One of the most common questions I heard from teachers during my career in education was “Well, what else can I do?” Most teachers have a degree (whether it’s a bachelor’s or master’s) in education, which leaves them feeling limited regarding what they can do if they suddenly realize (after a year, two years, or even a decade) that teaching isn’t for them.
Most teachers don’t think about the ways in which their skills and day-to-day activities translate into other fields or positions. If you think about it though, what do teachers do? They constantly engage in aspects of customer service; not only do teachers instruct students and try to meet their individual needs, they also are a part of a “business” that requires a lot of extra work outside of the actual teaching they do every day (hall duty, attendance records, dealing with administration), and must engage with a completely different set of customers than their students – the parents! The parents and administrators must be kept happy, and, if a teacher really wants to be successful, they should find a way to keep the students “happy” (though “happy” in education might just mean engaged).
What else do teachers do? They plan, they coordinate, they manage projects, problem solve, engage in emotional and physical triage at times, supervise, mentor, and of course, educate. Many of the skills teachers demonstrate translate into customer service, human resources, or project management positions. They can also translate into counseling positions, though obviously not ones that require a certification, or mental health workers or advocates. The careful attention to details, the aggregation of data, and the implementation of programs based on that data, can also translate well into various positions in the business world.
Teachers aren’t “just” teachers – they do not just walk in and instruct students and leave; they are required to wear many hats, and sometimes they must wear them simultaneously (which shows that they’re great at time management and prioritizing tasks). If a teacher wants, or needs, to leave education, they should look at the tasks or projects they complete on a regular basis, identify which are most enjoyable for them (as well as ones at which they excel) and look for a career that allows them to pursue those interests. There are always other options – even for those who think they are “just” teachers!
Here at Haley Marketing Group, we have several employees who are former teachers! Our positions range from client support services to social media advisors and sales representatives! As a support specialist, I use the skills I refined during my years in education on a regular basis; my customer service skills, planning and managing skills, as well as attention to detail and implementation of programs based on data have been a huge help as I have moved into this position. As I become more comfortable in this position and move forward in the marketing world, I am sure that the skills I developed as a teacher will become even more useful.