In this episode, Angela helps us to explore what our options are for when we are just unhappy with our jobs as a teacher.
We discuss a few different options for when you know you need a change, but you’re not sure what is out there for you:
- You still want to teach, but need a change.
- You want to explore other options within education.
- You want out of teaching altogether.
This episode follows on from our previous conversation about how to navigate the feeling that perhaps you might be done with teaching.
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If you’d like to peruse options for other work avenues, check out this post.
Emily: Hello again. So this is part two of an unexpected little series about what to do if you feel like teaching just isn’t sitting right with you anymore. The last episode resonated with a lot of you listening. So Angela has generously agreed to return to answer the question that many of you have contacted me about.
Yes. I might want to leave teaching or look into other avenues, but what exactly is out there? How do I know what career direction might be right for me once I’ve made that decision, that I do actually wanna start exploring something that is not teaching, especially if you’ve been in teaching for quite a long time and you don’t know how your skills will necessarily translate across into another career. So today you’ll hear from Angela about what to do, if you might just want a little shift in your teaching career. So you don’t want to leave teaching, but you want some change in your day to day job. We’ll also hear about what to do if you wanna remain in education, but perhaps not in the classroom anymore. And what to do if you just want out, you’re just done with teaching and you need to leave it far, far behind what other possibilities are out there. We’ll talk you through some of the options and how to work out what’s best for you.
But I also just want to remind you that absolutely you are allowed to still be in love with teaching. You absolutely are allowed to still want to be a teacher. Just because loads of people seem to be jumping ship right now doesn’t mean that you have to as well, I’m seeing this particularly within the online communities and it’s being pushed along a little bit, by what we’re seeing in the media with all of the attention on the teacher shortages, the mass Exodus.
I don’t want you sitting here feeling like you are supposed to want to quit just because other people are quitting. Teaching is still allowed to be your job, it’s still allowed to be part of your identity. It can still be your everything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And we need you to stay if that’s the case. Don’t jump ship, just cuz other people are. We all know the teacher shortages. If this is still in your heart, what you want to do, don’t let these other opinions and don’t let FOMO drive you out of a job and a career that you actually do love. But in saying that it doesn’t mean that you aren’t necessarily itching for something a little bit different.
So even if you are set, have a listen to our conversation today, to see if there are any tweaks you can make to your day to day teaching. So that’s even more enjoyable for you. You might also get some ideas if you’re interested in setting up a side hustle or. If you’re working part-time and are thinking about what else could you do?
All that sort of thing is what we’re gonna be talking about today. Enjoy! Welcome back Angela. Now last week was so popular. We’ve had a lot of really great feedback. So we just, we had to continue this conversation. We left off with what skills are transferable, and we might touch on that again quickly, but we definitely need to continue this conversation I think so welcome back.
Angela Wilson: Thanks for having me back. It’s so good that there’s so much that people got out of that session and that I can even extend that a little bit further today and go into a bit more detail.
Emily: Yeah, for sure. Now I saw on your Facebook page, this is a post from a little while ago, but it, it listed seven reasons for feeling unhappy at work. And as I was reading through that myself, I was sort of identifying with each one. The reason why they identified for me is that I feel like I was getting a bit bored at work and a bit maybe complacent, and that’s not a good place for a teacher to be.
You can’t be complacent.
Angela Wilson: Yes.
Emily: and that’s actually one of the reasons why I started this podcast was to sort of extend my, you know, creative fingers a little bit and, and explore other options. So I’m just gonna go through and read those, those seven reasons. And maybe some people listening are going to resonate with them as well.
So the first one is that you are bored and not being creative. The second one is that you’re not working to your skills and strengths. The third one is that you got into the job for the wrong reasons. Fourth one is that you don’t know what you want in life. The fifth one is that you are holding onto unlived dreams or paths untraveled, which I guess is a bit on the nose for, for the pandemic times.
Angela Wilson: Yep.
Emily: The sixth one is that you’ve been in your job for too long and don’t wanna be there anymore, or you’re just feeling over it. And then the seventh one is that you’re only staying for the money.
And now I know a lot of people will, you know, have a bit of an internal chuckle at that one because we all know that teachers aren’t the best paid in, in terms of careers. But I feel like for me personally, the money is actually a, a driver where I’m at now. This is, you know, my ninth year of teaching the money is good and it is a factor that keeps me staying.
So I think even with teaching, even though you might have a chocolate, that one. It definitely is still a bit of a reality there. Isn’t it?
Angela Wilson: For sure. And it’s also the security of earning the money each week. You know, that you’re gonna get the certain pay that it’s going to increase so that you are, you can see the projected outcome. And that it’s that security sometimes that holds you not so much in teaching, possibly for the money, but that you know, that you get your 12 weeks holidays, you get that time and you get that secure income.
