Here's a fun fact for you — on average, up to 50 per cent of Australian teachers will leave the profession before their fifth year of full-time work. This is huge, especially when you consider that it takes you at least four years to obtain the qualifications to allow you to teach.
Why is this attrition rate so high?
Working with children can be personally and professionally rewarding. For many teachers, knowing that you can make a real difference in a child's life and can hold the key to their future overrides everything.
The day-to-day reality, however, is the job is stressful. Forty years ago, it was the issue of low pay and poor conditions that threatened to push people out of a career in education — these days, it's all about mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem.
For each individual teacher, the emotional toll of the job varies. It could be that the ever-increasing expectations placed on teachers are weighing you down. You may feel you've lost some of your passion. Perhaps the job no longer meets your needs.
Find different jobs for ex-teachers.
If you are experiencing a high level of anxiety because of your job, and it's impacting your life, there are some good online teacher self-care programs where you can seek help.
Self-Care for Teachers
Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is essential for everybody and, with the current world-health crisis and the drastic change of life as we all know it, never has self-care and monitoring been more important.
Being in a nurturing role, teachers often tend to consider their own needs last. This can lead to burnout, which essentially means you are of no use to anybody — least of all the very people you nurture.
If you feel 'burnout' setting in, if you feel demoralised and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.
— Dalai Lama —
The people around you, who are not in your career, may laugh and say something like 'You only work from 9 until 3, and you get all those school holidays. Teachers have it easy.' Don't listen.
Here are some important actions to take, to ensure you're looking after yourself, so you can continue looking after others.
1. Monitor your wellbeing
Mental health organisation, ReachOut, suggest giving yourself a score out of ten each day based on your headspace. Ten is a great headspace, five is average, zero is the danger zone. The higher the number, the better you are, but once you start dropping below that, it's time to ask yourself why. Then, take steps to remedy it. Watch out for the less overt signs of burnout, too — fixation on events, resent and cynicism.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
Whether you align with a colleague you feel comfortable with or find a more experienced staff member to mentor you, sharing your problems goes half the way to solving them. Learn how to ask for help — it is not a sign of weakness. If someone offers to help, don't knock it back. If you need to access professional counselling, which most education directorates offer free of charge, then do it.
3. Build in 'Me Time'
In your daybook, schedule time to do the things that are important for you in your life. It doesn't matter if it's a daily walk, a weekly massage or meditation before bed — pay yourself back for your commitment by making time for yourself.
4. Work-Life balance
A common problem for many teachers is the tendency to live and breathe their jobs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Stop yourself from doing this. Don't sit down at your computer on Sundays. Switch off your 'school brain' when you walk through your front door. Whatever it takes — nobody will suffer if you take an extra day to mark the homework.
5. Take a holiday
Whatever you do, try not to make rash decisions when you're stressed. Check your leave balances, apply for some leave, and unwind so you can think clearly before deciding what to do about your career.
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There are obviously disadvantages to resigning — loss of guaranteed salary, superannuation, school holidays and job security — but if you've weighed these up and decided to leave the teaching profession your next step will be considering your options when it comes to careers after teaching.
The more years you've spent in the classroom, the more daunting it will probably be. But don't allow yourself to think that way.
When you have teaching experience and a relevant degree in education, you will find there are many alternative jobs for teachers. The skills and personal qualities needed for many jobs are similar to those used in classroom teaching, in both primary school and high school.
Superprof has put together a list of ten other jobs for teachers. All of them will either keep you in the education sector or have skills that are transferrable and make use of your experience.
Still Want to Work with Students? What Other Jobs Can Teachers Do?
The following career paths will keep you in the education sector and make the most of your teaching credentials as you can still be involved with students — but on a different level.
Learning support and assistance
As a teacher, you may have had a particular ability to motivate students and assist them to navigate their learning experiences. If this is what you still want to do, there are several options open to you as a learning support assistant that maximise the skills and knowledge from your education degree, but require less hours and professional responsibility.
Learning support jobs are not limited to the school setting — support assistants with the right skills are needed in community youth centres, out of hours school care, universities and in guidance counselling. The primary role involves providing support to students who have academic, personal or social issues affecting their educational achievement.
