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Trisha Riche

Trisha Riche’s Journey From Teacher to Instructional Designer

What were you doing before Instructional Design?

I taught pre-K through third grade for 18 years. The last grade I was teaching was kindergarten. 

What made you decide to join Applied Instructional Design Academy (AIDA)? Did you have any hesitation about joining?

Teaching was physically killing me and my doctor said I had to leave because it was not a good place to be. My work life was completely horrendous and unsustainable. September 2021 was when I decided to find other avenues, to find a better life for me because I wasn’t living.

I was losing hair, my hair and skin were dull. I had gained massive weight due to stress. I had zero energy or patience for anything including friends and family. 

Once I decided Instructional Design was for me, I researched many dozens of programs. Financing was a concern. I don’t think any of us have the money. I’m speaking for teachers, but I’m pretty sure we’re all broke. That’s why we need a better job. 

Though nervous about spending that much, I took the leap and joined AIDA. I bet on myself and worked hard! I decided on AIDA due to the support and guidance given throughout while having the freedom to make my timeliness. 

I needed out and wasn’t going back.

What was your experience like in Applied Instructional Design Academy?

I was in the January cohort, and it took me three months to finish the program. It took about two weeks to have that first sample done, but I’m not a normal person, so don’t go by me, please. I needed to get out of this place, but that’s not normal. I didn’t have a lot of revision, so that’s good. It really didn’t take much more time after that to do little things. 

I was still teaching, but I left my work at school and if somebody asked me anything, I enforced boundaries. “My work time is this time to this time,” and I’m like, “I’m keeping my boundaries.” I point blank said that to them that I was not doing it anymore. I left work for the day and literally went and interviewed or I interviewed during my planning periods or on my lunch.

What AIDA provided for me: 

  • 1 on 1 mentorship
  • Amazing peer support, go pod 3! And so many other friends I have made along the way!!!
  • Super quick help when I needed it from peers and mentors
  • Helped me build my portfolio, confidence and knowledge, which got me my current ID job
  • Continued support even while being a working ID
  • Led to my amazing job I have.

The beginning of June is when I got my offer. I didn’t start till the end of June because of the paperwork in corporate. But I got my job within a month of finishing the AIDA program and I finished it super early. My manager said, “I love your portfolio. It was detailed, and it showed that you know how to do what we need you to do.” I guess a lot of people are going in and not having a portfolio.

What are you doing now?

I’m working full time at DaVita Kidney Care on their earning and Development team. I am looking for some side contracts because I have way more free time. I work really fast. My boss will be commenting on something in Rise and I’ll already have fixed it after she just posted the comment. She’s like, “You’re really quick.” I was like, “Yeah, I’d just like to get it done.” It’s definitely a difference you can see. My QAs are always good, which is quality assurance for those who don’t know the corporate terms. But my QAs are always on point, so I’m learning that I’m really good at this and I’m able to help even the senior designers. They’ll ask me for sessions on things like learning objectives and stuff like that.

We get insurance, stock options, 401K match, and my job lets us flex too. So say there’s a day where on Friday I had to go pick up my nephew from school and nobody else could do it. My manager just says to get the hours in when I can. So if you’re gone for an hour, work an hour later and just don’t count it as overtime. She put in my hours for Friday before I even worked the hours. She’s like, “You’re good.” It’s very nice. It’s different. For my birthday weekend, I went to a resort and I just flexed my hours for the four other days and did 40 in those days so I didn’t have to take a PTO day. My manager told me to save my PTO for later and just flex my hours the way I wanted to.

I had an emergency one time. I was at a doctor’s appointment and they dilated my eyes and I was like, “Uh oh, I won’t be able to see for work today. Whoops.” So I had them text my boss and then I called her and told her what happened and she’s like, “It’s fine, take whatever you need.” There’s no issues with it. They’re never like, “Oh, we’re disappointed” or “We’re not going to get this work done because x, y, z.” They don’t do that.

