2017 for roles in professional development training and instructional design. Teachers would often reach out to her to ask for career advice, so she began creating the resources and community she wished existed during her own career hunt. She is now the host of one of Apple's Top #50 podcasts in Education, The Teacher Career Coach Podcast. Since beginning Teacher Career Coach in 2018, she has helped thousands leverage their experience in education to find new careers.
In This Episode
- How a toxic work environment pushed Daphne out of her teaching job
- Why Daphne should’ve listened to her mom and prioritized her health
- The Great Teacher Resignation and the factors contributing to it
- Why teachers should have other options even if they never leave the classroom
- How Teacher Career Coach provides a safe online community for educators to talk about the realities of their job
- Other career paths for teachers who still want to work in education
- The Teacher Career Coach Jobs Board and how we found our new community manager
- How Daphne’s course contributes to her business and community
- Why hiring teachers in other roles may lead to better work environments in schools
- Follow Daphne on Instagram
- Follow Daphne on Tik-Tok
- Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo [Amazon affiliate link]
The CX 046: From Burned Out Teacher to CEO with Daphne Gomez
Daphne Gomez: Virtual learning changed everything and it made everything so much more challenging for teachers. Then with the teacher great resignation that came along people saw that these are human beings that desperately need out. Some of them are struggling very much. The community that embraced me the most when I started were therapists. They said, "We've had so many clients of ours and we would beg them, please just try something else." Because of how bad people were struggling mentally, but staying in this career just because of its mission.
Jillian Benbow: Oh, hey, hey, it must be Tuesday because this is a new episode of the community experience podcast. I am your host, hostess, host person, Jillian Benbow. Today, I'm talking to Daphne Gomez, who's the CEO of Teacher Career Coach, and also the host of the Teacher Career Coach podcast, and also, is a member of SPI Pro, and referred our most recent community manager that we hired through her organization, which we will get into in the interview. But obviously, loved what she's doing. She's a former teacher turned instructional designer, podcaster, and career coach, and she had been teaching.
She had been teaching for three years. She felt it was a very toxic environment. There was a huge lack of boundaries for teachers. It's very hard to fully walk away from work in the way that many of us are able to do. She was burnt out and she was unhappy, so she left, and in leaving realized there's no support for teachers who are in a similar boat. Let's be honest, there's a lot of people in that boat. Through her own leaving and figuring out next steps, she created the Teacher Career Coach empire. We'll talk a lot about that and how she did that, how it grew and just, I think it's a good story in the sense of community. A lot of us need community we don't know we need. A lot of us have to create that because no one else knows they need it either.
This is an excellent example of feeling really alone in something, not having support, so creating it and then helping others with it. Here is the episode with Daphne. I hope you enjoy.
Jillian Benbow: All right. Welcome to this week's episode of the Community Experience podcast. Today, we have somebody that is a member of our community SPI Pro, but that's not why she's here. She's here because of all the amazing work she's doing. Welcome to the show, Daphne Gomez.
Daphne Gomez: Thanks so much, Jill, for having me.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, of course. You are by trade a teacher and then turned instructional designer, then podcaster, and career coach. Tell us about, I want to get into the whole origin story, but first let's just talk about what you're doing now. Tell us about your current business and what that is.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. I am the CEO of Teacher Career Coach. We are a small startup company. It now has a couple of full-time members who are also former teachers. Teacher Career Coach is geared towards helping teachers transition outside of the classroom, leveraging their skills from the education space into a variety of different career choices. But we have a digital course that walks them through resume writing and step by step picking a new career, all of the different things that they may need to know. Then, also, a podcast, the Teacher Career Coach podcast, which launched in October of 2021 and is doing pretty well.
Jillian Benbow: With all of that, obviously, I think the next question is like, what? You were a teacher and you left and now you're helping other teachers do the same. If we go back in time to when you were a teacher, what made you leave? What was it that built up and made you decide, "Hey, I think this isn't what I want to do."
Daphne Gomez: It took about three years. I was only a fifth grade teacher for three years time, and I changed school districts in the middle of that. I thought, "Maybe it's a change in environment that I need." But I ultimately never really felt like "myself". Something felt a little off and it was really hard for me to figure out what it was the first year. Everybody tells you, this is first year jitters, oh, the first five years are the hardest. It's like the weirdest benchmark, but they always tell teachers, "Wait until you've been in it for five years, and then it'll start getting better." Which is not what they say for any other role.
They don't say like, "Oh, wait out project management for five full years and then you'll decide if you're going to stay or go." But the last year ended up being one of my most challenging years, and I felt myself struggling really bad mentally. It was back in 2017, but I was going to the doctor a lot for stress related illnesses, weird stuff happening to my body just due to a really toxic work environment. I was crying on the way to work, just bawling in the car, or found myself crying when the students were out at recess and then trying to redo my makeup so they didn't see me. I realized at the end of that school year, I do not know what my next job is going to be, but I can't try a different school district.
I just have to heal mentally. I have to find something that I'm going to be happy doing, but it's not the best for the students for me to be in this mental state. Back then, I started doing the Google searches of other jobs for teachers. I talked to all my colleagues and the consensus around the board was, you can't leave teaching, you're a good teacher. Even if I'm bawling on the way to work, having hardcore mental struggles, not the best for the students, either. Everybody just really said firmly, "I don't know what other jobs you could do. I've never known a teacher who has left, and you shouldn't leave. You're such a good teacher." In the three years that I was teaching, I didn't have any exposure to a single person who had made a pivot outside of the classroom.
