As a teacher, the possibility of losing your job is an unfortunate reality: Teaching magazine “Professionally Speaking” reports that the unemployment rate increased 30 percent between 2006 and 2011 for first-year teachers alone. On the flip side, your skills serve as your secret weapon, as teaching requires know-how in everything from public speaking to professional writing, to planning and organization. Whether it's a stopgap measure until your next gig or a permanent step in a new direction, you have plenty of options when it comes to alternative job choices.
Teaching-related gigs serve as a natural, go-to option for out-of-work teachers, as they often require a very similar skill set when compared to traditional teaching jobs. Substitute teaching, adult literacy and GED programs and tutoring positions offer easily accessible alternatives, though typically only part-time. For job options that have hours comparable to a five-day-per-week teaching spot, look into teacher's assistant or coaching positions at local schools. If you don't mind leaving the nest, teaching English as a second language overseas offers an adventurous option that often includes perks such as housing and plentiful vacation time. Most overseas ESL jobs simply require a degree of any sort, but your teaching background is sure to give you an edge on the competition.
If you love the world of academia or want to continue building an academic resume during your gap period, investigate non-teaching jobs in the world of education. Many colleges – including community colleges and public universities – prefer those with education experience in positions such as admissions, library staff, student advising, counseling or student services. Typically, these jobs require only a bachelor's degree.
The act of teaching isn't limited to the classroom. Your leadership, guidance and organizational skills – not to mention vital experience in clearly transmitting information to others – may find a home in the business world. Teaching skills apply to corporate jobs in the areas of employee training, human resources, staff recruitment and development, and the development of staff training curricula and materials.
Your teaching skills and passions – including community service and working with children – may lend themselves to work at non-profit organizations, including family planning centers, mental health agencies, social service centers, youth camps and youth mentoring programs. If you're thinking outside of the education box, play to your strengths; as a former English teacher, seek work as a copy editor or technical writer, or look into archival or research work if you have a background as a history teacher. Seek help from your former employer if you had an amicable split, or contact your university's alumni job placement program.
- Professionally Speaking: Now What?
- Cleveland State University: A Kaleidoscope of Alternative Career Choices for Teachers: What Can I Do If I Can't Find a Teaching Job?
- Illinois State University Career Center: Alternatives for Teachers: Considering a Wider Range of Work Options
- Texas Workforce Commission: Teachers in Transition
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.