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JamieHarris comments on Open Thread #39 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: JamieHarris 13 February 2018 04:18:42PM 3 points [-]

There are many important limitations to the direct impact of teaching, that 80,000 hours note in their teaching career review here https://80000hours.org/career-reviews/teaching/

However, after some reflection, I think that this review underestimates some of the potential for impact through teaching, especially in terms of providing opportunities to promote effective altruism.

I have created the document below (which is still a work-in-progress) primarily with the intention of using it to discuss ideas with other teachers, and potentially advise them on opportunities for high-impact activities that they can do. It is quite anecdotal and impressionistic, and is not intended (at least in its current format) to be comprehensive, but more to spark ideas about how to make your impact greatest within a teaching career.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JViIzFzBbepiaoO2x17ubIG0JTHB20HSHOVoSNDSogM/edit

To some extent, it's useful to have being a teacher / social worker / doctor as good examples of where direct impact isn't as important as it might seem, but I still think we need to be fully open and honest about the full range of possibilities that these career paths open.

I'd be grateful if people had a read through the list and share any thoughts / give feedback! Do people agree with the basic premise that teaching and education might be more promising career areas for having a positive impact than have previously been suggested by 80K (and in Doing Good Better etc), especially when used as a platform for EA community building and advocacy? Are there any specifics that people would challenge, or add to?

The goal of this post and discussion is that a) if people here agree, 80K might slightly adjust their advice to reflect these ideas, b) although I don't see it as a priority for my own time, for those who are determined to focus their careers and efforts on education, it might be useful to flesh and out and develop this document with greater evidence, analysis and examples.

Personal background: as a UK-based history teacher who only started reading very much about EA ideas in January 2017 (after completing my PGCE course and teaching professionally for about half a year), reading 80k advice has had a massive effect on how I think about and plan my own career. I am now seeking to work directly for effective animal advocacy organisations. Nevertheless, I believe that working in education has potential for higher impact than has been assumed.