Best Careers for Teachers: Introduction (page 2)

Updated on Aug 12, 2011

Why Do You Really Want to Leave the Classroom?

It is important that you can clearly articulate the reason—to yourself and to others. What specific details and/or examples would you include? How would you explain your decision to your parents, spouse/partner, best friends, or coworkers? How do you think they would respond? How would others' reactions affect your thoughts—if at all?

What Is Missing in the Teaching Experience for You Now?

Can you point to what it is you want but are not currently getting? If you can, is it a single factor or two that, if changed, would keep you in the classroom? Is this change within your power? If so, what can you do to change it. Is it worth the effort?

What Part of Your Teaching Job Brings You the Most Stress or Dissatisfaction?

Is it dealing with parents? Colleagues? The administration? Students? The paperwork? Is it the subject or grade level at which you are teaching? How could you change any of these factors?

Are You Sure You Want to Leave the Traditional Classroom?

What would happen if you could change schools, grades, or subjects? Would that be enough to make teaching in a classroom continue to be your first choice? If the answer is a possible "yes," then pinpoint which area has to change: Can you find another school district to teach in? Which one and why? Can you move up or down a grade? Can you switch subjects? What steps do you need to take in order to make any one of these things happen?

Has This Feeling about Changing Jobs Grown over Time or Is It in Response to a Recent Change?

If your dissatisfaction has been gradually increasing over months and years, it probably is valid. Make sure, however, that it is not a sudden response to a new curriculum, colleague, or administrative change. These factors often require an adjustment period and shouldn't spur you to a life-changing decision without adequate time to acclimate.

If Someone Told You Right Now That You Never Had to Step Inside a Classroom Again, What Would Be Your Initial Reaction?

If you immediately felt relief and a sense of freedom at this thought, it is a strong clue that you are truly ready for a career change. However, if your first response was regret and a profound sense of loss, you need to give this decision more thought and do more soul-searching.

Now that you have asked and answered these questions, you should have a clearer idea of where you stand professionally. Assuming you still want to pursue some type of career change, let's take time to evaluate all the skills and abilities your teaching career has taught you so far. The majority of these talents can be applied to a variety of other jobs—and they look great on the resume you will be constructing by the time you finish this book.

Who Am I?

Let's start with character traits. Some you were born with, some you acquired, and some you had to learn to survive as a teacher. Look at the list below. On a piece of paper, write down the traits that you know you have. On the other side of the paper, list the ones you may not have, but would like to work on developing. No one is looking, so don't worry about being modest. Instead, just be honest.

I Consider Myself to Be

optimistic diplomatic
enthusiastic trustworthy
communicative observant
reliable self-disciplined
punctual energetic
personable detail oriented
organized attentive
committed self-confident
motivational a leader
compassionate resourceful
empathetic a negotiator
flexible tenacious
perceptive open-minded
knowledgeable encouraging
creative friendly
patient a skillful time manager
humorous determined
a team player a good role model
healthy intelligent

How does your list look? Which side is longer? If you gave this list to someone who knows you well, how might it look different? What might they add or delete?

Want to know more about your abilities? Go online and put "aptitude tests" in the search box. You can find some insightful and fun tests. Check out the Career Assessment at or Career Tests at

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