Teacher Preparation Opinion

In What Other Careers Can My Education Degree be Used? (Part 1)

By AAEE — January 24, 2011 2 min read
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I am hesitant to respond to any career changer before determining that there is ample reason for a change, but that is especially true of my interactions with educators who wish to leave the field. First, I know very well that good, experienced teachers are hard to find and for a variety of reasons are all too often harder to keep. I also know how much time and effort goes into the preparation for this profession, regardless of whether it is a four-year degree program in education or an alternative certification program. So, I hate to dissuade anyone from becoming a teacher or continuing in the field.

However, if you are a prospective or current teacher and are having doubts about your chosen profession being the right fit, I do have a few tips to help ensure that changes being considered are in your best interest. I will cover these tips in today’s entry and tackle the actual title question of this blog in Part 2 next week.

The career decision-making process is best done sequentially, and it starts with a thorough look at yourself. There was a reason that you initially chose to be a teacher so you want to start the process by going back to the roots of that decision. Was there ever a passion for the profession, a passion for advancing the knowledge of young people while also guiding their maturation and development? Or did you just “love kids?” Or love the perceived teacher life style? Or love your favorite subject? Or love the significant others in your life who influenced you to be a teacher. Without the overarching passion, those other common reasons are just factors in your decision. If you never had the passion in the first place and you have yet to discover it while teaching, it may indeed be a good time to look at other careers. Before you do, however, please know that passion may have serious obstacles now and again, so don’t mistake a few bad days at school or a bad interaction with a parent, principal, etc., as a lack of passion. Those are temporarily discouraging isolated incidents that can and do happen on any job.

For those of you who had the passion for teaching and now feel as though you may have lost it, you owe it to yourself to assess what has changed? None of us are static beings. We constantly change over our lifetimes and everything around us does, as well. There are many personal and professional occurrences that have a direct impact on your job or career satisfaction, and that is true in any field. In teaching, small factors can be magnified if for no other reason than just the sheer number of stakeholders with whom you come in contact. You need to identify very specifically the reason/s why you have lost the passion to teach. If it has something to do with your personal life, you might wish to examine that issue in more detail before switching careers. More than likely, your personal problems will follow you to another profession and you may find that the career switch was really not an answer.

If it has something to do with your current teaching job, you may just want to switch positions or schools to get a fresh perspective on the field. If those feelings persist at another teaching job, you may have confirmation enough to then switch careers. If, however, nothing about the profession is working for you, tune in next week for advice on making the big career change!!

Curt Schafer
Director of Career Services
Texas State University

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