Are money issues the only reasons you stay in the classroom?
Are you worried about paying your bills if you leave teaching?
Have you ever done your financial homework? The numbers might surprise you.
There are two factors to consider relating to any financial decision related to leaving teaching; income and outgoings. Without your teaching salary, you will need to find a new equilibrium between these two aspects of your banking.
Replacing Your Teaching Income
You are going to need a replacement income, probably from multiple sources at first.
The Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) is currently £73.10 and if you have voluntarily left teaching you may not receive even that. Check with the official Gov.uk site. You will be made to jump through numerous hoops and attend unpleasant interviews before you get a penny. The JSA is not something you should depend on.
If you plan to leave teaching for health reasons, then you are sick.
If you have been teaching full time for four years, then you are entitled to sick pay if you are ill and can provide a medical cert. from a doctor. You will get 100 working days of sick pay at full pay and another 100 days at half pay. You will receive payment for school holidays, weekends and bank holidays that fall within your period of sick leave. The rules are complicated, so consult with your professional association before taking any action.
Sitting at a desk and throwing red ink at a set of exam papers like an automaton is nobody’s idea of fun. But it might be worth doing if it pays the mortgage in your first few years outside the classroom. Apply while you are still teaching, because exam boards often ask for references from your current school or college.
If you are accepted by three or four exam boards, you can take on exam marking from April to August. International examinations can extend the marking period to six months, but it is hard work. There are also positions as question setters, revisers and moderators to apply for, which will extend your period of work for many weeks. This page has links to the UK examining boards where you can apply for positions.
Private tuition pays well, especially if you are flexible about travelling to clients’ homes and work in a shortage subject area. You can expect to earn £30-£40 per hour teaching A-level subjects to individual students.
It takes a couple of years to build your reputation, but after that, you will have as many tutees as you are willing to work with. Most of the tuition requests will be for evenings and weekends, but you can shoe-horn four or five hours of tuition into an evening if you need to.
Of course, you will need to pay tax as a self-employed tutor, but even after that, your income will be high enough to make it worthwhile.
Related: Teachers Can Write
Jobs Not Related to Teaching
You have many skills that are in high demand outside education. It is best to look into a few ideas before leaving teaching and to try them part-time if you can.
You are a highly skilled communicator, so you will be eligible for positions as a company-employed trainer, a writer or as a salesperson. You have spent years organising and managing 30 students and thousands of pieces of equipment at a time, so you can manage an office or team of co-workers. You have the skills, and all you need is industry-specific experience.
Self-employment is a better idea than working for an employer. It gives you control over when and how often you work, and you can work in a niche that you enjoy, just like you used to enjoy teaching.
This site gives you a range of real-world jobs you could start tomorrow, ranging from chimney sweep to pest control and book-keeper.
There is Internet-related work you can do, too, though you should lock your wallet away until you have done a few months’ research. Internet marketing, network marketing, blogging, freelancing and writing books are the obvious niches, and one of these may suit you, but each one deserves more space than I can give them here, so I will link to separate posts as I write them.
Reducing Your Expenses
If you choose to work from home, you can reduce your outgoings by hundreds of pounds a month.
No Daily Commuting
How long do you spend in your car every day just travelling to and from school? What about the trip out for lunch? And of course it isn’t just time, you will save on car-related expenses too. The Inland Revenue allow a business mileage expense of 45p per mile, and they are never generous, so the real cost is probably much higher. The AA calculates a much higher cost per mile for running diesel and petrol-engined cars. If you travel 10,000 miles a year, the cost per mile of any car that cost £18,000 – £25,000 is over 95p/mile. (Oct 2016).
How much does it cost you to get to and from work every day? If you live ten miles away, that’s 100 miles a week, which works out to £95 a week during term-time or £3,800 over a 40 week school year. That’s £316.66 (£3,800/12), a substantial slice of your monthly salary.
If you have a partner and you both get out of teaching then you might even be able to sell one of your family’s cars.
No more coffee on the way to work. No more lunchtime snacks or awful school cafeteria dinners. No more rushed and expensive convenience foods in the evening because you will have the time to cook from scratch and enjoy cooking again.
If you buy just one £3 coffee a day and spend £3 on your lunch, that’s £6 per day, £1,200 per school year. When you add in the extra cost of convenience food dinners at £2 per day, you can save £8 per day, £1,600 per year just by making your own coffee and food at home.
One person’s total savings from no teaching-related expenses come to £5,400 ever year. Double that if you and your partner are both leaving education and add on the extra cash from possibly selling one car.
What Does All This Mean for You?
You do not need to replace all of your teaching salary because you will have lower expenses and will be paying a lower rate of income tax on your reduced income.
It is entirely possible to replace 75% of your teacher’s take home pay after allowing for reduced daily commuting and snacking costs. After all, it’s not as though teachers are well paid, is it?
When I gave up teaching my take home pay was £1,400 per month. When I was working for a security company, just driving a van, I was taking home €800 a week (about £500 at the time), plus I had free use of a works van and a free mobile phone.
Even working 24/7/365 my stress levels were much lower than when I was teaching, as evidenced by my 100% attendance record and total lack of stress-related disorders.
Set yourself a target, perhaps 12 months. Decide that this will be your final year in front of a class of teenagers. Skip a holiday this year and pay off your credit cards instead. Line up as much exam work and private tuition as you can cope with and start thinking about long-term sources of income.
Think about applying your knowledge in new areas. Think about honing your writing or technical skills so that you can earn a living online. Forget about Internet marketing, you don’t know enough about it at this stage, and you will spend a fortune buying courses and resources that you will not be able to use.
Teaching people your specialist knowledge is an excellent way to go, because you get to use your teaching skills and to spread your knowledge of pruning apple trees, cleaning roof tiles, raising teenagers or baking bread – Basically anything you know. If you build your reputation in your niche people will pay you for your expertise.
Is this you? Are you trying to come up with an alternative to teaching? I’ve done it, so can you. The first lesson to learn is that we all need help and support. Please use the comment box below to share your ideas.