Teaching is a profession that invites people from different walks of life. Some people choose it as a career because they felt it to be the only viable career which promises long summer holidays. Others join it for the pure passion and an opportunity to follow one’s life purpose after figuring out their life’s calling.
However there can be hay days and even weeks reflected by bad lessons, lack of professional growth and challenging job portfolio which does not provide enough mental stimulation to nurture your grey matter. If you are one of those who can associate with one of these hay days, where even though you are not burned out but some days felt more like going to work rather than going to school then it is time to reflect about your career transition.
However as exciting it may sound initially it is always prudent to do some homework before taking such drastic steps. The first thing to figure out is what inspires you every day that will make this career change worth giving a shot. If you don’t figure this aspect then definitely your new job won’t guarantee you bouquet of roses that you dreamt of. On the contrary you might feel that your old profession was much better than your current one.
Once you have figured out your area of interest, you need to tailor your resume to not only match the job requirements but also convince employers that you look exactly like the candidate they want. Think of your new resume and cover letters as opportunities to rewrite your story and think about your next chapter. Change the order of your resume so that the most relevant aspect stands out and add specific details to illustrate your qualifications.
So if you’re involved in any projects or volunteering activity that demonstrate your interest in your target career, make sure to highlight them. For example, you can highlight and elaborate your contribution as the school magazine editor if you are interested to join a publishing firm.
Last and not the least, you need to consider the money factor before taking the leap. You need to understand the opportunity cost involved in this step. You need to ensure that your decision makes sense from the financial perspective to not only maintain your standard of living but also flourish financially.
Most people get stuck in the first step as they find it difficult to figure out their area of interest. The immense competition of the cold corporate world may seem like a deterrent for many teachers. Transitioning from classroom to boardroom is not the only option and there are many unique and offbeat opportunities that one can explore. Let us explore some of them in this article.
If you’re a teacher, you might be thinking, Entrepreneur? Who, me? All I’ve ever known is teaching and I am not sure if I can do anything else. Well don’t worry as you have specialized skills that will not make you feel that you are starting from scratch. Your years of classroom teaching can teach you to market yourself, handle clients and deliver high quality work.
Every good lesson that you deliver relies on SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based) objective. A business setting is similar to this where personal and client objectives are the driving factors. You can use objectives in the same way you used them in a classroom, to drive activities and discussions. They are nothing more than goals. Whether it is a financial objective, a project objective, or a new career objective, you’ll need to know where you’re going today, next year, and five years from now.
In a 40-minute lesson, what matters most is that every minute counts. The same applies to clients in a business setting where they won’t show up if you can’t show them the value of their time. Value comes from solving other people’s problems. It’s a combination of identifying needs, providing solutions, and giving a little more than is expected. Whatever industry your business pertains to, your clients are asking the same thing which is ‘value’.
Finally as teachers we are often expected to scaffold complex ideas into easily comprehensible steps so that students don’t feel left out. In business, just like scaffolding a complex lesson, you want to constantly motivate your employees to move forward by making the big picture digestible. So if you have a business concept, startup idea, courage, time, and belief in your karma or whatever it takes to take your first step, then definitely pursue it wholeheartedly.
Are you one of those language teachers who can create ripples of laughter in the classroom by showing the Friends episode where Joey was learning French? Are you one of those teachers who believe that comedy is an integral element of the classroom? If so then it is time to tickle your funny bones outside the school campus.
If storytelling, using humorous anecdotes and witty punch lines happen to be your forte then it is time you should start thinking about trying your hands in comic writing or humour-writing workshops. You can start by posting your own online videos and who knows those might be the ticket to your first stage performance and a fulltime career in standup comedy.
If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives.
– Rob Brown
As teachers don’t we influence and impact our students’ lives? Every great teacher has the potential to facilitate group discussions in a classroom setting of 5 or 50 students and still be calm and professional. Every great teacher can spin a story, use personal examples, humour and other delivery methods to keep learners engaged.
These are nothing but platform skills which are the prerequisites of a successful public speaker. As a speaker you can diversify your avenues by choosing career options like instructional or corporate trainer, counselor, motivator and even a life coach. If you happen to be the faculty advisor of your school’s debating club or train students for Model United Nations conferences then being a professional speaker can be an exciting opportunity to be explored. If nothing else you can enroll yourself in your city’s Toastmasters club. If you want to become a motivational speaker or life coach dealing with areas like leadership, personal development, self – compassion etc then you can opt for a certificate course in neuro – linguistic programming accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth Warren, Dr.APJ. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Eleanor Roosevelt had one thing in common. Before they started their political career they were former teachers or professors. To reach to the top one requires a titanic range of skills and who can deny that the formative years in education sector can be a boon in disguise. A teacher’s boundless energy and calmness during unexpected situations is what it takes to be a great political leader. If you feel you have the caliber of being stoic and indifferent to unwarranted criticism, office politics and even media attacks then getting involved in your local political unit or setting up your own independent political organisation might resonate with your teaching experience.
Are you one of those teachers who find fuel and joy in creative expression? Do you enjoy the therapeutic experience of encouraging your students to write and appreciate their work? Do you have the ability to identify both the creator as well as writer that reside within you? If so then you can allow teaching to be your writing muse. Don’t let this art be just another hobby but you can even commercialise it by being a freelance writer. Start small by writing your own blog or even writing on online platforms like Quora and even on Careerizma if you want to share your skills and knowledge about your work domain. Figure out your niche and opportunities will knock your door. Anyone can be a writer and it does not necessarily mean that you need to be a language arts teacher to be a successful writer.
Apart from being a self proclaimed writer one can also join a publishing firm. There are many publishing firms like Madhuban publications which supply school books and are always in a lookout for teachers who can promote their books to different schools.
At the end let us not forget the humble beginning of JK Rowling who started her career as an English teacher in Portugal. If it wasn’t her journey as a teacher, she would not have made that train ride and Harry Potter would not have been conceived in her thoughts.
School teachers who want a career change but would like to continue in the education sector can become education consultants, working with schools and publishers to develop curricula and educational materials. Consultants do not necessarily need any additional educational qualification to transition from teaching. A master’s degree and classroom experience is enough, although it’s helpful to have experience in an office environment. India has seen a paradigm shift in the education sector which has resulted in a number of companies looking out for schools as their target market. Popular among them happen to be Educomp , Xseed , Next education and many more. These education software companies are in a constant lookout for teachers who can add valuable insight in their sales process by becoming an account manager or a business development manager and can help with their marketing and research and development wing by developing new products.
Teacher recruitment has become a major industry these days. Not only is there a huge demand for domestic teachers but also a huge demand abroad. This can be a golden opportunity for you to partner with schools and organise teacher placements and train new teachers. Some popular recruitment agencies happen to be Search Associates, TIE online, TPG India etc. Apart from this you can act as a liaison officer between schools , parents, university admission officers to advice students about university admissions , training courses and internships by organizing and engaging parent meetings and community forums.
The above list is not an exhaustive list but the tip of an iceberg. Apart from a conventional career path for an educator like becoming an academic coordinator, subject head, principal etc one can explore a gamut of options. I have seen language teachers who were so active in theatre that they gave up their full time career to pursue a full time course in film making to serve in main stream cinema. It is not necessary that you need to be dance teacher to become a professional dancer or a gym instructor to become a model. What matters is your aptitude and your attitude to nurture and pursue your hobbies with single minded devotion. Change is nature and pushing oneself from the realms of one’s comfort zone to face the unknown world is what makes human beings the supreme most species on planet earth. To summarise in Heraclitus’, Greek philosopher, words:
The only thing that is constant in life is change
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