When people think of teachers, they don’t necessarily think of teachers as project managers, but they should. Teachers and project managers have many overlapping skills that require interpersonal skills, strategic planning, and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

Both teachers and project managers are responsible for overseeing complex tasks that involve factors such as deadlines and cooperating with multiple types of stakeholders. Just as a project manager is in charge of managing various team members and ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goal, a teacher must manage a classroom full of students with diverse learning styles, abilities, and personalities. They also must coordinate with parents, school and district administrators, other teachers, and community members. In both roles, effective communication is crucial, as teachers and project managers must be able to clearly convey instructions and expectations to their team members and stakeholders in order to achieve success.

Reference Contributor: Kenny Eliason from Unsplash

Both teachers and project managers need planning and organization skills. Both roles require extensive preparation before beginning any task, whether it be designing a new lesson or unit plan or creating a project management plan. Teachers must carefully plan their lessons in advance, taking into account factors such as time constraints, the needs of individual students, and the materials required for each activity. Project managers must similarly plan out every detail of a project, from setting milestones and deadlines to managing budgets and resources.

Teachers and project managers must also be skilled at adapting to changing circumstances. Just as a project manager must be able to pivot quickly if a project timeline changes or unexpected issues arise, a teacher must be able to adjust their lesson plans instantly when a student is struggling for any reason or unexpected events occur. Both roles require the ability to think on one’s feet. 

Finally, both teachers and project managers are passionate about their work and committed to achieving success. Teachers are driven by a desire to help their students learn and grow (usually defined by learning targets, goals, or outcomes), while project managers are motivated by the satisfaction of seeing a project come to fruition. Both professions require dedication, hard work, and a willingness to go above and beyond to ensure that their goals are met. Teachers are like project managers in many ways, and recognizing these similarities can help us better appreciate the important work that they do.

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