A noble profession but often a thankless job, teaching as a career has always been reserved for those with endless patience, a certain selflessness, and a heart for service. However, even teachers are human. Given the ever-growing list of additional responsibilities they have to take on in addition to molding the minds of the nation’s youth, it comes as no surprise that many teachers are rethinking their career paths and considering alternative jobs.
A staggering 55% of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned, according to a National Education Association (NEA) survey of its members. For many teachers, stress, burnout, and having to spend much more time on administrative or co-curricular tasks rather than focusing on their students (the main reason why they originally entered the profession) are key contributors to their desire to leave their jobs. Coupled with navigating the pandemic and having to adapt to new challenges such as teaching online in the past two years, more teachers are choosing to seek out alternative jobs for educators.
In looking for alternative careers for teachers, they are prioritizing jobs that are more flexible than teaching yet also rewarding and fulfilling. Other careers for teachers also include jobs where they can put their skills to use and make a decent living without as much stress or feeling overworked.
If you are looking for other jobs teachers can do, do not fret – there are options!
We’re sharing a 5-step process on how to find the best alternative jobs for teachers!
Step 1: List Out Skills & Preferences
As a teacher, you may feel like the only jobs teachers can do are ones related to teaching. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Teachers have plenty of transferable skills – the trick is identifying them and seeing how they fit in new contexts.
Start by mapping out the skills you learned from teaching. Apart from your magical ability to decipher illegible handwriting, think about what skills you have acquired that allowed you to excel as an educator. Things like time management, effective communication, organization, creativity, and problem-solving are all valuable skills that any organization would love for their employees to have! You can also take this time to list out what you enjoyed and disliked about your job. This list can help generate ideas for alternative jobs with a teaching degree.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Desires
If you are looking into careers for former teachers, it can be worthwhile to also evaluate your own desires for your new job. Apart from the usual criteria like salary, benefits, and work schedule, it can be helpful to think about what else you want from a new job.
How much interaction with people would you like in your new role? What about job flexibility, whether that’s working from home or keeping flexible hours? What are the values that are non-negotiable in a company you work for? What kind of company culture do you thrive in? Are you looking for opportunities for promotion or career development, or do you have certain goals for your new career path?
These are all helpful questions to consider as you are exploring other jobs for teachers as they will help you get clear on what you want going forward.
Step 3: Build Connections
Feel like you’re all alone looking for alternative jobs for teachers? Sure, it can feel that way especially if you are still within the school setting but the truth is, there are lots of other teachers and former teachers who are looking for new jobs or have moved on from teaching as a career. All you have to do is find them. An easy place to start is LinkedIn.
Create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one already and start building your connections. Reach out to people who have a similar profile or who work in education-adjacent industries and introduce yourself. Engage with content other people have posted and start your own conversations. Building connections with others is an excellent way to find out more about what opportunities are available for transitioning teachers and may even open your eyes up to new possibilities you hadn’t considered.
Pro Tip: Use #TransitioningTeachers to find and connect with other people like yourself – they may have some helpful advice or ideas on jobs for former teachers!
Step 4: Tap into Your Network
“Know where you want to go and make sure the right people know about it.” – Meredith Mahoney
Your network is a valuable source of leads and opportunities, so be sure to tap into it! Once you have some ideas about the kinds of jobs or industries you’re interested in, turn to your network for help. Think about who in your network has relevant connections or could put you in touch with someone you could speak to and reach out to them. Set up informational interviews to learn more about the roles or industries you are keen on – don’t be surprised if some of these interviews turn into real leads for job interviews! You’ll create more opportunities by talking to people about your career transition.
Even if you’re on the fence about what your next career move is going to be, start telling your friends and family that you are considering a career transition. You may be surprised at the amount of support you receive! Additionally, the more people you inform that you are looking at a career transition, the more ears and eyes you have out there looking for opportunities suitable for you to send them your way.
Step 5: Engage with Your Community
What better way to find alternative jobs for teachers than by engaging with the community? For example, you may be convinced that your new ideal career is to become an analyst at a Fortune 500 company, but speaking with an actual analyst at a Fortune 500 company could change your mind. It is a wise move to involve yourself in the community or industry you are interested in before jumping in and committing to a new job there.
Attend meetups organized by industry partners. Join local and virtual communities for professionals from the industry. Even listening to podcasts by industry experts or insiders can provide you with a clearer idea about what might be a good fit for you as a teacher searching for an alternative job. This will also help you get familiar with industry terminology and provide valuable context that can give you a leg up in job interviews.
If you are feeling like your teaching career is drawing to an end and you are eager to explore new career opportunities, these five steps can help you get started in finding and landing your next dream job. Finding alternative jobs for teachers doesn’t have to be hard – with a little patience, clarity, and networking, you could be on your way to a new career.
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