People ask sometimes if I miss having summers off. I worked the majority of my summer and nope, did not miss it. It was completely night and day. With ID, I can get to Friday and not be exhausted and I’m like, “What is this? I worked all week, but it doesn’t feel like it.” It’s kinda weird, good weird, but weird compared to what we’re used to. It’s getting used to something different. But no, I don’t feel like I need an extended break to recover because that’s what summer is. It’s not a summer break, it’s a recovery break and I don’t feel like I need that anymore. 

How has your life changed? 

My salary increase was way more than what I was making at teaching, so within six months, I will have already earned back my AIDA fees from extra pay. Actually, before six months. 

The biggest impact my transition to ID has had is on my health. My health is so much better. I’ve lost a ton of weight and inches and my friends say that my skin is glowing and pretty, and that I look calm and happy. I guess that’s a good thing, right? I seem relaxed and not stressed anymore. And that’s huge because teaching was killing me. I feel like my job is so interactive, but I feel like it’s easy compared to teaching for me. I feel like I have time to breathe in.

Emotionally, transitioning was hard. I felt like I had PTSD from things in education and the way we were treated and stuff like that to get through. I cried several times… and honestly, I still cry sometimes, but cry for a different reason. I can’t believe I’m doing this job with people who care. At my ID job I am treated like a professional, paid way more, given respect, freedom and flexibility. I have a ton more energy, lost weight and I am able to put my health first. Quality time with friends and family. 

If I need to leave, I can leave. If I need to go to an appointment, I can go to an appointment. I don’t have to tell anybody, just block it on my schedule. It’s so different that I get emotional about it, but that’s completely normal. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have transitioned out and it’s just normal because we’re used to that abuse. It’s really abuse. We’re used to the abuse. And so coming out of that, you have to retrain yourself that it’s okay to take breaks. That it’s okay to not be busy every second of the day. And it’s hard. It was hard for a little while, but I’m getting better. I’m getting better at it.

ID and AIDA literally gave me my life back. My friends say I am so much happier, relaxed and my skin and hair glow now. If you have doubts about that, look at the pictures. No filters, just toxic dumpster fire of education removed and ID career through AIDA inserted. They say pictures are worth 1,000 words, so look at mine. 

I loved the kids. That was not the reason why I left the classroom. My nephew just started kindergarten, so I get to go volunteer in his class and go for all the fun things. I get to do the Halloween stuff and the field trips and whatever else, like making fun goodie bags.  I get to be the awesome aunt.  I have the energy to do that now. I would feel guilty if I was teaching to take a day off to go do something else. We would get so much guilt to do things that are normal. I can block off my schedule and go to lunch with friends sometimes in the middle of the day just to break it up because I am a very social person.

I like to be around other people, but I didn’t have the energy to do that as a teacher. I’m able to go after work to eat dinner with friends or hang out with friends or go see my niece and nephew and not feel exhausted. I have the energy to actually be more involved with my friends and family, and not be like, “Oh my God, I’m so tired, I’m ready to go home and go to sleep,”  I never say “No I can’t go because I have no energy to go whatsoever” anymore. I think that’s a huge change. 

I had to figure out how to fill my day too. I’m working out in the morning, drinking more water, being able to stretch throughout the day, going for little walks, putting laundry in, and doing whatever else to keep my body moving and busy. But also, I’m very efficient with my work. I could probably finish stuff way, way too quickly. So I try to stay towards the deadline, but it’s a nice break. It’s needed. At first, it’s hard to adjust to because you’re not used to having that time and you kind of feel guilty for it but it gets easier. 

What a difference a year makes. September 2021 in pic 1 and Setember 2022 in pic 2. I started AIDA in January so why these two pics? Let me tell you why. 

Once I decided Instructional Design was for me, I researched many dozens of programs. I decided on AIDA due to the support and guidance given throughout whil having the freedom to make my timeliness. 

I needed out and wasn’t going back. 

What AIDA provided for me: 

  • 1 on 1 mentorship
  • Amazing peer support, go pod 3! And so many other friends I have made along the way!!!
  • Super quick help when I needed it from peers and mentors
  • Helped me build my portfolio, confidence and knowledge, which got me my current ID job
  • Continued support even while being a working ID
  • Led to my amazing job I have. 

If you have any questions I am happy to answer them. I am an open book!

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