Ironically after three years of teaching English as a second language in the Czech Republic and Spain, moving into the world of PR was the biggest step outside my comfort zone I’d ever taken. I was preparing for one of the biggest adjustments of my life: from the structured routines of lesson planning and teaching timetables, to a workplace and a job where every day really is different and predictability is nowhere to be found.
The key to language teaching is activity: keeping students of all ages and abilities engaged by constantly changing the lesson dynamic. Teamwork followed by independent learning; a test rewarded with a running game; a writing activity that leads to a speaking role-play. Going from the classroom into an office environment and a desk-based role, I wondered how challenging it would be to adjust.
Luckily, as I soon discovered, PR is far from inactive: travelling to client meetings and far-flung events means that it’s certainly not a typical desk job. In fact, from my experience so far of Public Relations so far, there are more similarities between teaching and PR than I’d imagined:
– Forming relationships. In English language teaching and PR alike, I’ve learned that building working relationships with people of different ages, cultures, nationalities and backgrounds underpins everything you do. From teaching grammar to a group of 60-year-old Czech scientists to interviewing female student bricklayers for a press release, striving to find common ground with others and learning from each other is eye-opening and always rewarding.
– Acting on your initiative. Thinking on your feet and being able to adapt anything – an activity or a feature, a plan or a day’s agenda – at a moment’s notice is essential.
– Analysing and questioning everything. The more you asking how something works and how it fits into the bigger picture, be it English grammar or a client’s business, the better-researched and the more colourful your lessons and writing will be.
– Using language for effect. Getting to grips with the rules behind language – how grammar works, the correct tone or register to use for different texts – is invaluable when writing features, press releases and other copy.
– Organisation. Last but not least, I soon learned that being organised is the bedrock of both teaching and PR. Going into a lesson without a plan is just as unthinkable (and terrifying) as the prospect of going into a meeting without an agenda. Making sure everything’s in order beforehand leaves room for flexibility in the moment.
These are only my initial impressions after just over a month of working here at Unsworth Sugden, but it seems teaching and PR are in some ways surprisingly alike. I’ll always love teaching for the opportunities it provides to travel and meet new people; but from what I can tell, PR can open just as many doors.
If you are currently searching for a role within PR, with or without experience in the PR field, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and transferable skills that can be used within one of our upcoming PR roles.