Since setting up Mrs Mactivity I’ve had quite a few messages from other teachers asking me about my change in career and asking for ideas for alternative jobs to teaching. Giving up teaching was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. I loved being with children and can honestly say they gave me joy every single day. Yes there were hard days when I was tired or run down or had startings of flu, and I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through the day. There were kids I think I probably failed, especially in the early days, and I am definitely haunted by the memory of that. But there were plenty of kids that I helped, inspired and championed and hopefully they will remember me in a positive way. Really as an educator that’s the best compliment anyone can pay you.
Why I gave up teaching
But over time I decided that although I loved aspects of the job – the bits that I didn’t like were starting to weigh me down – and all around me I could see other teachers massively struggling to cope. So I decided to take a risk. I decided to throw in the towel – maybe not forever – and do what I could to help teachers and teaching assistants who are in the same position I was once in and set up Mrs Mactivity! The site also aims to help parents with home learning – since the educational bar has been raised I have lost count of the number of friends of mine panicking about their child’s progress and asking where they can turn to for help. If I can give them a helping hand and also hopefully reassure them that all will be ok – then I’m happy!
Alternative careers for teachers
Anyway, back to the subject matter – I realise that a lot of teachers are not in the fortunate position I am in – and can’t live off thin air. Believe me I’ve done plenty of research into alternative jobs – and there are more than you think. Obviously I’m not encouraging everyone to leave teaching – it’s definitely worth trying a different school before you pack it in. But there are alternatives out there if you are totally fed up. Companies are desperate to know what teachers think – you’d be surprised! Anyway here are some ideas:-
- Go along to education trade shows like BETT and the Education Show. There are thousands of exhibitors with companies aimed at helping teachers – a lot of them are teachers themselves and always looking to recruit. Find the key person to chat to, show your passion and try to make an impression. Take business cards to hand out with your specialism on e.g. EYFS, Science, PSHCE etc. Ask for business cards and follow up with an email. Networking is key.
- There are quite a lot of educational marketing companies like Hopscotch and National Schools Partnership that regularly recruit teachers. Look at their vacancies pages but if you don’t see anything – don’t panic. Just send them an email stating your skills and what you could bring to the company. Don’t be put off by a rejection – keep trying!
- A bit of a longer term goal – but set up a teaching blog based on your special interest, general thoughts and musings or something you believe is a niche that people will be interested in hearing more about. The likes of Grammarsaurus, Literacy Shed and ICT with Mr P all started with websites and blogs that people were interested in – these guys now all offer training and run workshops all over the country. There are other teacher bloggers that also write books or become endorsed by the likes of TES. Get yourself a free website from WordPress and get a twitter account – join in twitter chats like #ukedchat and see what’s going down! Might be best to do this anonymously, just be mindful of how your SLT might feel if they find out.
- Check out educational publishers like Harper Collins, Hodder as well as companies like RM, YPO, TTS etc and see what vacancies they have – obviously it needs to work for your location – but there are always work from home options for the right person.
- Training – lots of large companies have training departments and it’s actually a more difficult skill than you might think if you’re not used to it. As a teacher, teaching adults will be a doddle compared to controlling kids all day (maybe…).
- Become a PGCE tutor – check out the job pages of your local universities – usually they require an MA or evidence of working towards one.
- If you like Early Years, there is money and job satisfaction to be got from setting up classes for babies and toddlers – messy play, rhythm and rhyme, singing – and if you’re good, word will spread. Also good for those wanting school hours.
- Tutoring! You could either go and work for an established company or just set up on your own through advertising or word of mouth. Downsides are that this is likely to be evening and weekend work – but your day would be your own.
- Exam marking – I’ve never done this but I understand there is some cash to be made here. Google it!
- Make and sell your resources on platforms like TES and Teachers Pay Teachers. Use platforms like Canva or Pic monkey to make resources if you’re not familiar with Photoshop – or just upload what you have in Word or PowerPoint.
- There might be jobs at your local authority e.g. with the Autism service that require teachers – have a look at your council jobs website regularly.
- NVQ assessing and adult education – the best place to find vacancies for this are at your local FE college. You can also browse jobs like this on the Guardian website or TES.
- Museum work – there are plenty of museums that look for teachers to design and run workshops for visiting children – again check out their vacancy page but don’t be afraid to send an email.
- Just google “education companies” in your area and see what comes up – again – don’t be afraid to make contact.
- Search for Learning and Development jobs (also known as L and D) on Linkedin or Indeed – the police, NHS and large organisations are always looking for skilled people in these areas.
- Teach abroad! Your skills will be welcomed and there are always jobs for good teachers – although it’s still in teaching, it will most definitely be a change to what you’re used to.
- Keep an eye on the jobs page at your local council as sometimes jobs come up in places like hospitals – again, teaching, but a totally different environment.
- Apply for a graduate scheme if you are within the age range (and even if you aren’t) for a company you like and admire, or is just local to you. Teaching gives you loads of transferable skills and this way you can train on the job whilst you’re earning.
- Retrain in something you’ve always wanted to do – be it a furniture maker, fashion designer, acupuncturist – anything! Try and do it around your teaching commitment until you’re ready to make a living, save up some money, then make the leap! S/he who dares, wins!
- Recruitment might be a good – and well paid option. Especially teacher recruitment for supply or long term roles, you’ve been there, so you can wear the t shirt.
- I really like this company – Did Teach – they have a great website with lots of jobs for ex teachers that are a) interesting and b) well paid. Well worth a look!
I purposefully haven’t included jobs with paltry wages as I believe that if you’re using all those years of skill and experience you should be compensated accordingly – however you might expect to take a drop in wages if you are doing something totally different to teaching e.g. retraining. If what you are doing is teaching related however, and you’re giving up a good pension and holidays, think carefully about salary before accepting a position. If you’re going to be much happier though, it might be worth it. The decision is yours!