Think teachers can only find jobs in the classroom? Think again. Many teachers build up a healthy set of transferable skills that make them desirable recruits in a number of other careers. From working with people to time management, teachers offer useful skills for almost any workplace. So, if you're thinking of becoming a teacher, remember that your career might reach far beyond working in schools and colleges.
If you're a teacher, you have to be able to relate to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. For example, over the course of a day a teacher might have to negotiate with a department head for annual funds, work with a 12-year-old boy who's struggling with math, and speak to a parent after school about a child's progress. This requires flexibility and a real understanding of people. These are the kind of transferable skills suited to everything, from sales to politics.
Management and Motivation
Imagine going to work every day and having your coworkers yell, scream, fail to listen and generally cause problems at every turn. That's what some teachers deal with daily. So, they develop strategies for keeping students calm, motivating them, and setting targets and goals. A teacher might be a friendly mentor at one point, and a stern disciplinarian the next. In short, a good teacher can have many of the key leadership skills needed to be a successful manager in a business environment.
How do you juggle teaching kids, marking assignments, setting tests, attending staff meetings, learning about the latest curriculum changes and having your own private life? Somehow, the best teachers have the organizational chops to do just that. Organization ability is a much-prized transferable skill in the workplace. From working as a personal assistant, to managing a team of people, organization is critical for getting things done at the right time and hitting your goals.
Numeracy and Literacy
Whatever subject you teach, you need at least a basic grasp of numbers and language. If you're teaching at high school level and beyond, chances are you have a very good understanding in these areas. And these are the types of transferable skills you can apply to a number of careers. For instance, if you're a math teacher, you could use your abilities in an accountancy firm, a bank -- or even on Wall Street if you want to chase the big bucks.
- Cleveland State University Careers Services Center: A Kaleidoscope of Alternative Career Choices for Teachers:
- Jobs.ac.uk: Translating your Skills from Academia into Business
- Those Who Can, Teach; Kevin Ryan and James M. Cooper
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.