I ultimately landed a really great job doing professional development training for a Fortune 500 company, that's pretty well known, speaking at educational conferences. It ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. But the three months of in between time of searching for a job and doing a lot of soul searching and figuring out if I was abandoning a career that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, took a lot out of me, and I wanted to help other people who felt the same way that I did.
Jillian Benbow: I'm going to ask you some personal questions, so feel free to be like, "No, thank you." But did you always, growing up, were you just like, "Yup. I'm going to be a teacher." Was that always in your head? Do you come from a family of teachers?
Daphne Gomez: Yeah, very common question. My mom was a teacher. She was a burnt out teacher that told me matter of factly, "Do not do this. This is not a good career." I said, "No, I'm not going to listen to you." It's the one time that I should have listened to my mom.
Jillian Benbow: Classic. Yeah.
Daphne Gomez: But that's a joke, I don't regret my experience in the classroom. It is something that has shaped me as a person. I knew that I wanted to do something that was intrinsically motivating and help people. I have a passion for education. I want to do something that's good for my community, and it felt like a natural fit. But I was not prepared for a lot of the different things that come with teaching. I'm learning a lot about myself on the other end of my own mental health struggles. Someone with anxiety, someone who gets very triggered by a lot of noises, and the decision fatigue that comes with 35 little tiny decisions that you make at all times, because of 35 students who are doing whatever they want and how that does really impact some people.
There's not a lot of ways for people to really evaluate whether or not it's a good fit until after they've done four years of college for it, got their teaching credentials. Then, they're in the substitute teaching program, and they're told that it should take a few years before you really find your fit. For me, I knew it was something that I wanted to try, and I'm happy that I tried it. I've been able to leverage it into other ways and still continue to teach, but in a completely different capacity.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, absolutely, and it makes sense because I think a lot of what, it sounds like, drew you to teaching maybe in elementary school wasn't the right forum for, but now you've found that right forum. Can we just go back to, I feel like people were shaming you to stay like that. It's like, "Come on, come on you all. Let's not. Let's support people."
Daphne Gomez: That's one of the most common things that happens, is because especially with the teaching shortage right now, your colleagues are going to struggle with celebrating you finding a new job or you exploring a new path, because it does negatively impact them. Teachers are people who go into this career with a serving heart. For their entire career they're doing whatever it takes to support other people. This is the biggest decision that actually negatively impacts other people that they actually have to make for themselves. That's why it's such a challenge. But yeah, even back in 2017, there was a pretty clear stigma about someone who was leaving.
Because if you're a good teacher, you should stay in it forever for the kids. You signed this invisible contract, I like to say of, this is your forever career. You said you're a teacher, you're doing it.
Jillian Benbow: Do or die, miserable or happy. Do you think that was the driving factor of like, "You know what? This is making me very unhappy." Was it just the overwhelm of all that chaos? I'm asking this, just a caveat to everyone out there, I think teachers are the most underpaid population probably.
I love my daughter's teachers. I love the schools. I try to do everything I can, because there is no way I could do that. Having one child is hard enough. I can't imagine having 35 of other people's children with that expectation of educating. I'm feeling pressured just talking about it. I just want to say this is a no judgment zone. I'm just very curious what that was like.
Daphne Gomez: For me, the ultimate deciding factor was I moved to a brand new school district and it was a completely different demographic. It was in a wealthier neighborhood in Los Angeles, and I taught the gifted and talented students. Many of them are student actors. That comes with a sense of entitlement from the parents of their expectations of what you're going to do to accommodate for their specific students. The privilege that goes along with that took away from a lot of the passion and combined with, honestly, the most toxic work environment I had ever faced. There was a lot of myself mentally struggling, but Facebook threads of adult bullying. Just talking about I'm too young to be smart, or things that parents and admin were participating in for an entire year that just broke me down lower and lower and lower, to the point where I really questioned my own qualifications. Whether or not I was capable of doing anything else, because of how comfortable people felt talking down to me because I was just a fifth grade teacher and they were in different positions of power over me.
Jillian Benbow: I'm sorry. I'm trying to hold myself back from just a line of expletives, so then we'll have to edit out. That's really frustrating. Although not surprising, honestly. I could definitely see that. I'm sorry, that's awful.
Daphne Gomez: What I went through is nothing. Unlike what many teachers go through right now. If they get on any social media platform, they have 10,000 comments of someone who "knows what they're doing", "that's better than them," that has never been in a classroom before. When you are broken down and you are working 60, 70-hour weeks because you want to help students and you want to help them learn, it's really hard not to walk away at the end of the day. If somebody calls you a really bad, main name, because they didn't like that you gave a spelling test on a Monday instead of a Friday. The very small things that push people over the edge can be the deciding factor compiled after years of stress.
Jillian Benbow: You know what's funny? Just as an aside, but since this is a community podcast, a literal community where there's a school and people living, the original concept of community. This is such a real life freaking depressing example of a toxic workplace, but also social media, all that stuff like that. The jump, just the long jump leap over boundaries to think it's okay to post on somebody's Facebook outside of their personal space, outside of work, about work things. In a way that's basically a toddler tantrum. If anybody's listening right now and is identifying a little bit with this, knock it off. I just can't, I just can't even ... I have no patience for this.
Daphne Gomez: It comes with not feeling like you can ever take a sick day. Sometimes getting text messages asking, questioning why you took a sick day. Even if you did prepare the substitute plans. There's just a lot of things that aren't normal in other industries that teachers do face. Many times teachers have overlooked all of that because what's the most important thing to them is their relationship with their students. But everybody does have, they have a breaking point. What we're seeing right now is many teachers are facing that breaking point.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I hope anybody listening to this is like, "I can see why." Right? This is clearly happening on a greater scale and we're seeing it by teachers leaving, and the work you're doing in many ways helps. You're that beacon of light, right? That you didn't have. Now, teachers have a place to go to talk about it, which is fantastic. Because obviously, they need to at least be acknowledged at the very basic., does it ruffle feathers? Are people, when you talk about what you're doing, do some people are like, "Oh, well, why would you? We need teachers." Do you get any pushback?
