Career Change – From teacher to media consultant

Teaching was a dream job for Andreas Hofmann. “I liked being a teacher,” the 48-year-old says today. Yet today he is no longer a teacher. For almost four years he has been working independently as a media consultant, trainer and coach to promote and accompany digitization processes in schools. To this end, in 2018 he founded the “mobile school”, which offers different teacher training formats.

But Andreas Hofmann had nothing in mind when he started studying to be a secondary school teacher in Oldenburg in 1995, nor when he started teaching English, history and politics at Waldschule Hatten in 2003. Today, the Lower Saxony school is a pioneer. when it comes to digital learning and has received numerous accolades for it. When Andreas Hofmann entered high school (Realschule and Hauptschule) and took over his first class, this development was only just beginning.

Andreas Hofmann has been involved in the digital development of his school from the very beginning

When colleagues asked who would wear the hat for the school’s digital development process, Andreas Hofmann immediately raised his finger: “I found it exciting to start this process from scratch and help shape it.” it had a negative connotation, even though it was becoming more and more part of the reality of children’s lives.

“I wasn’t a media professional at all, though,” he admits. To become one, Andreas Hofmann was constantly on the move and followed with him all the training courses offered in Lower Saxony. At the same time, he left with his class and – very important from his point of view – also involved his parents. All students were provided with digital devices and used them to work together in the classroom. At the time, there was hardly any teaching material or proven practice, which is why he was breaking new ground with every step. “It has been a very exciting and instructive journey with a completely new culture of error.”

A gradual career change

Andreas Hofmann was absorbed into this role. “I was so passionate about the subject,” he says today. And the digitization process quickly became his real job at school. Hofmann was soon asked to give lectures, and at one point the Lower Saxony State Institute for School Quality Development (NLQ) approached him and asked if he wanted to become a state official for media advice.

“That was the beginning of the end,” Hofmann says today. He doesn’t mean it as negatively as it seems. Only he gradually began to say goodbye to his real work. At first he was a media consultant for six hours and taught only two-thirds of his hourly load of him. 14 hours later had passed and at one point Hofmann was only in school on Fridays. In the end he no longer had a class of his own, and today he admits: “As a teacher I was no longer concentrated, I took lessons reluctantly, everything could not be easily reconciled”. He became a college teacher and he was often greeted with phrases like, “Well, back there?”

It’s part of my DNA as a teacher that I need security.

When he actually left Hatten Forest School in 2018 to devote himself fully to continuing education and media consulting, the path was only short and to some extent logical. “It all came down to this: there wasn’t a key moment,” she says. That’s why it didn’t seem like a cut in her professional career. He probably wouldn’t have believed it either. “It’s part of my DNA as a teacher that I need security.” Since he is afraid of taking risks, he would not yet hire people to date, but instead works with a network of speakers.

Too little recognition as a teacher

Yet she is still happy with the career change and the move to self-employment: “I need the creative work and the freedom of planning,” he says. He missed both of them as a teacher. “School often felt like a corset to me.” And he receives far more accolades for his lessons, advice, and master classes than for his work at school.

Today, his work week is no longer the same. Before Corona, Andreas Hofmann was around Germany all week. During the Corona period, his “mobile school” then moved completely into the digital world. Today it continues to offer many training formats digitally, but also always organizes on-site conferences.

It doesn’t run at full throttle – many people pull the blinds down right away.

And he still goes to school a lot. He benefits from having been a teacher. “Since I am a teacher myself, teachers look at me in a completely different way and I have more credibility,” he says. And he knows how colleges work, what is important for the success of digitization processes in schools. “I made a lot of mistakes myself when I was at the forestry school in Hatten”, he believes today, especially as regards the pace: “It is not possible to go full throttle, many people immediately lower the blinds”.

Don’t leave the debate on digitization to ed-tech companies

Today he is much more cautious and finds it better to shift down a gear, otherwise it would not be possible to take all his colleagues with him on the road. And he also addresses the teachers’ fears more than he did in his school. You have to sense these fears and take them seriously, but they would only get bigger.

And there is another reason why he thinks it is important for more educators to design further education around digitization in schools: “Schools must not give up on the discussion of digitization and leave it to ed-tech companies.” technologically, while the topic must be addressed mainly at an educational level. Hofmann sees the biggest challenge in the digitization process in how teaching can be further developed and improved through the use of digital media.

Andreas Hofmann already misses working with schoolchildren

Hofmann’s goal is to allow schools themselves, with the support of its training courses, to design and further develop the digitization process in line with their respective structures and needs. There should be people in each quorum who are trained to do this. So he sees his work of him to some extent as helping people to help themselves.

And when all the schools are ready, can he himself imagine going back to school as a teacher at some point? The answer comes promptly: “No, I don’t see myself in this system anymore. It’s all so lacking and so unsustainable. Write a concept and it ends up in the trash again ”. But the class, working with students, supporting their development for a few years – sometimes they miss all of that.

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