As with teaching positions, learning support roles are very hands-on. However, you are able to more effectively build rapport with the individual students you work with, as well as their parents and teachers. This allows you to know them at a deeper level and better help them learn and achieve their full potential.
Facilities and networks providing student support are also found at higher education institutions, such as universities and TAFE Colleges. Working here, you would be involved in the provision of information and advice. You may also run workshops on different aspects of student life.
In any learning support role, your main focus is to support the learning and development of individual students. You need to be able to identify the social, emotional and academic needs of each student you work with, and support them accordingly. It would also be your role to assist students to overcome challenges and develop their skills by facilitating learning environments that best support individual students.
Check out for retraining courses for teachers.
Are you still passionate about teaching? Do you still want to teach, but just can't face a traditional classroom with unmotivated students anymore? You might want to consider the option of working as a private tutor in Sydney, or elsewhere in Australia.
Tutoring is one of the most commonly entered jobs after teaching and has several perks including selecting your work hours, setting your hourly rates and working from locations that suit you. A tutor with good skills and an online presence can average a weekly pay packet equivalent to their previous salary as a teacher.
Your classroom experience and knowledge of pedagogy will be of high value. Tutors need exceptional communicative and organisational skills, and the ability to devise engaging and creative lessons, relevant to the needs and learning styles of each of their students.
You will be working with motivated students who have a desire to learn, and who value your time and expertise.
The first decision to make is where you want to work: through an agency, via an online tutoring platform, or freelance.
Tutoring agencies can be great; they source your clients and have public visibility. However, they do take fees and commissions.
There are many online opportunities for tutors, such as tutoring jobs in Melbourne and other locations near you. Agencies also offer online tutoring, however, platforms such as Superprof have a high level of flexibility allowing you to set up your personal profile, communicate with students directly and set your working hours and rates.
Setting up your own business, either online or face-to-face, is also an option. Be prepared to put in the hours though — you need to do your own marketing, and find and manage your own clients.
In the latter two cases, you also need to check with the Australian Tax Office and clarify your employment status to ensure you pay tax accordingly.
Whatever you decide to do, private tutoring roles are among the best alternative jobs for teachers who still have that passion.
Roles in community youth work
If you are after a job that is rewarding and where you can assist our younger generation to explore their potential and make the most out of life — youth work may be for you.
You do need to be resilient yourself, though. While a large part of the job may involve running creative workshops, concerts and performances, and sports days, there will also be occasions you'll need to help young people through tough times — something that be personally draining.
However, youth work is one of the many other jobs for teachers who feel they still want to be in a mentoring role within their community.
Today's youth live in a high pressure world with multiple issues in their lives, from family to social and academic. As a youth worker, you'll be expected to provide guidance and support to the young people you work with. This will only happen if they trust you, so you'll need to work hard to develop a rapport, to show your full commitment to helping them.
Be mindful of slipping into teacher or school mode. Your role is to interact with youth at their level and build a relationship with trust at its core.
If you crave variety and challenge in your career, youth work is perfect. Apart from connecting with your local youth and community, you may also be responsible for:
- developing clubs and workshops
- school and police liaison
- running community fundraisers
- informal counelling
- coordinating education programs events
What certification or qualifications do you need for youth work?
To become a youth worker in Australia you need an Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma level qualifications in youth work, counselling or community services. Depending on your background, three years of on the job training, or a VET qualification may be suitable. Obviously, you will also require Working with Vulnerable People check.
Youth work positions are available in a range of settings, including secondary schools, community centres and churches, clinics, corrective and juvenile centres and rehabilitation services. Jobs may be advertised online, or you may find them through your local council.
Work may involve counselling, child and disability services, rehabilitation and welfare support or school guidance work — whatever your role, the importance of developing and maintaining a strong community rapport cannot be over-emphasised.
Apply to work as an academic advisor
As far as careers after teaching go, working as an academic advisor is a great way to continue to make the most of your teaching degree by focusing on the educational aspects of schooling rather than the behavioural ones.
Academic advisors use their extensive curriculum and career path knowledge to advise students who are weighing up their future education options.