Daphne Gomez: Originally, I did. There's a content creator space called EduInfluencers, so education influencers. It's all of the teachers who are posting what they're doing in the classroom, classroom management strategies. These are our favorite products. These are products we've created. I had already started my passive income journey creating digital products for teachers after I left the classroom. At that time, I was working as a professional development trainer, but I also, at the time, I think was already somewhat transitioning into instructional design, which is, if anybody's not familiar, it's like corporate content creator, course creator.
I worked for an ed tech company that's really large, but I created their courses and e-learning for them. But during that time, when I was talking to a lot of teachers for my job, teachers kept following me to the parking lot and asking me, "You said you're a former teacher and you seem really happy. Are there other jobs like this that exist for other teachers?" I started thinking about this business, this company from 2017 on. Then, I think I really started working on it in 2018. Our launch, I believe was 2019. While I was talking to other EduInfluencers, many of them said, "You can't create something like that. We need good teachers. We need good teachers to stay. You need to focus on helping good teachers stay."
My talk was always or my pushback was always, there are so many really good resources to help teachers stay. I can name at least two off the top of my head for teachers who are really struggling and just wanting to look for that support system of creating work-life balance and sustainable teaching practices. Those are people who have tested it, who have done it on their own. I am not the person to create that. That is not my personal journey, but what I can do is speak to my own authentic journey and create something to help the people who are struggling in the same way that I struggled. As I started to create it from time to time, I would have some pushback.
Then, everything really shifted. It had already been created. It had already built a pretty large community, COVID happened. My first gut reaction was, "Okay, well, nobody's going to want to change careers at least for the meantime, because they're going to be able to work remotely. No one knows what's happening with the economy. This is probably not going to be something that anyone needs." When I created it, I always thought that it was going to be a very small segment of teachers who were like me, who just realized, "Hey, this isn't the right forever career for me. I need to pivot." Or, that there was going to be like a recession, like we saw back in 2008 or 2009, and all the teachers got pink slipped, but then they wouldn't have any idea of where they were going to go.
I thought, when COVID happened, no, one's going to want to see any of these resources. I just stayed silent for a couple of months. Then, we saw what happened, is that, virtual learning changed everything and it made everything so much more challenging for teachers. Then, the way that society publicly talked about teachers changed. It went from being something that if you were in a grocery store and you used to say, you're a teacher, everyone would just be like, "Oh my gosh, what a great career." They would love bomb you in the grocery store, where now it was like, "You're lazy." Like just mean stuff.
I never would've anticipated it, but with the teacher great resignation that came along, the attitude towards what I was doing shifted as well, where people saw, these are human beings that desperately need out. Some of them are struggling very much. The community that embraced me the most when I started in 2019 were therapists. I talked to multiple therapists as I was developing my resources. They said, "We've had so many clients of ours that had talked to us for years and we would beg them, please just try something else." They couldn't talk them out of it, but they knew how needed it was because of how bad people were struggling mentally, but staying in this career just because of its mission.
Jillian Benbow: That makes a lot of sense though. I think a lot of therapists have similar feelings about their profession. Frankly, I think a lot of human facing service based, especially in-person, careers are facing that.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. The problems that teachers face when they leave is they feel like they're losing their identity. They're losing their calling, their mission in life and I went into this so self-centered and all of the teachers that I talk to feel the same way, where they're like, "Nobody feels this way except for teachers." But the more research I do, the more I talk to other industries, this isn't 100% unique to teachers as well. Journalists that I've talked to from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, when I'm doing interviews with them they've, off the record talked to me, not off the record, but I mean when we're not in the interview, they've said, "You know what's funny? Journalists feel the exact same way." We talk to each other, "How did you get out?" No, they're like, "How did you get out? Did you lose your identity? What careers could I go into besides this?"
Jillian Benbow: Well, and that brings up such a great point because I think a lot of us in our careers where we work becomes a community, we spend so much time at work. Right? A school is a community. There's a whole hierarchy within the admin structure and teachers can be super nice to each other, they can also be super cliquey. There's the groups. I'm sure for a lot of people, it adds a layer of scary to think about leaving that community because it is very much your support community, right?
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. There's a lot to feeling like you're abandoned someone who's in the trenches with you. You both have had this mission and you've sacrificed so much of your personal life, your mental health, your time dedicated towards this really great mission of supporting students and putting the students first. The second that you are no longer going to do that, it is very hard because you feel like you lost your community and you let your community down. It's a huge struggle.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Well, it's interesting too, because essentially, you did that. You got out, if you will, and then you turned around and was like, "Now, I'm going to create a community for people who do the same. I'm going to head a community that centers around people leaving that original community."
Daphne Gomez: Or, just talking openly about their thinking about leaving, because when I first started, nobody would even dream of talking about it. Then, it would be met with, it's somewhat common in the teaching space, it's like toxic positivity or like a little bit of emotional gaslighting of, we're in it for the kids. Or, if you talk about it, you're the negative person. People never really felt like they were able to openly evaluate their options. I think that that's why you see memes of grumpy teachers, grumpy teachers in cartoons. It's because if you feel like you're backed into a corner with no other options, then you resent the place that you're at.
