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It is summer and school is out. Summer vacation is a time for educators to refresh and reflect. As you know, the education profession is not easy peasy. Recently, teachers from Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Kentucky led massive protests through their state capitals. Protests are against low pay, shrinking pensions, working conditions, and more. All of these issues lead to a serious question. Educators, is it time for a career change?
Teacher stress and burnout is prevalent across the United States and worldwide. School districts wonder how to keep teachers and principals from walking away from the profession. Educators are becoming more vocal about their well-being and why they’re willing to leave the field. Many are ready for a career change. Here are a few reasons for their departure.
Low pay and lack of benefits is one reason for a career change. Many teachers work two and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. Many states do not adequately fund public education. Also, some states do not sufficiently support teachers’ pension funds. For many teachers, a raise is hard to come by. Even a cost of living raise is on teachers’ wishlist. Remember, like doctors, teachers must have a degree and state license to practice their craft. Also, let’s talk about how much of their money teachers spend on supplies and resources.
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Another reason for a career change is teachers and school administrators do not feel respected. Many blame teachers for societal ills that they have no control over. Society relegates educators to many things other than educating students. Teachers are nurses, social workers, jack of all trades, disciplinarians, Miss Manners, and sometimes de-facto parents. They are all of these things while teaching kids how to read and do the math.
Unachievable expectations cause stress and burnout. Consequently, educators leave the field and change careers. Politicians and others who’ve never taught set benchmarks and don’t provide the funding and resources to succeed. It’s all about the data and the numbers. It’s rarely about the children and their real needs. It is about standardized tests and school ratings. It’s time to look at more variables such as the social-emotional needs, socio-economics of a community, family structures, class sizes, etc.
Teachers worry about safety issues. Also, they worry about severe behavioral issues and discipline problems of traumatized students. We hear many stories about violence in schools. Whether it’s a rural or urban school district, teachers and administrators must always think safety first. Universities and colleges train educators to teach. A school building must be a safe zone or haven for the students and staff. Teachers do not train as security officers. All teachers only want to teach. When they feel as if they can no longer teach, it’s time for a career change.
Undoubtedly, many will see something that resonates in this post. You cannot take it anymore and are ready for a career change! Before you decide to leave the profession, begin to prepare for new realities! The corporate world is vastly different than the education world. Here are a few helpful tips.
Look at your finances. Do you have money saved for a rainy day? If you don’t have a job lined up, how long can you survive on your savings?
Is your family supportive of your decision to change careers? If you’re single, then you only have one person to answer. However, if you have a spouse and children, you must consider how a career change affects your family.
Prepare for a job search by thinking about your marketable skills. Educators, don’t underestimate yourselves. Your skill set is very high! Think about what you want to do and write a new resume. Network and communicate with anyone who may be able to support your search for a new job.
Be open to other things like pursuing a new degree or trade. For example, one teacher went to truck driving school. She learned to drive a truck, passed the test, and received her license. Now, she is on the road for a major trucking company. Think outside the box and ponder the possibility of relocating.
While losing great teachers is not a good thing, sometimes a career change is good. You can use your degree to become a professional consultant or become a corporate trainer. Becoming an entrepreneur is a great option, too. The possibilities are endless. Whatever you decide, take time to figure out what is best for you.
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