Life after teaching
May 13, 2022 5:47 PM   Subscribe

I am a UK-trained teacher who is considering leaving the profession within the next two years. Help me figure out my next steps.

If you were a teacher who's successfully changed careers, I'd love to hear more about how you did it and what you now do. How did the finances work out? Alternatively if you have opinions about my next steps, please share.

I have about ten years' teaching experience across all age ranges. The breakdown is about three years of a little academic writing mentoring; a little tutoring of Philosophy first year undergrads; teaching EFL for a couple of years. In 2015, I got a PGCE (Primary) with Teach First (the Teach for America equivalent). Since then, I've worked in London and elsewhere. I've taught KS2, middle school and, briefly, secondary school students. I'm now in a "prestigious" school in my current location and I'm not happy for a number of reasons. I'm trying to figure out what my next steps might be should I decide to make a career change.

Other things I've done: worked as a news reporter for three years; proof-reading and editing; writing information pamphlets. I have a 1st class degree from UCL in Philosophy (not sure if it matters at all), a Celta, and I'm halfway through a Masters in Education (Teaching and Learning). I'm bilingual in Greek and English, have rusty French, and my Spanish is currently B2 but I aim to get it to C2.

Other constraints: because of my spouse's job, we'll be in our current location for about 5 years and then we will probably be in other countries for anything from a few months to several years but I won't know this for a while. So whatever I might end up doing needs to be flexible. It might be worth mentioning that I love teaching but I don't love the workload and the amount of things I have to do that are not teaching-related. Although I might choose to stay in the profession I want to start exploring options now and consider what I need to do to help a future self who wants out. Thank you!
posted by mkdirusername to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A friend of mine left teaching/academia (university level) to write and manage corporate training programs. Many companies have all sorts of training needs. Her first gig was with a construction company, then she moved to an electronic documents company. She uses curriculum design and teaching skills in this way.
posted by moonmoth at 6:04 PM on May 13

Best answer: I also have long experience as a college professor, journalist, and jack-of-all-trades writer. I just left academia to make a career change: I'm now a WFH technical writer. It was a great move. The workload is lighter and the work is enjoyable to me; the hours are flexible; the pay is better; the job security is much greater; and there are TONS of tech writer jobs right now.

I encourage you to look into jobs in technical writing and its sister field, UX writing. Many jobs are remote-only or remote-centric. I was told by more than one interviewer that academic and journalistic skills "port over well" to technical writing -- and, from what I've seen so far, they are correct.

I also agree with moonmouth's idea about curriculum design.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:51 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't advise on what the transition looks like, but a colleague of mine started out as a middle school teacher. She has a master's in education. She was able to transition into the corporate world doing leadership development and coaching. That seems like it could be pretty flexible, in terms of moving around.
posted by amusebuche at 4:29 PM on May 14

Best answer: As a UK teacher that was ready to quit, have you thought about moving to an independent school? I did and it's totally different from the "high performing" secondary school I was in. I'm trusted to get on with my job, if I'm free I can go home, very few behavior problems compared to state schools. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
posted by chr at 11:58 PM on May 14

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your answers.

Following up, what did those first steps into another field look like? I love the idea of getting into technical writing or using curriculum design skills. Do you mind sharing more specifically how that happened for you (or your friends)?

And thank you for your offer chr. I might reach out at some point. To be honest, I choose to be in state schools when I can and I'm not comfortable with the idea of working in independent schools. But maybe I should think about this more if I'm still in the profession when I return to the UK.
posted by mkdirusername at 7:03 AM on May 15

I would be happy to tell you more about my career transition. You're not the first further academic to ask me about it! Can't do it right now, though. Please MeMail me!
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:47 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

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