This article is a follow-up to last week’s post titled Why I Resigned from My Teaching Job: It’s Not What You Think
Have you ever thought of leaving your profession to pursue another career or to stay home with your family? If you have, you are not alone. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) reports that nearly fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of veteran teachers who are leaving the profession for various reasons. I shared my story of why I left teaching in my previous post. I was a veteran teacher myself. In fact, this year marks my twenty-fifth year in education. I spent over twenty years working as a classroom teacher, a literacy coach, and a reading specialist. My intent in writing these two articles is not to encourage teachers to leave the profession or to bash the public or private school systems, curricula, or even high-stakes testing.
But if we get real, there are many teachers and administrators who have considered leaving their job. You may be one of them. You may have already resigned or took an early retirement. On the other hand, obstacles such as financial constraints, being a single parent, your family responsibilities, and the practicality of making such a decision are daunting. I understand. I really do, I, too, was a single parent for ten years and did not have any other option other than to work. I am of an age where concerns about retirement and my financial stability are looming. I have one child in college and two little ones to think about.
Throughout my entire career I have loved and enjoyed my different roles in the four schools in which I worked. I didn’t leave my job because I was burned-out and bitter over the current state of education. Was it always easy? Not. at. all. Maybe you do feel jaded and tired and ready for a change. Maybe you are ready to stay home to take care of your children and family. Whatever, the reason, my point in this post is that you do not have to leave the field of education entirely! I have had well-intentioned people tell me what a waste of my experience and degrees it is for me to stay home and out of the classroom. I beg to differ.
There are numerous ways that you can still be involved in changing, influencing, and making a contribution to the young people of today. And with some of these ideas, you do not have to leave your house or get out of your pajamas!
Ways to be Involved and Make an Impact on Education
- Consider contributing to an educational blog (such as The Educator’s Room!) to share your opinions, your expertise, your successes in your classroom. Or, you may even want to start your own blog to share your lesson plans, creative ideas, and to network with others in the profession.
- On-line learning has exploded over the last five years. Consider a part-time or freelance position as an on-line professional development facilitator, a teacher at a cyber-school, or providing on-line tutoring sessions.
- If you ever plan to return to the classroom or school setting, or if you are interested in obtaining any job or volunteer position, keep current on the latest research. Depending on your age and whether you are retiring, consider keeping your teacher certification current as well. I continue to take professional development classes for credit (I take on-line courses and love them!) and have my teaching certificate renewed every five years.
- Make use of all those lessons you have crafted over the years and consider offering them for free or selling them to other teachers and student teachers on an on-line marketplace or from a personal blog.There are many teachers that do so, including me. Yes, the pay can be lucrative, but more importantly, over the last year and a half thousands of my resources have been downloaded and shared in classrooms all over the world. To know that I am making even one teacher’s life easier and that students are benefitting is extremely rewarding.
- Offer private tutoring in your neighborhood or community. You can choose to tutor in your own home or in your students’ homes.
- Volunteer in one of your local schools. You do not have to be a parent of a child in many school systems, although many do require background checks and clearances. You can help teachers by working with students in small groups or one-on-one, helping with bulletin boards, being a guest reader, or with the myriad of tasks such as copying, laminating, compiling and organizing centers, just to name a few.
- Become a teacher mentor and/or a professional development presenter. Some schools are looking for mentors to work with new teachers, in either a paid or volunteer position, and some are on an “as needed” basis. Your ties with your previous schools can open up many opportunities.
So, leaving your job as an educator does not necessarily mean you have to stop having an impact on students, teachers, schools, or the future of education. Teachers are paramount, yes, but so are the other stakeholders in your community of learners. Leaving the classroom? Yes! You can still make a difference!