Teachers Can Write

Are you looking for a way out of teaching?

Maybe something you can start while you are still in the job?

What else can a teacher do?

Become a writer.

Teacher writer

 

You can almost certainly write better than most people who are earning money from their writing online You have a good education, you hear all kinds of words used every day and you use a good many yourself. Most importantly you read and being a reader is essential if you are to become a good writer.

Different Kinds of Writers

Long gone are the days of traditional publishing where touting your manuscript to book publishers was your only option. Most writers these days follow an alternative career path, usually one that involves the Internet in one form or another.

The different kinds of writing you could do include:

  • Blogging
  • Articles for online or paper magazines
  • Poetry
  • Ebooks
  • Self publishing
  • Print-on-Demand
  • Greeting cards
  • Traditional book publishers

Different Kinds of Content

Yes, if you have a novel you have been writing that is one possibility, but there are many more including:

  • Text books
  • Reference books
  • Non-fiction
  • Worksheets
  • Poems
  • Articles
  • Children’s books
  • Memes

Writing while Still Teaching

Nobody in their right mind gives up a job to start a new career as a writer. The sensible way to handle a career change is to do both for a while. And, yes, I know how little time you have left in your day because I have been there.

Why You Must Find the Time

Teaching is killing you slowly with its hours. The demands are impossible and you have no life outside your work. That’s no life at all! You need to start building an alternative career if you are to preserve your mental health.

How Can You Find the Time

There are 24 hours in your day and you just need to spend some of them on your new career. Something has to go. You just have to prioritise.

You might decide to watch less TV, spend less time on social media or just lazing around. You might choose to get up an hour earlier and dedicate that time to your new writing career. You might give yourself a jump start by attending a writing course or completing an online course.

Limiting Your Teaching Commitments

The nitty gritty of is that you need to spend less time on non-essential teaching tasks. I know that is going to be very difficult, especially when you are being hassled by subject leaders and other people whose jobs depend on making you spend time on paperwork.

Stop volunteering to do anything and just concentrate on teaching the students in your classes. When someone asks you to do something just smile and tehn forget about it. Let some other teacher give up their time at home to produce resources, tests and other course materials.

Deciding What You Want to Write

You need to analyse yourself and decide what kind of a writer you want to be. Is your motivation primarily creative? Do you still want to teach people, but through the written word rather than standing in front of a class? How urgent is your need for cash?

What about Money?

Some writing types have a shorter route to cash in your bank than others. The shortest is to write articles for an agency, followed by poetry, ebooks, blogging and fiction novel in that order. Most writers write short articles, as well as blogging or working on their novel as a compromise between their creative urges and the need for money to pay the bills.

What’s YOUR Action Plan?

No action plan means it won’t happen. Want help? Comment here and I will get back to you and set up a conversation where I can start to help you. I’ve been where you are and I know it isn’t going to be easy, but making a start and coming up with a date-linked action plan will make the transition to a full-time writing career possible.

If I Leave Teaching, What Other Job Could I Do?

I taught for 28 years so I understand the idea that teachers can only teach, and that those of you who want to get out of teaching are concerned about what else you can do. I had those fears too. I gave up the security of a permanent teaching job to take up a 12 month contract would allow me to move to Ireland in 2003. That contract was not renewed, and unemployment loomed large for a few months.

Teacher looking for a job

Unemployment Looms . . .

I applied for every job under the Sun. I applied for warehousing jobs, office jobs and management jobs; I sent in applications for buying jobs, retail management and selling jobs. I even applied for a ‘walking the streets trying to persuade people to contribute to charity’ job.

If I had my time again I would apply for more selling jobs because I think teachers’ communication skills are a perfect match with sales jobs, where you need to read people’s body language and intentions. A good salesperson helps people to find the best solution to their problem, a totally honourable profession which has been the butt of too many poor jokes and stereotypes: There are selling jobs that do not involve high pressure double-glazing sales just as not all car sales staff are con-men like the one in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

I did not get a single interview from over 100 jobs that I applied for. I became somewhat cynical and put it down to being over-qualified and knowing a lot more about most things than the 30 something HR staff who were deciding who should be interviewed.

My Alternative to Teaching

I did get a job in the end, one that paid more than a teaching job and included a van and unlimited use of a company mobile phone. The job used none of my teaching skills; I was just a body on the end of a phone, someone who could be called upon to drive 150 miles to reboot a broken down ATM, no skills required, just common-sense, yet it paid more than teaching!

