What's Next?
January 28, 2013 6:43 AM   Subscribe

I quit my job teaching. Please help give me suggestions for what I should do next.

For a variety of very good reasons (MeFi mail me if you're curious) I've quit my job teaching in DCPS after a year and a half and I'm not looking to return to a classroom. I need to figure out what to do next and I need to do it fairly quickly; I'm twenty-eight and, while that's not super old, I'm also past the point where I'm willing to try five jobs in three months. I want a good job that works for me and I'd like to stick with it. I'd appreciate any suggestions based on the following criteria (from most to least important):

  • In DC or surrounding area
  • Makes at least $45,000 a year
  • No more school (I have an undergraduate degree in English and a Master's in Teaching Elementary), at least immediately; I'd be willing to go back in a few years if necessary
  • Fairly regularly schedule (I'm fine with the occasional late night or weekend but I'd really prefer a standard work week and daytime hours)
  • Something that lets me use my brain and ideally allows me to work with smart people
  • Not too much talking on the phone (might sound silly but I HATE talking on the phone; in person or via e-mail are fine but phones are bad for me)

    Vague as this is, I think I'd like something with numbers or words or anything that at least lets me think critically/solve problems. If it helps, here are jobs I daydream about (although these might be terrible for me in reality):

  • Plumber (this seems like it would involve a lot of problem solving although I respect I'm probably wrong also obviously I'd need to go back to school)
  • Comedian (I enjoy the craft and writing parts of comedy but I don't know how I'd begin and I'm not really into working my way up from being a production assistant or anything)
  • Speechwriter
  • Database person of some sort
  • Something to do with logistics

    I'd be willing to keep working in education but not as a classroom teacher (something like a math or reading coach would be okay). I feel like this could either be the beginning of a beautiful adventure or a harrowing ordeal. In the interim I'm applying for temp jobs because I do much better with some structure to my day and I really do prefer to work; I am dedicated and smart and I work really hard and I'd like to find somewhere that those things are valued and where I can really contribute to the work. Any suggestions you have for what jobs or fields I should be applying for and/or how to find jobs and break into them would be very VERY much appreciated!
  • posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Work & Money (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
    When I quit teaching, I found a job as an editor. If you're looking to find something soon, and with a degree in English, it might be a idea to look for jobs working in technical editing or writing in a large corporation. No idea what the market's like for that in your area, but I saw lots of ads for technical copywriting and editing.
    posted by SeedStitch at 6:48 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

    You'd almost definitely have to go back to school for it, but computer programming deals with number and is largely about problem solving. I have a psych and english degree and I LOVE being a programmer. It isn't for everyone, but it could be up your alley.
    posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2013

    In DC there are a number of education-related jobs in government institutions. These jobs are listed specifically at www.usajobs.gov (not anywhere else); often the posting period is very short so you'd want to check it often.
    posted by susanvance at 7:02 AM on January 28, 2013

    Healthcare billing can provide the opportunity to crunch data, solve problems, and maybe not talk too much on the phone if you're on the back-end of a large medical practice.
    posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:18 AM on January 28, 2013

    The hours aren't exactly 9-5 but after school tutoring can pay big bucks. Work after school through early evenings Mon-Thurs in the right neighborhood and you'll pull in close to your minimum salary requirements.
    Plus it leaves your whole day before 3pm free to either take classes or chase other career options.

    I've heard from a number of teachers (and former teachers) that one-on-one tutoring is SO much better than classroom teaching and just as rewarding because one-on-one you can make breakthroughs and create a-ha moments much more rapidly.

    Tutors with actual education and experience in teaching, as opposed to college students, is in high demand. The only downside is getting your foot in the door with a family or two that will refer you out to friends and neighbors.
    posted by trivia genius at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

    Some years ago two of my(best) teachers left and opened up a small day care center. It morphed into a successful private school.
    posted by notreally at 7:45 AM on January 28, 2013

    I am not sure if it would meet your salary requirements, but what about becoming a GED tutor?

    You could choose to tutor in a specific arena, like math or reading, and your base set of students would be only those duly motivated enough to pursue a GED in the first place, which suggests possession of abiding intellectual curiosity, the ability to follow through, engagement with critical thinking skills, "stick-to-it-iveness," and all that other fun stuff.

    Bonus: You would get to have a direct, observable influence in ushering your tutees -- many of whom may not otherwise have much to hope or strive for without that certificate -- into college, the workforce, and beyond.
    posted by divined by radio at 8:07 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

    A friend of mine quit teaching last year and has been tutoring. She makes more money and works less hours. Granted, this was for a small private school, not the public school system.
    posted by Folk at 8:08 AM on January 28, 2013

    District Offices have many classified positions that are filled by certificated teachers but do not put you in a classroom of kids. You mentioned databases- every district has a Student Information System database and other instructional software that need a manager or coordinator. You don't need to know SQL to manage the front end.
    New teachers & staff need to be trained in the SIS. The DO has people who have to prepare & file all the myriad reports required for NCLB and related government programs. Someone has to maintain the district & school websites, and these site typically do not have super-complicated layouts. There are parent & immigrant outreach programs that need staff.
    There are deadlines of course, but the hours are stable, you get regular benefits, and you don't take your work home with you.
    posted by TDIpod at 8:13 AM on January 28, 2013

    Scholastic, Pearson, McDougal-Littell, etc. Educational publishers and educational software companies (SMART, etc.) are often looking for certified teachers for various things. With a techish background or abilities, you might be a good candidate for a path digital publishing and the like.
    posted by oflinkey at 9:03 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

    Just a word of warning about educational publishing: it's feast or famine. Be prepared to hunt for a new job ~every 2 years or so. (Bonus: constant job hunting anxiety is like a problem solving exercise that never ends! Wheeee until you get an ulcer...)
    posted by like_a_friend at 1:15 PM on January 28, 2013

    You could check community colleges in the area. Here in the Midwest they are always looking for reading/writing coaches, adjuncts, etc.
    posted by galvanized unicorn at 2:57 PM on January 28, 2013

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