If you are thinking of quitting your teaching job - you are not alone.

Every year almost 10% of teachers leave the profession - and of those just beginning their teaching careers, nearly 50% will leave within 5 years.

And yet, very little help or support is available for teachers in this position. 

Most teachers are unaware of how employable they really are - and how many highly transferable skills they have to offer other careers. 

This post gives teachers thinking of leaving the profession, support and advice to make the right decision - and some ideas of what to do next.


PDF: 373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

  • Discover just how employable you really are!
  • Reveals the jobs best suited to your role, and existing experience level
  • 373 ideas and inspirations for teachers seeking a fresh challenge
373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

Why Do Teachers Quit The Classroom?

If you're thinking of leaving teaching, it's important to understand why

There are many reasons why teachers leave the classroom - but your decision is probably based on a combination of the factors below .. 

  • Long hours, low pay, or reducing budgets
  • Workload, planning, marking, assessment
  • Excessive detail required by school leaders
  • Curriculum and assessment reform and new initiatives
  • Lack of planning and preparation time - the additional time required for extra curricular events ..
  • Performance management, appraisal
  • The difficulty to progress up the pay spine
  • Poor behaviour and attitude from students
  • Moderation of marking and continual cross-referencing of what you do
  • A data lead approach to management and teaching
  • Completing homework, behaviour logs
  • Difficult or challenging parents
  • Duties and managing detentions
  • Writing policies
  • Lack of training

The modern teacher works in an environment where students (and their parents) are more challenging than ever before .. and where management expects continued improvements against assessment standards every year.  This puts a unique pressure on teaching staff.

But why is understanding your reason for leaving so important?

Why do You Want to Leave Teaching?

There are two big reasons why understanding your feelings at this time are important. 

Firstly, leaving teaching can be a rollercoaster of emotions - and recognising how this is affects you will make the transition easier.

Because teaching is a job which demands an emotional investment like no other career path I know.  This makes leaving more difficult than simply 'getting another job'.

Being clear about your own reasons for leaving - and the emotions you feel as you consider this decision - will help you make the transition without anger, guilt, or a period of depression .. which many teachers experience. 

The second reason is that too many teachers put off leaving an unhappy classroom job.

Quit teaching

Some do this because they don’t want to ‘abandon’ their classes .. others feel trapped and unqualified to do other work.

The level of burnout experienced by teachers is one consequence of this .. and one you want to avoid.  

Bouncing out of your job in an unplanned way, either through breakdown or prolonged absence, damages your health and future employment prospects.

Much better that a change is managed, before the job has an impact on your health.   You can come back to teaching in the future .. there are always jobs available.

So how do you make this decision easier?

Should I Quit Teaching?

The best way to come to a decision that is right for you, is to ask the right questions.

When you analyse your feelings, consider the following ..

  • What are the biggest reasons you want to leave the job?
  • Are these reasons personal, or are they to do with the job itself?
  • What is the likely long term impact of continuing to do the job you currently do?
  • If you fast forward a year or two - what would your health (and your life) be like, if you stayed where you are now?
quit teaching now

Tony Robbins says that change is much easier when the pain of remaining the same, is greater than the pain required to change.

Being super-clear about the pain of staying in your current job .. and measuring this against the pain of leaving, is a good way to make this decision easier.

The bottom line here is that you only live once - remaining in an unhappy job or unsustainable working environment, is likely to have consequences for you and your family.

There are lots of alternatives for someone with your skills - you might not realise this yet but what you do, is highly valued.

You Are Much More ‘Employable’ Than You Think!

Many teachers think the skills they develop in the classroom are so specialised, that they would have to ‘start again’ from the bottom of any alternative career they choose.

That really doesn't have to be the case. 

Because employers love ex-teachers for several reasons:

1. You Work Hard

Why do teachers quit

How many other professions do you know which work 50+ hour weeks?

It is likely that you do this regularly, and do it with enthusiasm. You work through whole days without very little break, and stay into the evenings for ‘twilight’ training, parents evenings etc .. 

.. and you regularly take work home.

Most other jobs don’t require this crazy level of commitment. Employers know when they employ an ex-teacher they get someone who isn’t afraid of hard work!


2. You Learn New Things Fast

i want to quit teaching

As a learning professional, it is very likely that you take pride in developing your own skills and knowledge. 

In most jobs, what they look for first is not previous experience doing the job - but an ability to learn new things quickly. 

Your experience and commitment to professional development makes you highly ‘trainable’.

A new employer won't have to train you out of bad habits, and because you are an effective learner - you will improve fast.


3. You Are a Fantastic Communicator

should i quit teaching?

How would you have faired in your classroom, without the ability to communicate clearly?

To put this another way .. when we ‘waffle on’ - what reaction do we get?!

Your classroom experience has trained you to communicate effectively, and tune what you say to suit the audience you have in front of you.

Good communication skills are important almost everywhere .. you have practised and improved yours more than most people alive!


4. You Are Organised and Can Work Under Pressure - to Tight Deadlines

leave my teaching job

Teaching in a modern classroom requires an ability to organise a complex job and work under pressure, often at speed!

Think about the times when reports are due in - or when you quickly have to turn around a year groups marked assessments in time for parents evening.

Almost all jobs will require this skill .. and not many people have the level of experience you can demonstrate here.


5. You Are Resilient and Determined

resign from teaching

To work in a modern classroom - you have had to be!

You don’t give up when students or management throw a curve ball at you - you adapt and make the best of things, often with a smile on your face. 

