Veteran educator. Joyful learner. Aspiring Red Teamer.
Transitioning from education into information security has been a blast. Accepted into the SANS Women’s Immersion Academy, I have (at the time of this update) gained my GSEC and GCIH certifications, and am working on my GWAPT. Recently, someone asked me: “If you could go back in time, would you tell yourself to major in computer science instead of art history?” To which I replied, “DEFINITELY.” However, a humanities degree led me down the education path I followed, and I think that teaching made me a better person and a better communicator. I have several superpowers that were keenly honed by my time in the classroom:
1: I can explain things. Really, really well. Give me a 30 minute lead time to learn it myself and I will teach it to you.
2: Endurance. There are many professions that teach you the value of hard work. Teaching (hoo, boy!) is definitely one of them.
3) Give gentle and supportive feedback. Whether I have to tell a student that their ideas are way off base, or tell a parent that their student is struggling, I can find a way to do it in a clear but compassionate way.
4) Receive constructive criticism. Teachers get a lot of it, and I have learned to appreciate it, and use it to better myself.
5) Fail forward. This job requires a growth mindset like few others. (Except, perhaps, hacking. Which may be why I don’t mind spending hours on a single CTF question.)
6) Emotional intelligence. I have become much better at supporting others and helping them believe in themselves. I am great at spotting subtle body language that communicates discomfort, sadness, or anxiety. And I learned how to broach difficult topics and have blunt, caring discussions with people. I consider this the most important thing I have gained from all my years in the classroom, and it has benefited me in all areas of my life.