But if you're able to see, here are the options in front of me and I'm choosing my own path, there are other people like me, but you know what? I don't plan on taking that path. That gives you that sense of freedom of, "Okay. I did choose to be here. I chose to be here for a reason." That can help people actually be happier in the classroom as well. Once they're able to finally talk about it and see that it's there, but with someone who's keeping it real. These are struggles. This is okay for us to talk about. It's okay to evaluate it. Then, I'm going to come to peace with going back into the classroom and talking about that honestly as well.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. If more teachers felt safe to have these candid conversations in the, I'm going to say the student lounge, in the teacher lounge, at work, at that community, maybe it could help facilitate change. But on the other side of that, I'm sure when people do a little bit, there's a panic and like you said, the emotional gaslighting and the like, "Oh, no."
Daphne Gomez: You're not even allowed to post if you are grumpy or sad or had a bad day at work without repercussions as a teacher, if you have a public facing social media platform, because a parent is going to say, "They were down, I don't think that they're going to be a good teacher for my student. Can you make sure that they're doing everything they can? They seem like they're letting their emotions take over if they're posting that they had a bad-"
Jillian Benbow: Too emotional.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. That's really tough.
Daphne Gomez: Giving that safe space to talk about it somewhere else and to figure out that there's a lot of other people who feel the exact same way, and learn from one another, and inspire one another to figure out what it is, because it's not a one size fits all answer for anyone.
Jillian Benbow: You started shifting in, you were doing instructional design on the corporate level. Then, what came about first? The podcast, the actual getting together and having these conversations? How are teachers finding you in the first place to be able to connect like this?
Daphne Gomez: What happened was I had a Instagram account that I was slinging. Teachers Pay Teachers is like a platform where you can sell digital curriculum. I had created some cool digital curriculum. I was using this platform to like, "Hey, if you're a fifth grade teacher and you want to check out the things that I've done, here's a freebie or here's something going on." But then they'd noticed that I was like traveling for work. I wasn't one of those people who was faking that I was still in the classroom. I was like, "Oh, I'm clearly traveling for work or I'm doing this or that."
People kept saying, "Wait, what is your job?" The audience was constantly either following me in seminars that I was doing. I was speaking at national conferences to teachers and then they'd come up afterwards and be like, "How did you get this job?" Then, I just changed the name of the Instagram. I was like, "I'm doing it. I'm diving in." I changed it to Teacher Career Coach. Immediately, that community started picking up and I was just posting some basic, like, here's some basic facts. Here are the top jobs that you can go into outside of the classroom.
During that time, I started my first iteration of the course. One of the most important things for me, as I was doing this, was actually teaming up with someone who is a certified career coach, who had 10 years of human resources and recruiting experience. Because just landing a job once or twice does not make you qualified to write everybody's resumes in a variety of industries. It was so important to me that the information that I was giving was very accurate because people's lives are at stake when they're trusting you for this type of service, or livelihoods are at stake.
I started working on the Teacher Career Coach course, and I think we launched that in mid-2019. Then, continued to grow Instagram, email list, giving free advice, worked on the blog, really focused on search engine optimization strategy for the blog. Then, did not launch the podcast until October 2021. I don't want to call any COVID projects a passion project, but it was a COVID project between my husband and I, because he is a sound engineer. He could help me with all of the post production editing and he had the equipment. That's why we decided we had a little bit too much time on our hands and we started the podcast then.
Jillian Benbow: That's fantastic. Just as a curiosity, what are the top careers that you think translate best for teachers? Or, what have you been seeing? I think it's lots of them, but I'm curious what your thoughts are.
Daphne Gomez: I've put it into three career buckets. It's the easiest than me just saying like one or two careers. The first bucket is for the teachers who still really want to work with students or education in general. Something as easy as just saying, "There are jobs at your school district you may have not thought of reading coach jobs, tech TOSAs, it's like a teacher on special assignment." Thinking of, if you still really are passionate about working with kids or working in education, going there is like the easiest choice. But then looking into museum education programs, anywhere that students have ever, ever gone on a field trip usually has someone who has to train on classroom management. Create the curriculum that the people are taking them on the field trips and training them on. There's someone who's in charge of the learning department usually. Many of them do have K through 12 experience. There's education programs at, in hospitals, thinking of daycare facilities, not as just like a daycare facilitator, but as the manager, as someone in charge of watching people at those places. That's the first bucket.
The second bucket is just ed tech in general, any education company, that's a great place to pivot into a new role, but using your subject matter expert knowledge. They hire a lot of teachers for SDR and BDR roles. Those are entry level sales roles, customer success manager, account executive roles. If you've already done something like district coaching, or if you're a former admin. You can get those higher level roles. Project manager, roles, curriculum writer, professional development trainer, all of that.
Then, the very last one is like outside of teaching, outside of education altogether, but still really translates over learning and development department, corporate trainers, instructional designers. Even office managers, admin assistants, anything that focuses on keeping things organized, training in general. There's so many careers over in that third field that are all over this place, but a lot of people really like going into learning and development, because it still scratches that itch or just working at a company as a manager of some sort.
Jillian Benbow: It makes a lot of sense. It perfectly segues into my point, which is, so Daphne actually, through Daphne, we hired our newest community manager, who at the time of recording this hasn't started, but will by the time this airs, will be here. Hi, Ashley. It was a similar thing. I needed to hire someone that had a skillset of curriculum or instructional design, because of what we're doing in our academy space, which is where all our course communities are. We want to have pathways. You can come in and say, like, "Okay, this is my big goal down here. This is what I want to do."