Emily: Yeah, definitely. So yeah, if anyone’s at home or in their car listening and you resonate with those, those seven reasons for feeling unhappy. If you didn’t listen to last week’s episode, definitely go back and listen, like pause this one now, go back and listen to that one. And then come back to this one.
So where we left off last week was talking about teachers skills and how they’re transferable and a few that you mentioned were, you know, like collaboration and communication. Are there any others that you wanted to touch on before we move beyond the skills sector?
Angela Wilson: I just think about the variety of different skills that teachers have. And once you begin to list them, you’ll go way past five. You’ll probably go past 10. And that the skills that we also get are presenting and instructing. We’re standing up each day in front of an audience and, producing lessons and being able to guide them through that.
Organization as a teacher. I, I just think of the organization that it involves to do what we do every day. That we’re, we’re multitasking, which is a skill that it’s, it’s not quite known until you really look into these, that it could be also working under pressure. that we’re working to deadline that we meet deadlines and
Angela Wilson: yeah.
There’s so much involved in teaching that, just to know a particular word to describe what you’re doing. Sometimes my sessions are about a teacher. They’re just talking about what they’re doing, and we are able to identify one word to describe that that is a skill that is a strength,
Emily: So, yeah, like the, the condensing of the information.
Angela Wilson: Yes, because sometimes when you’ve been doing things that you just do, and for a long time, you don’t actually know that it’s a viable and vital skill for so many other jobs out there.
And how, how to articulate that. And in a job interview or talking to someone it’s great for you to know how to articulate that. And you can do that with your skills, your strengths, your personality. The work style that really suits you. And even when we think about the environment that you like to work in and the culture, that’s something to also explore outside of teaching and, and who you are and what suits you as well.
Emily: Yeah, particularly, cause I know there’s some teachers that work really, really well in a co-teaching space and there are other teachers that just cannot work with a co-teacher. They, you know, it’s, it’s their work, which is fine as well. But I guess even shining a light on that alone will tell you, do you actually work better in a team or do you actually work better independently?
And that’s something that, you know, you always see on job ads is. You know, do you work well in a team or do you work well independently? And if you think about how you work with your colleagues, I guess that can shine a light on even just that one small aspect.
Angela Wilson: And it can also come down to that maybe you did like working in teams. And now that you’re a bit more established or that you’ve got you, you can take on those responsibilities, maybe you like leading the group as well. And so it can also be about, these are the skills that I’ve acquired and which ones do I wanna work on next?
And that could also bring about when I think about job crafting that you can still be in the same job and you can craft it to who you want to become and who you want to be and use the skills and the strengths. Play to your interests within the job that you’re in. So that when I think about all the alternatives and the options and opportunities out there are you done with teaching?
Uh, do you enjoy the environment that you’re in? And sometimes it can be just little tweaks to, uh, to really invigorate that part of you and looking into the reason why you love teaching and make that come alive and bring about that new perspective on teaching, because it has changed recently. And who are you now that you’ve been through that change and what do you see yourself doing as well?
So I know that’s something that we were also wanting to bring out a bit more detail in this session about what are those options for teachers?
Emily: Yeah, for sure. And well, maybe we’ll start there with like, what are the options if you don’t actually wanna leave teaching, but you’re feeling a bit complacent, a bit bored, a bit over it, maybe even a bit stressed, but you know that teaching is still for you. What options are there. There’s obvious ones of trying to move into a leadership position.
Or retraining as a guidance officer, for example, but say you wanna stay as a classroom teacher. You’re quite happy with that. You don’t have those leadership aspirations. You mentioned the words like job crafting. How can you as a teacher craft your job to be more suited to what you’re intrinsically looking for?
Angela Wilson: There are those obvious linear progressions that you, that sometimes. We need to investigate. What’s holding us back from that inspiring career first. So looking into our limiting beliefs, looking into our fears, looking into our inner critic and just seeing what kind of mindset am I in?
We talk to our students about growth mindset. And are you in a fixed mindset or are you, are you someone who likes to learn and grow and have you been doing that or are you.
Being complacent. Have you, have you not done anything new for a while? Are you just doing the same thing over? Have you been in the same grade level for the last five years?
Just slight little tweaks to the way that you look at your job. The way that you look at yourself can really change things, because anyone can be happy in any moment. It’s about your perspective and it’s about your outlook on life and your sense of self as well. I know that in teaching where sometimes asked to do things a certain way, but does that sit well with you?
And when we think about the strengths that you have, are you using those strengths to the best ability? So once you explore all of those avenues, and we talked about a career order in the last podcast session, that if you are playing to your strengths and your skills and your interests, once you know what they are, how can you bring that into your everyday job?
