- Why do teachers change careers?
- What is a good career change for teachers?
- How do I change careers after teaching?
Teaching is one of the most demanding professions, and it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. In addition to being a popular route for lots of graduates in the UK, it’s also the profession with one of the highest turnover rates.
Early-career teachers have very low retention rates – in 2019, just two-thirds (67%) remained in the profession 5 years after they joined. It’s not too late! We’re here to talk about the best jobs for teachers changing careers.
Why do teachers change careers?
Are you thinking about quitting teaching? If so, remember that you’re not alone. The latest government data on teacher retention figures (from 2019) tells us that about one in six teachers quit the profession a year into qualifying. The high drop-out rate of early career teachers is telling us that attempts to tackle teacher workload (one of the key obstacles to retention!) are failing.
Furthermore, some teachers are not only quitting early but failing to be supported in the early stages of their careers. Schools are reliant on new entrants and teaching is becoming an increasingly younger workforce.
But it’s important to remember that most schools are there to support teachers, and there are plenty of teachers who stay in the profession a very long time feeling a sense of purpose. For lots of teachers leaving the profession, the pandemic might have made them realise that they’d like to work a little bit more freelance, unrestricted by the rigid school timetable.
Before reading on, you’ll know why the job doesn’t feel quite right, but let us outline some of the reasons teachers are considering a career change.
A stressful job can wear a person out very quickly, and the bottom line is that teaching is tiring. Not only physically demanding (often walking between classrooms all day unless you’re lucky enough to have your own) for example from standing and actively teaching from the front of the room, but certainly emotionally, too.
Academically, young people all have wide-ranging needs, each requiring a different set of strategies to be able to support them to make progress. Pastorally, there are even more! It can be incredibly emotionally demanding to take on their problems, and harder to detach.
With the growing demands of the curriculum, exams, marking, data, management, and more, as well as just being a good teacher, some early career teachers as well as those who have been in the profession long-term, find it too hard to cope and look for greener pastures.
- Lack of support
Teaching is a valuable profession that requires all the same continued professional development and support as any other respected career. Lots of teachers find that they aren’t supported by their senior management at work and this leads to a lack of motivation, let alone struggle.
Furthermore, teachers seek a career change so that they might be able to leave having a manager behind so that they can go freelance. With there being over two million freelancers in the UK right now, and the possibility of working from anywhere more of a possibility after the pandemic, teachers are wanting a shift in the power structure.
Tutors at GoStudent for example, work at their own time and pace by tutoring from home, reclaiming their love of working creatively with children.
The pandemic also highlighted the extremely fast pace at which teachers work in the UK. Because of the workload, and the huge number of decisions and micro-decisions made every single day, there aren’t enough hours to be able to complete everything to a high standard! Some teachers are seeking a slower pace of life in a career change.
It might mean fewer holidays, but teachers are leaving the profession due to wanting to be spread a bit less thinly, and to better their relationships in their lives by being more consistently available to those around them.
What is a good career change for teachers?
The model of entering your career at 21 and then retiring 40 or 50 years later is a little outdated, and not akin to the changing working habits of the working world in 2022.
It might be a time for a refresh, and to think about how your new set of skills and interests could turn into your next career move!
The government recognises the extent of the teacher retention problem and has launched an early career framework to help support new teachers to stay in the classroom through training and development opportunities. Still not convinced it’s the right career for you? There are several new opportunities available.
Teachers come with an incredible skill set due to being rigorously trained and having experience working in a challenging, fast-paced environment with young people and adults. You’ve built up skills in three key areas:
Resilience, problem-solving, creative thinking, public speaking, good communication
Understanding of inclusive practice, team-player, community-led values, interest in working with young people
Meets deadlines, can work at pace, goal-oriented thinking, time management, concise decision-making
All of this = a very hirable candidate for a new career!
So what are the best jobs for teachers changing careers? Depending on your experience before teaching, as well as your talents and interests, these are some popular areas for a career change for teachers.
Due to their creative spirits and knowledge of what children need, some of the UK’s best writers were teachers first (Think: Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, or JK Rowling).
Know you’re a teacher with a flair for the written word and not sure how to use it? There are loads of ways to use your talent, from traditional fiction writing to copywriting to educational-content creation. You can start small with a blog, and certainly make a living by making writing your full-time career.
Remember to take your development as a writer as seriously as your development as a teacher, and consider taking short courses to improve before you give up any teaching jobs.
Teachers who seek a career change often do so reluctantly; they feel a sense of purpose in the classroom and in working with young people, just unsupported to do so. Want to leave traditional teaching but still support students to achieve academic success? Tutoring might be for you! It will allow you as a valuable professional to focus on working one-to-one with students again.
You also have the freedom to choose your hours and rates, as well as your location, whether that be at home, in an office, in the homes of your students, or even in a public place.
Feeling trapped by the routine and of being in one place? Remember with GoStudent, there are also huge opportunities to be able to go remote and teach abroad. You can teach from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection! Plus, you can set your schedule and work hours that suit you (more time for travel and fun!).
- Educational liaison
Teachers are some of the best organisers and greatest (and most patient!) communicators. This could be a great role for you if you have lots of knowledge and experience to share from teaching and want to continue being involved in improving education and changing students’ lives.
Educational liaison workers work in a range of capacities; from university entry to helping train other teachers to learn how to teach. Quite often it’s about finding the right university or company (like Teach First) and going from there.
- Event planners
Want a complete career change for teachers? Event planners are creative souls who organise and coordinate all aspects of events, such as weddings, meetings, and conventions. They need excellent organisation and communication skills, as well as creativity and the ability to budget.
Remember that no formal qualifications are required, but your PGCE (your teaching qualification) could make you attractive to potential clients as it shows you’ve worked extremely hard and can think critically. This is also another career where you could go freelance and work remotely.
- Learning development
Learning development describes work with students and staff to develop academic practices, with the main focus on students developing academic practices in higher education. Want to have a hand at changing the face of education, but not necessarily in the classroom? Teachers are sought-after professionals within the world of learning development.
Take, for example, Cambridge Assessment, which develops qualifications, textbooks, and exam materials for students all around the world. They’ll want your keen educational eye, but also will support you in developing your skills in other areas like budgeting. You can even work remotely.
How do I change careers after teaching?
Want a career change for teachers and not sure where to start? As with any career change, follow these steps carefully before making any big moves.
- Evaluate your current job satisfaction by keeping a journal for 3-6 months to assess how you truly feel about work (are your dissatisfactions to do with your role, your school, or the profession as a whole?)
- Prepare your CV and detailed, thorough notes on your skill set, experience, and values (this includes reviewing any past work you did before teaching)
- Research alternative career paths online or through reading, but also consider shadowing friends in other jobs, to get an idea of the world outside teaching
- Speak to a trusted mentor at work about how to transition out of your job, and seek support in finding alternatives in new industries
- Search up job options on websites like Indeed to see what’s out there, and read through the skillset requirements for new jobs that you come across that interest you (remember, you don’t need to be able to do everything!)
- Begin to match up your skills with jobs that interest you (or, if you can financially, consider going part-time or taking a sabbatical to be able to figure it out or even travel) and make an action plan
Here at GoStudent, we wish you the best of luck with any career moves you’ll make next! Remember that you can always register with us as a tutor and share your excellent teaching skills as you start to make your next move. Register with us, here.