Because we have a bunch of entrepreneurial courses. They join that community and can be, based on some Q&A and whatnot, have a very curated path, where it's like, "Take this course, but afterwards here's the things you need to make sure you've done. Then, you're going to go to this course, and here's the supplemental resources and whatnot." Who better to do that kind of thing than a teacher? Because it's organization, it's communication, obviously, it's the actual instructional design. Auditing the courses, seeing where things are missing, what can we add? How can we make this better? Basically, I'm so excited. When you think about what teachers do and what community managers do, there's a lot of similarities.
It's just the population might be a little older, but still it comes with similar set of challenges, I think.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. Honestly, I have two team members and I can't speak more highly of both of them. They're both former teachers. One of them does all of my social media, plans all the social media, just creates all the content. Because she's a teacher, she knows what's important to talk about. She knows how to help with structuring things so that it's articulated well. Then, the other one is customer support, but she's also taken over as a community manager as well with any extra time she has. It's just such a natural fit because teachers are cheerleaders. They love to be helpful.
Even in communities, I'm sure you find that many of your community members are asking, I hate to say Googleable questions, but it's the people who just really need a little bit of hand holding. Teachers love getting that motivation of, "Yes, I found it for them. I solved their problem." That's really what she does for a community manager. It's something that another business owner has told me as well, that specializes in community. I know you know him, Jay Clouse. He was like, "Do you have a lot of former teachers going into this?" I was like, "I don't know how to put this on their radar anymore than just having anyone who has a community opening coming and posting it on our jobs board."
But yeah, if there are places to send people to, I am happy to show them that resource too, because many of these are women that are looking to still have the flexibility and do something that they love. But also the flexibility of potentially working remotely, if they have young ones at home and they were losing that schedule that they had as a teacher.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, for sure. I don't want to jump around too much, but let's talk about the job board first, because I know you recently launched a job board, because I saw it in Pro and it's great. Tell us more about that. How is that going? I'm sure it came about as a natural progression from the course. People go through the course, learn how to hone their skills and talk about their skill set. Then, now it's time to look for a job, so that was the next step. Is that accurate?
Daphne Gomez: Total transparency, it started out in ideation as it was a separate recruiting agency that we actually launched back in August of 2021. We started working on it because we had experience in recruiting as well. I would say quickly, but one of those very expensive and long lessons in business of watching something that ended up not quite being the right fit, just wasn't well fleshed out, as you put it out into the universe, we shut that down in February. Because what I realized was we were working so hard so many hours to get one single teacher a job and match one teacher with one company, and so much back and forth.
Many of the companies just said, "We'd like to just advertise these positions." My heart was, I want to help 10,000 teachers. I don't want to have all of us working on something that's only going to help two or three teachers per week max. That's where I really made the decision, we're shutting down the recruiting agency. We're going to make something that's a little bit more passive, where the companies can post something, we can vet to make sure it's a good fit. Then, as the companies post something, we'll send it out to our email list of 84,000 right now teachers on our newsletter, who are reading our emails on a weekly basis.
That, I think we launched it about three weeks ago as we're recording this. It's been going very well. We have quite a few companies that have already signed up. We're doing a one free posting for free, but that's what a free posting would be, a free posting for free. We're doing one posting for free with that because it's new, and I want people to feel confident that they're going to be able to get some great candidates from it. We've already had quite a few companies so excited that they already started paying and purchasing multiple placements on there. It's been working out really well and we have some pretty big name companies that are partnering with us.
I believe in the next few weeks we should be working with Apple, who wants to do a larger push for a lot of their opportunities for teachers, because they know how great that they would be in the training capacity at the stores and all of the different open positions that they have. There's a lot of really exciting things in the works for that.
Jillian Benbow: That is, I want to say, genius, but is that too on the nose for Apple?
Daphne Gomez: On brand?
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, just perfect. That's great. That is super exciting. I know we have no roles open because we filled them. Thanks to amazing referrals, like the one from you. Technically, I can attest that it works great because I know I reached out to you and said, "Hey, I've created this new position. I know you do this. I think you might know someone." Hey, you did. It was perfect.
Daphne Gomez: I will say I uncomfortably have messaged Ashley a million times that I was jealous that I could not have taken this position, because it would've been a dream role for me. I was like, "I don't want to keep getting your hopes up about this role as it has not been given to you, but I have very little chill about it." Ashley is such a great find, but this is the thing that I feel like a lot of people maybe missing from this conversation, is it's not just a single teacher. Ashley is a teacher who is a learning and development specialist, but she also is an education influencer, a content creator.
That's why I specifically matched her up, is because she has a lot of knowledge of blog writing, SEO, creating her own influencer, like Instagram. She's done a lot that that passion is going to work for your business. But there are so many teachers that have passions for, like there's companies that just sell special education products, and they're just looking for teachers in a specific area that also are Spanish speaking. Because the list is so huge, there's teachers that are like, "That's the perfect role for me." That's what's really exciting about the jobs board too, is that people are able to see, "I'm really passionate about this type of technology."
Or, "I'm really passionate just about helping people." If there's communities that are focused on women entrepreneurs or there's communities focused on gardening, you're going to be able to find someone that is just a great fit for that.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. No, absolutely, I agree. Ashley, she just checked off all the marks for what we do specifically. We obviously are doing very entrepreneurial things. It's very tech heavy, tech savvy. She is an absolute perfect fit, and yeah, that's one thing I really like about your job board is, it isn't limited to that specific avatar, if you will. Any company posting is looking for some specifics, right? Then, you have this huge list that someone's going to have those, so it's perfect. It's absolutely perfect.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. There are teachers who love to use someone else's curriculum and do things perfect. Then, there are teachers who will build something from the ground up and do it. Even myself, as a professional development trainer, they said, "We like that you make mistakes and that you make jokes, and that you keep things engaging. It doesn't have to be perfect." Some companies are looking for someone who's going to be speaking in perfect sentences. Some people are looking for people who are going to be more personality, and there are so many different types of teachers out there that will fit what you're looking for.
