A vocation is a wonderful thing, but what happens when politics or circumstance intervene? That vocation may become difficult, unfulfilling or impossible? Nobody knows how the Trump administration might alter education for teachers in the US. However, teachers there, much like in the UK and elsewhere recognise that schools have been in a state of flux for many years already.
Deciding to leave a career, for a few years, or even forever can be daunting. One option is to simply start viewing that job as just one of several profit centres. In other words, start assuming that the money you earn comes from many places, not just your teacher’s salary. This mind shift will make it easier to start exploring your skills, abilities and even values afresh.
I’ve been counselling teachers contemplating leaving their job for many years. Usually, their first thought is that they can’t do anything else. In every case I’ve come across, this is nonsense. Teachers have university degrees, many years of diverse work experience and generally a fantastic growth mindset. The notion that they can’t do anything else can quickly be vetoed.
The writer and careers mentor, Barbara Winter coined the phrase multiple profit centres in her book, Making a Living without a Job. In it she lists many alternative income sources that teachers could easily consider; private coaching, exam marking, hosting overseas students, writing a book. But even if you don’t see anything to tempt you in this list, I hope it’s set your creative juices flowing. And when you start being creative, you find it hard to stop. Get together with other creative souls (hint, hint, other teachers) and your ideas will multiply.
If you’ve spent many years, thinking that teaching is all you know, then it’s essential that you start small. The ideas I’ve included here are related to education because I strongly believe that something that runs parallel to one’s career will reignite many teachers’ passion for their subject. If you know that just isn’t going to happen then go deeper. What did you play at as a child? If you played shops, then try selling something. What have you always wanted to do? If it’s painting landscapes, then try that. Pursue what you love and the money will follow.
Many teachers will by now be shouting, no time, no time. Keep following my blog, The Breakout Room in the following weeks for some essential ways that teachers can and should free up time in their week.
I work with teachers because teachers are awesome, and it kills me that some of them aren’t happy in their work. Start dipping your toe in the career water and so many parts of your life can begin looking so much better.