1 minute and 15-second read
We need programs that help teachers find jobs outside of education.
These types of programs exist for ex-military, military wives, reformed criminals, single mothers, and almost any group that you can think of that needs support upskilling, entering or reentering the modern workforce, or pivoting into more relevant and fulfilling (and lucrative) careers.
This doesn’t exist for teachers.
I’ve been able to get an insider's look at this problem:
My wife taught 1st and 2nd grade for 8 years in public, charter, and private school settings. She left teaching when she was 6 months pregnant with our son. Now that our son is getting older, she’s been exploring re-entering the workforce. The thing is, her drive to be a teacher is gone and she’s found herself struggling to find new ways to contribute professionally.
Here’s why this problem exists. (It’s more complex than you might think.):
If you get into teaching, your career path points in only one direction: Teaching. You self-identify as a teacher, and the world around you labels you as a teacher. And not just while you’re teaching, but for always.
This is one of the rare professions where both the professional themselves and the outside world together build a box that’s constructed of limiting self-beliefs and a set of skills and experiences that are not seen as transferable and valuable to other professions or industries.
Therefore, if you leave teaching, your options are none. At least that’s how it feels as an educator (current or former). You’ve been told (by yourself and by the professional world) that you are qualified to do one thing and one thing only—teach.
So what do you do? Nobody recruits people with teaching backgrounds. This isn’t a topic that’s being actively discussed. It’s as if current and former teachers are invisible talent pools without any signal that they are useful outside of the classroom.
The thing with teachers is that we applaud them with our words and devalue them with our actions.
1. We need to acknowledge that this problem exists.
2. We need to provide opportunity and upward mobility to teachers who’ve reached a point in their careers where they have new interests, new passions, and no longer want to work in the classroom.
Otherwise, we’re left with the current model: talented people leave this profession and are unable to transfer their skill set, or, they stay in a career that they no longer want to be in simply because there’s nowhere else for them to go.
Enjoying this newsletter? Tell your peers and coworkers. Share this link around in Slack.