That's what I really hope that teachers find from the messaging too, is just because I say former teachers are great at X, doesn't mean that every former teacher should go into that role. There's so many roles out there that are great fits for different personalities and different skill strengths.
Jillian Benbow: So, Tell me about just the course that you ... because you started with this, or I shouldn't say started with, but your first big offering, it sounds like, was this course. What are you doing in this course? Is it just resume building, interview skills? What's the scoop?
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. I created a course. It's five different modules, and for the different stages. What I found with a lot of people in changing careers in general, but specifically the teachers that I was working with is, you bounce all over the place. You try and write a resume super quick, or it's like not a very clear direction of what you're rewriting your resume to be, so I step in. I walk them through step by step, like, here's the first module. I'm like, you have to get clear on what you want with this next career. You have to understand what your non-negotiables are as far as salary.
Then, you also, as far as teaching goes, if you're working 60 or 70-hour weeks, it is not going to be easy to upskill. Setting the foundation of, this is the timeframe that you probably want to start applying. It's different for teachers than many other careers, unless you're quitting in the middle of the school year, which many teachers were forced to do in the last few years. Just based on, it's very hard to just find a job in this teeny tiny window of time. But this is when you should have everything mapped out to try and start applying aggressively for jobs.
That's the first module, is really walking them through everything that they need to set that foundation. Then, the second one is, identifying different jobs based on personalities, how long they've been in the classroom. A teacher with three years experience maybe looking for jobs that are completely different than someone with 15 years experience. Based on salary expectations and whether or not a company's going to have some stigma about having someone with 15 years expectation in, or a 15 years of experience in a "entry level position". How to read job descriptions, what to know about different departments, all of that.
Then, rewriting your resume is a huge one. Walking them through step by step, like classroom to corporate terminology, what to leave off their resume, what people really don't even need to see. Because so many teachers put all of these acronyms and pedagogy on it that is not necessary unless you're going for very specific roles, using that subject matter expert knowledge to help you get the role. Walking them through all the best practices as far as that goes. Then, everything to do with interviewing. How to negotiate salaries, something that teachers have never done and are not super confident doing, many women are not.
How to address the elephant in the room confidently when someone asks them why they're leaving teaching, because that's something that can definitely red flag you. Even if you do really well in an interview, if you start to tell someone, "Oh, it's because that was miserable and I hated my toxic administrator." You most likely are not going to get a call back after that, because no one has time to figure out if your drama or if you can't be professional in that one incident, it's very hard for them to move forward. Everything to do with interviewing, and then it also comes with a private community.
We host it on Circle, and that's just for everyone to talk about what they're doing, what courses they're taking on LinkedIn, what they're doing specifically, even in their classroom. Some people are working on project management courses and then doing project management at their school site, so that they can put it on their resume. Yeah. It's like upskilling while you're still in the position. Like, "Okay, let me create the website for this specific upcoming initiative for the school site." Then, you're able to put that website design and development on your resume. Everybody communicates between another and then celebrates when people get new jobs.
The former teachers come back and share about their new jobs in our private community. It's just a really welcoming and wonderful place for everyone to continue their growth, even after they've left the classroom. But especially during those really tough, down times. A lot of the course also covers some of the mindset things that people don't know is going to happen when it comes to a career change. If you're already in a really bad head space, which is something that I struggled with, it's really important for somebody to tell you, like, "What you are going through, this is the stage. You are going to have imposter syndrome." Everybody thinks it's never going to happen for them.
This is how to expect it. I put a lot of mental health support in it as well, because I knew that that was such an important part, at least to my own personal journey, and for so many who are struggling right now through these next steps.
Jillian Benbow: Job searching, especially when you're in a bad environment that's draining, it's hard and it's so defeating. I know, I've experienced it. I know really smart, really great people who are in it right now. It's frustrating to see them start to doubt their own skills and intelligence when it's just for whatever reason they're not doing great in the interviews or getting offers or whatever, or even a callback. It's so hard. I can imagine for teachers who don't really, that's not really a part of the job. It is if you're switching districts and whatnot, but it's all within this, like you were saying, you can use the acronyms and a district to district will understand that.
Coming just to a totally different scene of how it works, I could see that just being a whole other layer of feelings and stress. I love that you have the community piece in place. I'm assuming if you purchase into the course, you get access to the community. Can people just join the community even if they don't do the course?
Daphne Gomez: No, and the reason why for that is because we answer questions in that community piece as well, and it was something that I've evaluated doing. But with that, it would distract from everybody who's at a different level of understanding, that has the foundation knowledge of the course itself. We actually do all of the answering questions, everything that we can do on the Instagram, on our LinkedIn, in our DMs, in our support. That's really where a lot of those connections are made, with people who are outside of the course. There are so many people threads on our Instagrams connecting with one another and learning more and listening to the podcast. That's where all of that goes on.
Jillian Benbow: No, it makes perfect sense. I think it's smart to protect what you have going on in a community. Even if that means like, "Oh, yes, you could sell a different kind of membership to this, but if it's going to lose the thing that makes it special, it's absolutely not worth it." That makes perfect sense, but I love that you have that. I love that, what I would call, your alumni, the people who ... they get out and that they come back and share and celebrate with people. Because in many ways you're filling that hole of the educator community that you would've gotten in the school within this community.