I wondered whether my experience was typical, so I asked a few contacts at MyBlogU.com for their opinions. Below are two of their responses:

Don Sturgill

Teachers are people. Some leave the profession after years of joy, some burn out, some just can’t make it. I tried teaching, years ago … but it wasn’t for me … at least not at the 6-12 grade levels.

Good teachers are amazing: They can hold a group’s attention, make complex ideas simple, and are exceptionally supportive. A good teacher could transition to just about any other occupation. Those who tried teaching and couldn’t handle it should look closely at themselves to determine their real gifts and talents … and use them accordingly.

I found myself not organized enough to teach. I am so fascinated by everything; it is difficult to stay on track with anything. That fascination suits me as a writer, but drives a class crazy when I bounce from one great idea to another.

Dannybuntu

Teaching is one of the noblest professions out there and I personally think that the calling itself is underrated. Maybe, it’s because of the long hours, the hormone laden clientele, the omnipresent resistance to the product, human nature and the sheer lack of nightlife. 

Is it hard to get a job as an ex-teacher?

I would not know because I’m not one. However, I do know a lot of people who have diversified from being just a teacher into something else. Some have gone on to find lucrative careers teaching English to Koreans, Japanese or Chinese. Some of them founded their own companies to teach our West Asian neighbours. 

Like any other calling, job prospects ultimately go to the most determined of the heap. 

Don Sturgill says it all – Teachers leave the profession for many different reasons and we are all different. Your success in any field depends on having a positive attitude and there are good reasons to be positive; as a teacher you have many skills that you can use outside the classroom.

Daniel Garcia makes the excellent point that your success depends on how determined you are to succeed.

What else can a teacher do?

What Transferrable Skills do Teachers have?

Teachers are intelligent, superb communicators who are excellent at multi-tasking. We can all break a task down into its logical components in order to complete it in the most efficient manner possible. Words are our forte, we are word artists; how else could we communicate our knowledge to large groups of reluctant hormone-charged adolescents?

We need to recognise that the skills we take for granted are rare and highly-valued ones by the rest of society. We need to stop listening to politicians who are determined to knock our self-image and our credibility in society.

Yes, You Can Earn a Living outside Teaching

No, it is not something to leap into lightly, but if you are unhappy in teaching then you should start working on an alternative career today.

Life is a journey and we all need to enjoy our journey; if you no longer enjoy teaching then find something you do enjoy, before teaching kills you.

Your Ideas?

Please use the comment box below to share your own thoughts on this. Your email address is required but not published

Could You Use Your Teacher Super-Hero Skills in Another Job?

Are you aware of your super-human skills? Teachers do a super-human job, so we must all be super-heroes, right?

We take our super-skills for granted, as you do, but ask anyone you meet if they could do what you do every day and you will become aware of the super-hero inside you, the one you never let anyone see who want to burst out into public view.

If you are looking for other jobs a teacher can do then you need to recognise your super-hero status and help potential employers to recognise how valuable you would be as an employee.

Teachers as Super-Heroes

super teacher

 

You are a highly skilled mind-bending professional who can turn leaden brains into golden intellects. What more valuable skill is there in society than that? Who else helps people to develop their full potential? You can operate on 30 leaden minds at a time, and each year produce 400 individuals who will be useful to society. That’s much more than any brain-surgeon could ever do!

Teachers’ Super-Skills

If you break down a teacher’s job you stand back amazed at what a super-hero you are. Your super-hero skills and abilities include:

  • Eyes in the back of your head – How else do teachers know what is happening behind them?
  • Hearing you can switch on and off – Useful when you don’t want to hear what is being said?
  • You work 16 hour days consistently for months on end – No explanation required.
  • Performing miracles – How else do some students pass exams?
  • Time-stretching – Necessary to fit 2 hours of student learning into 1 hour.
  • Speed-reading – How else could you do all that marking?
  • You can strike 1,000 people dumb – Useful for crowd control in assemblies.
  • You can smell a rat at 40 paces – Lie detecting is one of the first skills a teacher learns.

Applying Super-Teacher Skills in Non-Teaching Jobs

Surely a teacher should be able to have a queue of potential employers a mile long fighting to offer jobs . . .

Sadly that is not the case: We teachers are the only ones who know about our super-hero skills. We need to dumb-down our super-skills so they are believable to non-teachers.

