You’ve always thought about teaching. You have a career right now that’s, well, fine, but teaching has always been in the back of your mind. The appeal of teaching is not hard to imagine: teaching makes a difference in kids’ lives. Sounds cliche? It’s not.
But it’s natural to worry about what such a career change can mean for you and your family. It can seem unrealistic or risky. If you want to quit your job to pursue teaching, but you’re afraid of the unknowns, here are a few pieces of advice.
Acknowledge That Your Current Job Doesn’t Bring You Joy
Although many people are reasonably happy in their jobs, many still struggle to find joy and meaning in work. It’s not uncommon to begin a career (or a second or third) and realize a few years later that it’s just not the kind of work that will sustain you over time. Although making a change can seem daunting and scary, the scarier choice is staying in a job that doesn’t bring you happiness.
Find Out What Jobs Are Available in Your Area
One of the biggest fears of career changers is that they’ll spend a year learning to teach and won’t find a job in the spring. It’s a good idea to start researching now what sort of teaching jobs are being advertised in your area. SchoolSpring.com is the place to find out about job postings. Almost every school posts job openings here, and you can receive email alerts straight to your inbox. You can even start the process today by uploading your resume and other job search documents so that you’ll be ready to apply when the right job presents itself.
Your Life and Career Experiences are a Value-Add
Principals tell us all the time that they want teachers who bring rich life and career experience to the classroom. The goal of teaching isn’t to help kids be good at school– it’s to help kids use their minds well and find success in the real-world, and your work in that real world informs your teaching and interactions with your students. Have you travelled? Had a career in the field in which you want to teach? Started your own business? Raised your own children? It’s a boon to schools when teachers have had experiences outside the microcosm of education.
Have Some Experience with Kids
If you have no experience working with students, you might want to consider gaining some experience before you commit to a certification program. Lots of school districts are experiencing substitute teacher shortages, so if you have some flexible time, try subbing. Other possibilities include after school programs, coaching, volunteering in a classroom, summer programs, tutoring, and mentoring. If your work prevents you from taking on any other responsibilities, consider at least taking a day or two off work to observe some classes. Reach out, and I’m happy to give you some suggestions or help make contact at a local school.
Considering a career change naturally produces anxiety. However, with support and information, it’s doable, and possibly even advisable (see above section about joy). But don’t take our word for it. Drop us a line and we can put you in touch with other career changes who took the teaching plunge. Let us know what questions you have about this important decision, and we’re happy to respond.