It's your own school, where all the teachers that are kind and having similar mindsets and whatnot can come and just really have a safe place to openly share, which is fantastic. I'm so grateful that you identified this need in yourself, but then also had the vision to use that natural teacher force to help others do the same.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. There are some very impressive people in that community that have taken over and, "Here, I just created this Google doc template. Everyone should use it." Just the most resourceful and kind and helpful people, but I'm sure we all anticipate that from a lot of educators.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. That makes perfect sense, that tracks, absolutely. Final question, then we'll get into our rapid fire, but where is everything going? I'm sure it sounds like it's doing great. You're absolutely filling a huge need for people right now. You just launched the, or recently launched the job board, which is doing awesome, what's on the horizon? What's the plan?
Daphne Gomez: The next thing that we've been thinking of for a really long time is one on one support. It would not be with me, personally, just due to low bandwidth, but I've been actually doing interviews right now with other former teachers that have been outside of the classroom for a while, but working in either career counseling in higher education, or some career coaching capacity. Whether they were recruiting before, something where they have the skill sets and will do some one-on-one coaching with people who want additional hand holding and accountability outside of just a passive course. That's something that I'm hoping to launch in the next few months, but it's been head down really working on that for a while.
Jillian Benbow: That makes perfect sense. That'll be a great add-on, like an à la carte option for those that want that. I love it. Well, I am fortunate enough that I can follow along in Pro and you can share your wins there, and I can see what you're doing. With Ashley, we're going to have this, a connection there too. I could be like, "What's going on in there?" Hopefully, she's sharing a wonderful story in your community soon about getting out. She's in her last few weeks of her teaching role. I felt bad taking a teacher out of teaching, but I don't, because teachers need to be treated better. If a bunch of them leaving is what's going to make it happen, then I feel like I'm part of the change.
Daphne Gomez: It's just so funny. There are so many hiring managers that I have had this conversation with, where they said, ultimately, we hired this person for marketing, or we hired this person for whatever, but I did feel guilty taking a teacher out of the classroom. It's one of the least humanizing, I know that the intention is good and everybody's heart is good, but it's the least humanizing feeling to think, "Okay, this is the most qualified person. You understand how valuable they are." But it's so hard for you to allow them to do what makes them happy, and it's mutually beneficial. I'm not trying to call you out on it, but it's such a-
Jillian Benbow: Whatever. I'm kidding.
Daphne Gomez: No. It's like, in what other career do you feel like someone says, "No, you absolutely can't go from sales to marketing, Greg. Sales is you're calling."
Jillian Benbow: Gosh, Greg. Get your head out of the clouds. No, I respect what you're saying and actually I should think about how I say that, because it's definitely not, it's not like, "Sorry, Ashley, you have to stay and be miserable because you're a good teacher." That's not it at all. It's more of like the system is so ... it's depressing that it's come to these wonderfully qualified people are so unhappy, they're willing to walk away from this thing they've worked towards for so long because the system's so broken on how we treat teachers, all of it. That's the part where it's like, I guess guilty is not ... It's like, I feel bad that it's come to this.
I'm super excited to have someone as amazing joining my team. I'm super happy to know that I'm helping someone get out of that situation, and I hope will feel very valued with us. But yeah, I don't know if it's guilt, but there's just this ... Yeah. It's a bummer in a way and not to discount the person individually.
Daphne Gomez: It's watching education crumble right now.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, that's it.
Daphne Gomez: It's everybody trying to figure out a solution of how do we support education, and is what we're doing, hiring teachers, helping teachers find jobs outside the classroom, is that making this worse? That's a very real and okay question for you to ask yourself. I'm more thinking of, there's been a hiring manager too, who said, "We absolutely will not hire former teachers because of this, because teachers need to stay in the classroom."
Jillian Benbow: No, that's too far.
Daphne Gomez: That's where my brain goes to like-
Jillian Benbow: Hold up. Yeah. No, no, missing the point, you all. Yeah, I think it's going to get worse before it gets better, but if really qualified people leaving and being happy is what it takes for policy change and maybe better protecting staff from Facebook warriors and whatnot, then so be it. Before I just talk myself deeper into a hole, let's transition to rapid fire. Enough about my opinions. Let's talk about you, Daphne. As I mentioned, it's rapid fire. I will want to ask follow up questions, but I will restrain because then it will not be rapid fire. I'm going to ask you a question and just the first thing that comes to mind, that's your answer. Just quick, rapid answers.
Daphne Gomez: Okay, good. I'm scared.
Jillian Benbow: Don't be scared. They're fun. There is no math. I'm realizing that to a teacher it's probably not the right ... I'm not a math person, okay? Daphne, when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up besides a teacher?
Daphne Gomez: Veterinarian.
Jillian Benbow: Me too.
Daphne Gomez: Until I discovered what they mostly do, and then I was like, "Nevermind, I want to be a writer."
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, I like it. How do you define community?
Daphne Gomez: That's a really great question. For me, community is just people supporting one another with a shared goal, with a shared mission. Community is kind. I feel like that's one of the first things that comes to mind. I don't know if it's just because my community's so kind, but just a really welcoming place where everybody feels valued and knows that they're able to talk about what's going on.
Jillian Benbow: I love that. What is something on your "bucket list" that you have done?
Daphne Gomez: Oh, something that I have done that's on my bucket list? Oh my goodness, that's such a good one. This is such a small one, but I've always wanted to see Neal Brennan, the comedian. We just saw him last week when he was in Los Angeles. I don't know if he tours that often. I feel like it's pretty rare. That was a bucket list. Well, he does actually do stand up and it's on the west side in Los Angeles though. It may be a different country, because no one wants to drive that far, but that's such a small bucket list one, but I'm going to keep it.
