Where can a disillusioned teacher start looking for something else?

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Apple Shaped Cookies
I have been teaching for almost 10 years. I’ve taught in three countries, and in several counties in my home state. Though I love working with kids, I find the teaching profession itself has changed and twisted so much over the past few decades that I no longer have the drive and interest to work within the system.

If it was just me, I would cut my losses, and go back to into retail. However, I am the primary bread winner of our family, and I have a husband, a baby, a dog, and a mortgage to consider. We are already scraping by as it is, and any decrease in my pay would mean the loss of our home.

I have no idea where I could possibly start to look that would allow me to make a career change in my mid-thirties, but that would not set my family back after all the gains we’ve fought so hard for. Does anyone have any suggestions for where a disillusioned teacher can start looking for something else? -Bre

We’ve talked about how to transition from retail to a full-time career, but how do you go from a full-time career to something less-intense?

Comments on Where can a disillusioned teacher start looking for something else?

  1. Start or join a micro-school. If you still love teaching but can’t stand the system, find like-minded families who want you to teach their kids.

  2. Are there any opportunities in teacher advocacy work in your area? In my area, there are opportunities in community/school organizing and advocacy, working with a teachers’ union, and various nonprofits/foundations that support our (pathetically underfunded) schools. Not only would your knowledge of the education system and teaching be super transferable, but you’d also get to do work that improves the working environment for your fellow and future teachers.

  3. If you like animals, the pet service industry is amazing. I started my own dog walking company last year and am on budget to make 5k next month. I am starting to interview walkers so that I can continue to expand, owners typically take 25-50% of their walker’s revenue. With 3-4 walkers on the team I could be pulling in 6 figures consistently within the year. But the best thing is I love working with my furry friends, being my own boss, and how physically fit I have become.

    Downsides? It does take a few months to build a client base (but you could start advertising a month or two before school gets out!) and of course, you would have to pay for your own health insurance if your hubby doesn’t have it.

  4. If you want a similar population but need a out of schools, research Recreation Therapy perhaps? It’s a very rewarding, fulfilling career for many. I have education/work in this field. This would require returning to school for more education…but perhaps you could research organizations nearby that offer this, and approach them about job opportunities that they might have for a teacher. They work with a very interdisciplinary model, and often engage people of all sorts of backgrounds in their work.

    Another option, more of a shift, would be to work with an organization that works with newcomers to your city/country, teaching practical skills/English/etc, and helping them enroll children in education/special programming if they have needs etc etc.

  5. The most important thing my MAT taught me is that I don’t want to be a teacher. I wish desperately that I had gone into social work, and I think I might eventually get my second master’s in it. In the meantime, when I choose to go pursue a career after my second kid cookin here, I’m going to go into youth development. There are many things you can do in this nebulous field, and my eye is on working with college freshmen of color, low SES backgrounds, et al. to help them stay in college. I also applied to a position advising kids leaving the foster system in career and education, as well as a position as a college advisor at an alternative high school. Obviously my focus is on graduation and college, but there are other positions with different age groups that are in and around education, but not teaching. For most of these jobs, a teaching degree will totally work, so you don’t have to worry immediately about another degree.

  6. I stopped teaching and wasn’t sure where to turn either. I found my calling with the Extension and Outreach. Each state has one. I live in Iowa, so I worked for Iowa State Extension and Outreach. I worked as a program coordinator creating after-school 4-H programs for youth. I worked with schools to create these programs, but I didn’t have all the bureaucracy of public education. I got to work with kids in a hands-on experiential learning way. I also really liked substitute teaching. If you live near enough schools it works out well and you can decide what grades you want to teach and if you want to teach that day. A lot of teachers would “Let me know if there was an opening” because they thought I was patiently waiting for a job, but I didn’t want to go back. Subbing is much more enjoyable.

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