There are very few career paths that hit you as hard as a bad day in school .. and yet you get up each day and give your students a fresh chance to try again. 

You might not realise how determined and resilient you really are.


6. You React Positively to Change

Quitting teaching mid year

Most people in employment don’t cope well with change.  Teachers in modern schools have to - to survive!

In my 20 years in the classroom, change is the only constant which I have experienced - exam boards, course specifications, government requirements, management changes.  As a teacher it is likely that you have experienced all these things - and adapted quickly to your new environment.

Most ordinary people don’t do this well at all!


7. You Have Great People Skills

why do teachers quit teaching

Teachers quickly develop an understanding of what motivates each individual they work with. 

We use this to plan our classrooms and lessons - and to communicate individually to get the required response in lessons. 

You have also worked with a huge range of staff in school.  In many ways a faculty is a mini-business which develops its effectiveness over time - you have worked in a team doing this.

As a result of your classroom job, you have highly refined and well practised people skills.


8. You Are a Natural Leader

I want to leave teaching

You might not consider yourself a ‘leader’ - but press pause on that thought for a moment. 

Because teachers lead groups of students every lesson of every day. We provide motivation and inspiration to keep them going - and drive them to improve their performance over time. 

In most businesses and organisations outside the classroom, this is exactly what employers need from the people managing their teams. 


9. You Are A Creative Problem Solver

teachers quitting

Creativity is at the very heart of a teaching job.  Each year you take a dry curriculum and turn it into something which sings!

You constantly have to think creatively to design solutions to the problem of difficult students, tricky subjects to understand .. and what you tried yesterday that didn’t work first time around. 

Creative problem solving is something you practise every day.


10. You Use Your Initiative

why i quit teaching

Most people in employment wait until they are told to do something. 

Can you imagine that in a teaching job?!

If you have an idea or plan to get the most from a student - you do it, test the response, and adapt your plan.   For most people at work this is not normal behaviour!

Employers often state ‘must be willing to work under own initiative’ in job adverts, because they are sick of people constantly asking permission to do their jobs.


The Bottom Line Here, is This ..

You have a set of valuable skills, which employers almost everywhere are looking for. 

Don’t undersell yourself .. your classroom experience has given you a wealth of transferable skills to put on application forms and to talk about confidently at interview. 

In the applications you write, it is up to you to make these transferable skills obvious - and to be proud of the person they make you into.

You have an awful lot to offer a new employer.


PDF: 373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

  • Discover just how employable you really are!
  • Reveals the jobs best suited to your role, and existing experience level
  • 373 ideas and inspirations for teachers seeking a fresh challenge

373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

Jobs for Teachers Leaving Teaching

Reflect for a minute on the transferable skills above for a moment, and realise that these apply to almost every job that exists today!

There are some alternative career options that value your education experience specifically - some ideas are below:

  • Other teaching jobs (not in the classroom) - e.g. teaching support, personal tutor, TEFL teacher, Adult education lecturer, FE lecturer, Prisons instructor, Distance or open learning college tutor.
  • Education Administration - any administration or management job in school, college or FE.
  • Jobs Related to your Degree - rewind to when you graduated and you had lots of choice about what to do next - these choices still exist.
  • 'Any Degree' Jobs - 60% of jobs advertised requiring a degree don't specify a specific subject.
  • Subject Specialism Roles - jobs exist in most of the school subject areas, you are experienced there - why not work somewhere you can use this knowledge?
  • Training and Development Roles - Companies and other organisations all have training and development programmes for their staff, your skills will be highly valued there.
  • The Charity Sector - ex-teachers who want to make a difference are often drawn to the charity sector where they can make their contribution in a different way.
  • Educational media and publishing - you have valuable experience teaching specific things which publishers need to produce media and material for schools.
  • Other jobs working with children - e.g. Community or youth worker, play worker, education manager, after school club coordinator.
  • Counselling and Pastoral Work - e.g. counsellor, family therapist, community home/school teacher.
  • Education Welfare - social worker, health visitor
  • Other Government Departments - your local or national government will recognise and value your skills, there are a wide variety of jobs available in other public sector organisations. 
  • Advice and Information based jobs - e.g. careers advisor, information/education officer, environmental education officer, learning mentor, museum education officer, youth training and education worker.
  • Further Education or Training - while this isn't strictly speaking a 'job', it is an option for many ex-teachers wanting to refocus their lives. 
  • Community Project Leader - a wide variety of community projects are funded by government and private businesses, your organisational experience could be extremely valuable to manage them

There are 373 alternative job ideas inside the PDF which I am offering for download with this post. 

But there is one option which offers advantages like no other ..

Becoming an 'Infopreneur' ..

Look again at the transferable skills which a teacher practises every day .. 

Not being afraid of hard work, a fast learner, a good communicator, being organised and resilient, responding well to change, working well with people, not being afraid of leading, being a creative problem solver, using your initiative.

These are exactly the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur!

Many teachers are now starting businesses online to earn an additional income, or to replace their current jobs.

It's much easier than you think to get started - in fact you already have most of what you need to succeed!

If you are interested in a beginners guide to becoming an Infopreneur, and starting your own information business, my book Classroom Escape is available free here.

Read and complete the accompanying workbook, to create the blueprint of a life you will love. 

Good luck with your future career decisions, if I can help please let me know.

Classroom Escape

373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

PDF: 373 Alternative Job Ideas for Teachers

  • Discover just how employable you really are!
  • Reveals the jobs best suited to your role, and existing experience level
  • 373 ideas and inspirations for teachers seeking a fresh challenge


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