Often you will find academic advisers, also known as careers advisors, in secondary school settings. Careers advisors help students select subjects for their senior secondary years, with the student's future career goals or university degree course in mind. Career advisory services are also available outside of the school setting for anyone who needs to update their CV with a view to changing careers.
In Victoria, for example, you can access the Australian Centre for Career Education (ACCE) who provide free e-newsletters and a range of consultancy and career counselling services to the community.
ACCE supports individuals to become successful career managers. Along with this, ACCE also works in schools, with parents and with community, running workshops and conferences for young people and other community members.
While your classroom teaching job may be rewarding, it can also be constraining and repetitive. The role of an academic advisor, on the other hand, is ever-changing and provides challenge and variety.
Alternative Jobs for Teachers Who Want to Stay in the Education Loop
The following career paths may appeal if you feel you need a break from face-to-face contact with students but still want to be involved in education.
Writing or editing for the educational publishing industry
Face-to-face teaching (and dealing with parents and admin) can lead to stress and damaged mental wellbeing. For many teachers, the idea of replacing the chaos with peace is highly appealing.
Educational publishers are often on the hunt for teachers with experience in primary or secondary education, who also have proven skills in editing or writing. Trying your hand at educational writing is a great way to allow new teachers (and experienced ones) to learn from your ideas, experiences and expertise.
Follow your interests. Search for opportunities to write for classroom resource packs, textbooks, national curriculum resources and teacher education materials. Explore the 'about pages' of different education publishers to see what they publish and what roles they might have.
You are not limited to traditional publishers either — consider starting out with newspaper or magazine articles, educational blog posts or association publications, such as ALEA or ASTA.
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If you feel you might be more suited to editing or proofreading, a good starting point would be to check the IPEd website. Alternatively, for those with the skill of oral communication and persuasion, marketing and sales promotion would be perfect alongside your education insight.
The writing and publishing community regularly employ freelance workers, who offer short-term services for writing, editing and targeted marketing. A quick internet search will reveal multiple agencies and freelance communities — and you can search for jobs or post your own advertisements.
Education-based liaison and consulting
If you are still passionate about education as a process but have realised you need a break from the demands of classroom teaching, you might want to look for a liaison-style role.
Consulting or liaison jobs in education allow you to work in the background, rather than in front of students. One of the best alternative jobs for teachers who want to share their love of the education process is in teacher training and development — working in the preservice student teaching area in a mentoring or tutoring role.
You might also want to consider doing panel training for the teacher transfer and recruitment rounds. Alternatively, you might be interested in working with organisations, such as Teach For Australia, who focus on recruiting, training and supporting individuals thinking of becoming a teacher.
If you still want to be involved in a school setting, there are various liaison jobs available. Consider working between campuses, across sectors and between school levels, such as primary school to secondary school to advanced education, or potential employers.
Students who have reached the end of compulsory schooling and looking at options beyond Year 10 or Year 12, need advice in many areas. In a liaison role between secondary school and university or TAFE, you would provide guidance on pre-requisites and other admission requirements, application writing, trade and apprenticeship courses or other vocational training programs.
Liaison roles are not limited to education and schools. Consultancy work is available with institutions or organisations, such as research, tourism or cultural groups, who have direct educational links or an education market.
There are many roles where your teacher certification will be in high demand, and your associated skills will be put to great use. Your classroom experience will be an asset if not a requirement!
If you've been teaching in the public system, with the benefits of full job security and a regular salary, leaving the public sector may constitute a massive life change. However, there are other jobs for teachers in the public sector that aren't directly related to teaching.
Museum or gallery jobs
To become a teacher in the first place, you obviously love to learn. Imagine working in a place where you're surrounded by new information every day. A museum or gallery job could be what you're looking for.
Museum and gallery work is similar to teaching in that you need to be on top of the latest knowledge and able to communicate and present this in a variety of ways to suit a range of audiences.
You might be responsible for explaining the displays and their stories to visiting groups, or you could be involved in curating and looking after different collections. Either way, you'll be able to combine your two passions — learning facts and sharing knowledge.
Regardless of your previous role — history, art or science teacher, special education teacher, teaching assistant or substitute teacher — beginning your job hunt by looking at museum and gallery roles could win you a perfect career match.
