Why I Decided to Leave My Marketing Position and Teach High School

Why I Decided to Leave My Marketing Position and Teach High School

Ever thought about switching from industry to the classroom? Tandy Roberts did. Now she brings her marketing expertise to WFISD high school students


Tandy Roberts with husband, Josh, and son, Hunter, 4.



Career training is more important than ever in WFISD schools, which means one thing: The community’s expertise is needed in the classroom like never before.


For some, that presents an opportunity. A professional who wants to step outside the corporate world and bring his or her skills to the classroom will find opportunities like never before.


That was the case for Tandy Roberts. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, focusing specifically on marketing. For more than six years, she used her marketing skills as a marketing manager for a local doctor’s office.


Then, in August 2015, she left the business world behind and accepted a job with the Wichita Falls Independent School District as a teacher for its marketing classes. She taught fashion, sports and entertainment marketing at Rider High School and Wichita Falls High School.


What prompted her career change and how did it go? Tandy talked to WFISD Communications Specialist Ann Work Goodrich about her exit from the business world and her first year of teaching.


Q: You are a marketing pro. How did you decide to become a teacher for WFISD?

A: I thought about teaching when I first started college. But at the time, I was dreaming of being a businesswoman. I wanted to travel. However, teaching was always in the back of my mind. Once I got married and started having a family, the desire to teach surfaced again. The fact that I could be a teacher and teach what I loved was an opportunity I couldn't refuse!


Q: What skills did you develop during your six years in business?

A: I started out in an entry level position right out of college. Then I started coordinating the marketing. Eventually I worked into management. I developed skills in high-level customer service, branding, sales promotions, social media, e-mail marketing and website management. The company also practiced open book management. I gained valuable experience in the financial part of running a business.


Q: Would you have missed that experience if you had not had it when you took on your marketing class?

A: I have thought about that quite a bit – how different this first year of teaching would have been without the real world workplace experience. I think it was better for me to graduate from college and gain real experience. That way I can bring that experience to my students. I am sharing things I have actually done and not just learned about in school.


Q: Do you talk to students about your former job?

A: Yes, it happens quite a bit. I know what employers are looking for because I participated in the hiring process. I know the skills and qualities that businesses value right now.


Q: Do the kids like hearing about it?

A: Yes.  They’ve asked to see some of the marketing pieces and websites I helped create. They want to hear about the kind of work they could do if they pursued a career in business or marketing.


Q: Compare your experience in teaching with your role in the work world.

A: Now that I am teaching, I am more autonomous. The success and overall tone of the classroom is all on me. I’m responsible for their learning. I get to feel proud and say, “I taught them that.” If the lesson goes well or doesn't go so well, I can learn and grow from that.


In the workforce, you work more as a team, and your goals vary. In teaching you have one main goal: student success. I think teaching is more rewarding because the result of your work is learning and growth, and that feels great.


Q: The first year of teaching for anyone is usually challenging. Was your first year a struggle?

A: I have had a lot of people ask me this year, “How’s it going?” I tell them, “It’s challenging.” It’s not something you can prepare for 100 percent.  I don’t think there are enough books or classes that can prepare you for standing in front of a classroom. You don’t know what each day will bring. Things come up that you would never expect. It’s not routine.


I taught juniors and seniors in high school. My biggest challenge the first semester was classroom management. I had really great mentors who came in and observed my classroom and helped me when I needed it. The second semester was a lot easier. You have to find your style and connect with the students.


 Q: What else did you do to succeed?

A: I had a good support system. I had people to talk to, give me advice, and give me ideas to try. I would often reflect on my day and consider how it could have been better.


Q: What qualities do you think a workplace professional ought to have to make a successful transition into the classroom?

A: I struggled with time management in the beginning. You can get overwhelmed just with e-mails. You also need to be flexible. You may go into your classroom prepared for this wonderful lesson, but it may not work out as planned. You have to be flexible and be prepared to change your plans.


Q: Our Career and Technical Education courses are evolving. Last year you taught fashion marketing and sports marketing at Rider and Wichita Falls High School. What will you teach this fall?

A: Yes, we’re getting away from the fashion and sports emphasis of the past years. This year I’ll be teaching Advertising and Sales Promotion, Entrepreneurship, and Principles of Business, Marketing and Finance.