Research notes that many new teachers leave the profession within their first 5 years in the classroom; however, they are not the only ones looking for a change in scenery. Tenured teachers are constantly weighing their options and self-reflecting. Do I want to change grade levels? Subjects? Schools? Districts? or Careers? Do I need to just take a break?
I have had to ask myself these questions many times throughout the years. Even after changing school systems in search of something different, after a few years, I grew unsatisfied. I was ready for something new. One summer, I emailed my principal to inquire about any other job openings at my school. His response,” Are you talking about for you or someone else?” Of course, I was talking about for me. He understood that I was ready for something different, but encouraged me to give it one more year in the classroom and make up my mind that it would be my last.
Rewind a decade prior, I was on the administrative track. I was on all types of leadership committees, taking a few workshops, shadowing and assisting administration with their duties while trying to get a feel for what was to come; however, my first real taste of administration, which occurred a few years back, still wasn’t hitting the spot. There was more paperwork, more parents to appease, more students to discipline, and more teachers to accommodate. However, there was less “me time”, and I felt confined. It wasn’t my thing.
Then, I decided to hone in on another venture that I had overlooked because I was focusing on the administrative route. I realized that instructional leadership was gratifying! In the past, I had been working with my district’s coordinator on refining units, customizing frameworks for teachers, facilitating professional development workshops and trainings; I assumed various teacher leader roles. I had always enjoyed doing it but didn’t realize how this satisfied me. And, it clicked!
Becoming an Instructional Coach, Coordinator, or a similar type of role would put me directly where I wanted to be. I could work with adult learners, have more flexibility, have an impact on students (indirectly), and still be in the field of education. As I continued to sharpen my focus on my next steps, I decided to zoom in on educational consulting. I could create my own schedule, choose my own jobs, work with adults, work from home or in my neighborhood coffee shop, and not feel so confined. This was more of my thing.
Are you looking for a change? Sometimes weighing the pros and cons is necessary to determine your path. Income is the number one reason why people may stay put and not bungee to other job and career paths. But, if you don’t fulfill your desire to do something different, you may look at yourself years later and feel stuck in the same place.
So, sit down and map out your next move. If you feel like you need a change, first figure out if maybe a new subject or grade level will do. Begin diving deeper to determine if maybe a change in school districts may be best for you. Or, if you are looking for a career change, begin looking at your finances, plan everything out and ask, is this doable? You may have to stick to a tight budget and/or change your lifestyle habits. Remember, you may not be saying goodbye to education forever, but rather I’ll be right back!
If you are not content, weigh all options. Sometimes you have to just do it-strategically. As the saying goes, make your next move your best move!
To help you with your decision, use this tool that I have created for you. Click here! Let me know how it goes!