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Life After Teaching

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Recently, Joyce from Massachusetts posted this question on the Education Week Top School Jobs Career Corner blog. I would like to address her question as my blog entry this week.

Teaching was a second career for me, so when I retired, I did not get as large a pension as a 30-year teacher. Therefore, I still need to work. I taught 4th and 5th grade for 18 years in public schools. Now I'd like to do something else, but am not sure what that is. I have a Masters in Elementary Education, and have some supervisory/mentoring experience. Aside from tutoring, do you know of other types of positions I might be qualified to apply for? If so, how do I find these positions?

Many teachers and former teachers may be asking the same question. Second and third careers are not uncommon, and as long as you are able and willing to continue working, there are any number options.

When making a career change, it is always important to assess your talents, interests, and values. Teaching requires the development of many transferrable skills. To help you begin your personal skills assessment, here is a partial list of relevant teacher responsibilities:

• Prepare and present information in a logical and accessible fashion
• Alter information to improve delivery (sometimes on-the-spot)
• Engage and motivate a spectrum of learners
• Meet the needs of a diverse population including students, parents, faculty, staff and administration
• Understand and adhere to state, federal and district regulations, guidelines and legislation
• Organize and maintain multiple/various accurate and defendable records
• Develop a keen sense of intuition and act on instincts
• Assume responsibility for the safety and well-being of a group of people
• Keep current on occupational trends and information
• Foster relationships of trust and maintain confidentiality
• Conduct research using multiple source modalities
• Work autonomously as a leader and interact successfully as a team member

I was a classroom teacher for 15 years, and about 10 years ago I chose to change career paths. Higher education and student services seemed to be a good match for my skills and interests, and a Masters degree is beneficial in a staff position on a college or university campus. It has been an excellent choice, and I love my job.

A friend of mine who retired from teaching is working as an Academic consultant for a major textbook publisher in curriculum design and instructional research.

Another associate is employed as a recreational therapist in an adult community of active seniors. She is responsible for planning events and activities such as classes, lectures, field trips and dances. Her daughter, who was also a teacher, wrote and was awarded a grant to begin an anti-bullying program that is presented in schools across the state.

I hope this helps and inspires you to investigate and/or create opportunities that will be a satisfying new chapter in your life's work.

For more suggestions, there is an excellent list prepared by the Career Services planning staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville at this internet address.
http://career.utk.edu/wcidwtm/wcidwtm.php

--Kathy Kinney,

Career Center Director,

Dixie State College, St. George, UT

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