The Education Field Needs People Like You: 6 Ways You Can Spread Your Impact

Students at the Boston Children's Museum

Strong societies are built on the foundation of educated citizens. Research shows that dollars invested in early childhood education pay off over and over throughout a lifetime. And when education fails students, society pays the price.

Everyone deserves to have access to quality education to help set them up for success in life—no matter what! This is something you believe with all your heart. You’re interested, you’re passionate, and you’re not willing to look the other way when it comes to something as critical as education for all.

Lucky for you, you don’t need a teaching license to leave a lasting impact in the education field. Everyday people like yourself can make a world of difference in the classroom, too.

But how can you get involved? Keep reading to hear from the experts about what you can do to help students near and far experience the power of education.

6 actionable ways to amplify your impact in the education field

1. Donate what you can to schools in need

You may have some school supplies, old musical instruments or even seemingly useless items sitting around the house that could be utilized in an art class. Schools can always use items you no longer need, and your financial support is always appreciated. Whether you’re providing money or supplies for students or teachers, your donations will go far and are deeply appreciated.

“Write a letter to your local principals to thank them for their service. Include gift cards to share with their staff as incentives for going the extra mile,” suggests Scott Ertl, longtime school counselor in North Carolina. “Consider donating towards teachers’ fundraisers through Donors Choose, Adopt A Classroom or Go Fund Me.”

2. Support programs at risk of budget cuts

Spread your impact in the education field by providing your support to the school programs that need it most. Whether your passion is in music, arts, or other subjects, help maintain programs that could use some extra support in an age of harsh budget cuts and evolving classroom priorities.

Get familiar with the real benefits of whatever programs strike a chord in your heart. For example, arts education has been known to help level the playing field between students of varying economic status, yet rising pressures over test scores are pulling students away from creative curriculums.

Whether donating your time, talent or supplies or advocating to education boards and elected officials, programs in need of your support will appreciate your efforts.

3. Be an active and positive presence in local schools

Maybe what you have to give isn’t material. It could be your time, expertise or friendly presence at a school in your community. Donating your time to extracurriculars and tutoring or assisting school administration goes a long way to help institutions meet the demands of their student body. Check out these ideas from experts on how to contribute to local schools.Volunteer Helping Kids Draw

“Volunteer to read or tutor a child who is struggling to learn and needs some one-on-one assistance,” Ertl suggests. “Contact the school principal or counselor to facilitate the opportunity to help out for 30 minutes once a week. It could make a huge difference for that child and can sometimes influence whether they pass or not.”

“Have lunch with students at local schools if you’re available during the day,” suggests educational consultant Teru Clavel. “Chaperone field trips and dances. Or offer to be a guest speaker in the classroom.”

“You can help with the school’s website or newsletter, organize events and excursions, help them plant a tree in the school garden, teach a foreign language or coding in the classroom, invite students to your workplace so they can learn about a new industry, join committees, or become a member of the school’s board of directors,” offers Gregory Golinski of The Edge Prep.

You may also consider serving as a school crossing guard, cafeteria monitor, or a recess facilitator who gets students involved in organized games and sports, suggests Ertl. The opportunities to help come in many shapes and sizes. Everyone has the ability to volunteer and make an impact in young lives.

4. Ask a principal how you can help

No one will come knocking at your door asking for your assistance. If you’re serious about making a difference in the education field, you’ll need to initiate conversations to begin making an impact.

“Call or email your local school principal and ask them what they need. Every school has different and specific needs to reach their population,” says Bethany Todd of e.Merging Education Consulting and former teacher. “When people come together to identify and meet these specific needs, real change occurs.”

“Contact the principal, ask for a tour, and offer to be a business partner where you can assist in needed funding opportunities, volunteer openings, and brainstorming sessions to contribute your expertise for creative problem-solving,” Ertl says.

5. Reach out to school boards and elected officials

Don’t stop at contacting local principals. Extend your reach to elected officials and board members to leverage more influence in the education field.

“Contact elected representatives, Board of Education members, and administrators to express both concerns and compliments,” Clavel suggests. “Inform yourself on how the Every Student Succeeds Act will be deployed and impact local districts.” She adds that running yourself for an elected position on the school board will also allow you to help facilitate change on a larger scale.

“Those who want to support education should learn more about local decision-making. If you haven’t attended a meeting of your local Board of Education or council, you should,” recommends Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, executive director of Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools. She goes on to say that at a minimum, there are often Facebook groups you can join to stay informed about education meetings that might be relevant to you.

“Taking part in rallies, writing letters, forming an awareness group, or simply engaging on a grassroots levels can snowball into a large-scale, impactful, united front,” says Dailisha Eve Rodriguez of Hey There Beautiful Inc. “Don’t give up and always have the best interests of the local children at heart.”

6. Go back to school yourself

teacher working with studentAnother way you can spread your impact in the education field is through building up your own arsenal of skills by going back to school yourself. The education field is expansive and includes many facets that are critical to the success of students. Each of these areas offers career opportunities for those called to serve at a professional level.

One option is to become a teacher and head up your own classroom. But there are other roles within schools too, including librarians, counselors, speech therapists, afterschool program coordinators, and coaches. School administrators, principals, and superintendents comprise the administrative side of academia. But there are also lesser-known roles like instructional coordinators and educational consultants that shape curriculums and growing minds alike.

Whether inspired to lead a classroom or work in educational planning and policy, there are plenty of options for those truly dedicated to improving the education field from the inside out. The only question is which path will you take?

Take education into your own hands

You’ve been called to help improve the school system for all students, to leave your mark in education for generations to come. It’s time to put that passion to work.

Whether at the head of the class or behind the scenes, there’s a place in the education field for you. If you’re up for the challenge and rewards of a teaching career, learn about 6 Ways a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Can Benefit Your Classroom. If you’d prefer to make your impact in a different way, learn more about 7 Careers in Education You Won’t Find in a Classroom.