  • Eyes in the back of your head = Situation awareness
  • Hearing you can switch off = Diplomacy
  • Working 16 hour days = unbelievable stamina
  • Performing miracles = God-like communication skills
  • Time-stretching = High-level organisation skills
  • Speed reading = The ability to find the essence of any page of text in 2 seconds
  • Striking people dumb = High-level body language skills
  • Smelling a rat at 40 paces is a believable and useful skill anywhere you are dealing with people

What Kind of Jobs Can a Teacher Do Besides Teaching?

Your single most-transferable skill is your ability to communicate. You have learned to read your students body language and facial expressions: Your communication skills will be higher than those of the person interviewing you.

High-paying roles that require this level of communication skill include; sales, speaker/presenter, personal assistant, politician, psychologist, psychiatrist.

Many of these professions require high-level paper qualifications, but sales professionals are always in demand.

Sales

Many of us have the stereotypical double-glazing sales rep in mind when we think of sales as a possible career move. Forget that guy.

Think instead of the helpful sales assistant at the cosmetics counter. She is there to help you to find products that will work with your skin and hair type. If she does a hard-sell then you will not go back. Her job is to help you to help yourself, to make you happy so you will go back.

Car sales staff have a reputation for being pushy and many are. A good sales person in a car show room will start by asking you questions and finding out what you need from a new car. He will then use his professional expertise to guide you towards two or three possibilities. Women are under-represented in sales, yet many people I talk to would rather buy a car from a helpful female car sales person than from a pushy male one.

Using Your Teaching Skills in Sales

  • You can read body language, so you know whether someone is just browsing or is ready to buy
  • You are a skilled communicator who listens as well as talks
  • You are intelligent and can help people come to the right decision
  • You are diplomatic and used to biting your tongue when dealing with difficult people
  • You are used to prioritising and can multi-task with the best of them
  • You have seen a lot of life and have a lot of common sense

If only teachers realised how valuable their communication skills are more would quit teaching, a job they are unhappy in, and move into sales or other management roles outside schools.

 

What do you see as your own super-skills? Could you see yourself as a helpful sales person? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Life After Teaching – What’s Your Plan B?

Does your teaching day go on until bedtime?

How many hours did you take off last weekend?

Are you tired of meeting students as you go about your private business?

Is there Life After Teaching?

Get out of teaching

Yes, there is, and I’m living it.

I taught for 29 years, and from year 15 I was wishing for a way out. Unfortunately, wishing was all I did: I failed to work on Plan B.

What’s Your Plan B?

You do have a Plan B don’t you?

No?

Then you are in the right place to make a start on planning your teaching exit strategy.

Retirement is not an exit strategy. Will you still have your marbles then? Given that stress is a known killer, what state will your health be in if you work until retirement age?

Early Retirement

Most teachers plan to retire as soon as they can live on their actuarially reduced pension. A pension should definitely be a part of your Plan B, but if you are below the age at which you can opt for early retirement you need another income for at least a few years.

Ill-Health

If teaching has made you ill then take full advantage of the ill-health benefits that teachers have. In addition to the very generous paid sick leave entitlement, teachers can also apply for 2 years unpaid sick leave. Stop feeling guilty if you are sick and take days off; it is the system that has made you sick and you are entitled to the time off.

Exam Marking

Marking exam papers is something that many of us do for the extra cash. The rate per hour is not that marvellous, but it is still worth doing because you can carry on after leaving teaching.

Private Tuition

You can earn £30 an hour as a private tutor and earn a full time income, but only for 3 or 4 months a year. It is definitely worthwhile to build up a tuition business while you are still teaching because many parents phone the school to check that you are really a teacher there.

happy teacherWriting

We spend our days writing, on boards, in books, on computers. Writing is a skill that many teachers are happy to use to earn a replacement income. Writing offers many channels that you can go down: You cold become a blogger, a writer of website content or a novelist.

Other Interests

If you have any interest you can almost certainly turn it into a business. If you can draw then you could find people online who will pay you for your work. If you are a gardener, you could start a gardening website, run courses or grow rare plants.

What’s Your Plan B Going to Be?

You are intelligent and can see how your colleagues look more tired the longer they are in teaching. The same will happen to you. You should start work on an escape plan in your 30s, putting in the background work, market research and contact building while you still have a regular income.

If you start your escape plan early enough it will be generating a decent income by the time you are ready to hand in your notice. Oh, how I wish I had done that!

. . . . .

Do you have ideas for your own Plan B? What side-job do you have? Please share your plans using the comments below.