Jillian Benbow: That's okay. It's your bucket list. There are no rules, and hopefully it was all you hoped for and more.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. His new show is amazing.
Jillian Benbow: Awesome. All right. Then, the flip of that, what's something on your bucket list that you haven't done, but hope to do?
Daphne Gomez: This one's bigger than just going to a comedy show I could go to very often. It is going to Europe with my husband. We're hoping to do it this summer.
Jillian Benbow: Oh, okay. I'm so bad at this, but I have a follow-up question. Where in Europe?
Daphne Gomez: I think we're going to go to Paris, Italy, and Germany.
Jillian Benbow: Yes.
Daphne Gomez: We haven't booked the flight, but we're supposed to book it, I think, sometime this week.
Jillian Benbow: Well you can put that in the weekly wins.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Report back in Pro if you booked it. Okay, what's a book you wish everybody would read?
Daphne Gomez: Oh, Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo.
Jillian Benbow: I was going to say that's a Marie Forleo quote. I didn't know she wrote a book.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah, it's so good. I do dig the personal development books, but that one is so well structured and really well thought out, where it feels very empowering but realistic at the same time. I really appreciate her writing style.
Jillian Benbow: I'm going to have to read that. I love her. Okay. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would that be?
Daphne Gomez: Oh, that's a good question. Oh, no. I tried to convince my husband to go to Nashville, Tennessee because I secretly really like country music and it would be somewhere he could work in the sound industry still. I think Nashville, for some reason. It's close enough to like Dolly Parton's theme park where I could go there every once in a while. I have a thing.
Jillian Benbow: I'm down. Let's do it. You know how I just invited you? I might have invited myself on your-
Daphne Gomez: Where can we three live together?
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. What are we going to do? I don't take up that much space. Okay. Then, final question, how do you want to be remembered?
Daphne Gomez: It's very hard to remove the teaching persona from myself, and so I want to be remembered as someone who helped educate people, period. On whatever it is, I want to be someone who's remembered as like, "She really helped me learn blank." Whatever it is.
Jillian Benbow: I love that. Teachers be teaching, whether it's a ... I feel like there's so many people that could be, that are teachers, but not in the, at a school sense, just in the, this is my soul.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. Yeah. There are so many people that, the people that have worked in different roles that don't realize that that's truly what they're doing. The helpers that really breaking complex things down into simple learning little chunks. There are people all over that do that, but yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Awesome. Daphne, this has been a delight. Your community just sounds so wonderful. My on the outside perspective of it, I'm just so impressed with everything you're doing, and I love who you're helping and all of it. If our audience would like to learn more about you, where should they go?
Daphne Gomez: Everywhere. I'm just at Teacher Career Coach, so that could be on Instagram or TikTok. I do those TikTok videos. Maybe don't follow me there.
Jillian Benbow: Oh, I'm going to follow you there. Absolutely. I love TikTok.
Daphne Gomez: Yeah. Those are the best ways to connect, I would say Instagram or TikTok.
Jillian Benbow: Awesome. Thank you for being on the show.
Daphne Gomez: Thanks so much for having me. This has been so fun.
Jillian Benbow: That was my interview with Daphne Gomez, CEO of TeacherCareerCoach.com, and host of the Teacher Career Coach podcast. Wow, yeah, I feel like teachers have been in the media a lot lately between horrific violence in schools, teachers not having resources, curriculum challenges. I think everyone knows, it's been a spotlight on teaching and maybe not the best light. Being a teacher seems really hard. I understand that people may get into it and then have a Gob Bluth "I've made a huge mistake" moment and realize it's not for them. I fully support if you are in a career that isn't right for you to find one that is right for you. That's okay.
It is funny, I think there's something about teaching that, and I'm guilty of this, we assume that, "Oh, if someone becomes a teacher, then that's what they're going to do. That's their career. That's their life's work." It's okay if it's not. I love the story. I love the story of Teacher Career Coach and just what it's growing into and clearly is needed. As mentioned in the intro, the idea of identifying a gap and something that you need, and building community around that is amazing.
Because if you were feeling that way, like Daphne was, wanting to get out of teaching, not even knowing how to go about it, not knowing how do you apply for jobs that aren't in districts? Just all of it. Then, creating something to help other people who would be having that same challenge. It's great. To see just the success she's having with growing Teacher Career Coach, it makes me very happy. I hope anyone listening, who is in a similar boat, gets some inspiration from Daphne's story and hopefully some tips on just how to do that. That's the episode. I'm going to keep it short and sweet in the outro. I think the big takeaways are just having the gumption to say, there's this thing I need that doesn't exist, so I'm going to create it.
I don't think it has to be this, an entire company or a community even, it could be something smaller. I think it could be something as simple as, I don't know how to keep plants alive in my yard, and so I'm going to figure out how to do that. Maybe there are some other people that want to figure it out with me in my neighborhood. It could be super simple or it could be something as big and fabulous as Teacher Career Coach. Go give Daphne a follow, go check out her podcast, the Teacher Career Coach, and learn some hot tips from Daphne. That's the episode this week. I hope you enjoyed. If you haven't already, please consider giving us a five star review. I know, this is the hard hitting journalism that is just blowing you away.
Give us a review wherever you listen to a podcast to help us share the show with others. In the meantime, I'll see you next Tuesday.
You can learn more about Daphne and everything she is doing at TeacherCareerCoach.com, just altogether, no spaces, and find her on all the socials, especially Instagram, @TeacherCareerCoach, again, all one word.
Your lead host for the community experience is me, Jillian Benbow. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our editor is Paul Grigoras. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Theme music by David Grabowski. See you next Tuesday.