I've Been a Teacher for Over Ten Years — Can I Even Get Other Jobs After Teaching?
You're burnt out and you've had enough of the traditional school environment and working with students. What other jobs can teachers do?
Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of thinking 'I'm only a teacher'.
Training and development at a corporate level
As a teacher, your skills include public speaking, people skills, communication, organisation, leadership ...
An effective educator, with all their skills, tailors their teaching to suit the needs of individual students and groups because they understand learning styles and strategies to promote development.
Learning doesn't stop after compulsory education — even executives in the adult world of business need assistance and guidance to learn.
Teaching adults can be very different from trying to deliver the curriculum to young people. There are numerous roles available in private enterprise requiring provision of targeted staff training and development. They fall into several categories, including personal and business training.
Jobs you may be responsible for include:
- taking on individuals or groups in a mentor or coach capacity
- implementing engaging and innovative strategies
- planning and running courses and workshops
- facilitating cohesive team relationships and communication.
The role you do will depend on your strengths, so work out what they are and promote them.
Workforce and personnel management (human resources)
The training you complete to obtain and maintain your teaching certification also provides you with an extensive, transferable skill set that is valuable in a range of settings.
What this means is, with your experience, you are well set up to forge a career pathway, and progress upwards if that is what you desire. One area you can do this is in Human Resources (HR).
HR departments are involved with recruiting, training, paying and promoting the employees of an organisation. The role of the HR staff is to improve the overall value of their company's personnel by assisting each employee to achieve skill growth and development.
The ability to assist other people to identify and make the best use of their skills, interests and traits is at the core of teaching and of HR management, which is why ex teachers are the perfect fit for HR roles.
What do you need to do if you want to pursue a career in HR?
The first thing to do is to update your resume. This won't involve a complete rewrite, but you will need to switch the focus from school-based education to HR positions.
You will also need to look into relevant, alternative certification. Your Bachelor degree is a given, and you may also have some post-graduate qualifications. However, another credential in the field of HR would be beneficial.
If you have the time, a university-level Master of Human Resource Management would be outstanding, but there are shorter qualifications available which are just as valuable for people wanting to become certified in HR Management.
There are many organisations offering qualification courses in HR throughout Australia. TAFE is one place you can look, offering both face-to-face and online courses as follows:
- Double Diploma: This course allows you to specialise in HR in addition to one other field, including areas like business administration or leadership and management.
- Diploma: You will focus on performance management systems, industrial relations, positive employee relations and so on.
- Certificate IV: Generally shorter courses with more practical skills, including customer service standards, payroll and employment management.
The type of certification you choose depends on your prior experience and future ambitions. If you want to move into a management role, a double diploma might be where you want to head, while a Cert IV would be suitable for assistant-level roles.
If salary is a key consideration for you, this useful salary calculator can give you an estimate of your gross salary in different positions.
Personal drive, commitment and organisational capacity will go a long way to progressing you along your chosen HR career path, but the relevant qualifications will get you where you want to be faster.
The key to being a successful administrator is having the ability to organise — which makes administration one of the best jobs for teachers.
An administrative role is more than data, filing and spreadsheets.
Working in office management and on the front reception desk are your traditional jobs in administration. However, these days, being an assistant to a higher authority, such as a CEO, is also considered to be 'administration'.
If working in the school environment is all you've ever known, you can ease into your new career by looking for administrative opportunities, such as assisting a Principal or putting in a Deputy Principal application.
Gaining administrative experience in a familiar setting has another benefit in that when you are ready to move on, your administrative experience in your educational role will be enticing to potential employers.
Again, it is essential that you revise your CV to ensure it reflects your new experience and is targeted towards the jobs you are interested in. It may be the difference between your CV going to the bottom of the pile and catching the attention of a potential employer.
We have listed only a small selection of the potential alternative jobs for teachers. Whether you're leaving your teaching career after five years, twenty years, or want something new post-retirement the process is the same: identify your key interests, strengths and qualities and make them work for you. There are opportunities in a variety of settings. Many positions may only require minimal retraining and can be the ideal job for a skilled ex-teacher.
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