So, wellness and wellbeing for me is really important. And in my classroom, I set up the day with that, because that was important for me, but also for the students that needed it, that needed to transition from their outside world to the classroom. And that for me, brought in a total different part of teaching that I really enjoyed doing every day.
So bringing in those moments where we took a breath and I guess that helped me through that last year that I was teaching cuz I would bring in things that were important to me and being creative and spending that time with the students. And looking at things from a different perspective can give you different ideas and it can even lead to you investigating and being really curious about different personal development, professional development.
And how can you bring that into the classroom? It might be that if you do like team teaching, how can you bring more of that into what you are doing within your job. And if it is that you want a new challenge, maybe it is about taking on a little bit more responsibility that you are interested in.
Sometimes we get given things that you kind of go, oh, do I really do I really have to do that? And having that voice to be able to negotiate and going to your team or going to the principal, the vice principal and say, this is what I’m passionate about. This is what brings me a whole lot of meaning and purpose. How can I bring this into the school, into my job? I know that another teacher that I worked with was really interested in nutrition and food. And so they made a part in the newsletter where they would write about healthy options and that for them gave them that sense that they’re able to bring in their interests into what they’re doing.
I know that some people are probably thinking, oh, but that’s extra work. I don’t, I don’t have
Emily: Extra time. Yep.
Angela Wilson: And I often have to challenge them and say that how important is it to you to make some changes? And how good are you at managing your time, your priorities and yourself? Because if you don’t begin to put yourself first, your interest, This is where you can become that unhappiness person at work and that you will tick off all of those seven things that we were mentioning before.
So within the job that you’re in, how can you craft it and create it and design it that it’s gonna light you up. It’s gonna reenergize you that you’re gonna wake up in the morning and go, I can’t wait to do that in my day. And it’s sometimes for people can be about challenging themselves and stepping outta their comfort zone because we get very stuck and stagnant and trapped in what we are doing every day.
And if we continue to do that, we’re gonna have that same result. So let’s change it up and it’s okay to change. That you are gonna be the one driving that change and. I love exploring with people, how they can do that, how they can utilize their time, how they can bring this into the classroom and giving them that confidence to have those conversations about making what they’re doing right for them.
Emily: Yeah. I, I remember a teacher I used to work with, she really loved social media in, in particular Twitter. So she had an idea to like, bring that into her classroom. Sort of a as an exit ticket strategy, she would get her students to write a tweet about what they’d learnt that day. So, you know, you’re limited to the 140 characters and it’s gotta include a hashtag.
And that brought her so much joy of getting her students to write tweets to her. Even though they were obviously not on Twitter in the class, they weren’t using their phones or anything, but bringing in that outside joy of hers into the classroom was enough to sort of give her a bit more of a spark and go, oh, you know, this is gonna be a fun thing today. I wonder what tweets they’re gonna write today. And I think we need to remember that it can be something as small as that. Just bring one, you know, if you really love origami, have an origami session one day or a. And, you know, for me, myself, I was getting a bit stagnant as we said cause I’ve done high school teaching for eight and a half years and it was the same subjects, the same.
And I was really good at it and really bored at it. and then a friend sent me a link to a new job, which is one that I’m in now as the stem specialist in primary school. So Change of year levels, change of subjects, change of everything. And that, that was enough for me to go, wow, this will be me for the next nine years before I probably start getting itchy feet and wanting another change. But these changes of staying within teaching, they can be quite small can’t they? But they can also be quite large, but you’re still a teacher. You’re still keeping with that.
Angela Wilson: Yeah. And just looking at those options, is it about changing the year level? Is it about changing schools? Is it about looking at the different types of schools. So we’ve got public Catholic, private, uh, Christian distance
Emily: the special schools. Yeah.
Angela Wilson: exactly that. Sometimes that change is scenery driving a new road, meeting new people. Life is about learning and growing. And we can look at that as not failing or that it’s about. How can I learn and grow and keep challenging myself. That it’s okay to move on as well. So they’re the ones within education. So when I often get to talk to people about this, is that it’s about just understanding that. Not so much. Are you done with teaching, but do you still wanna be in education? What is it about teaching that really lights you up and that making sure that you’re using those parts of you more often in the day to help you to stay engaged and motivated as well?
That what parts of it that you really enjoy.
Emily: So, if there’s someone who they’re done with classroom teaching, they don’t wanna be a teacher anymore, but they really wanna keep that link to education and to teaching and learning. What options are out there besides the obvious one of being a tutor?
Angela Wilson: Yes. Do you know how many people say that? I’ll just go and be a tutor for a little bit. And I just go, oh, if only you knew about all the options out there, that if you still love education, that simply as you’ve done, you went from secondary to primary. Maybe it’s that total change in there’s universities out there there’s TAFEs out there. There’s kindergartens there’s childcare that yes. Sometimes it might involve a little bit of study. So we’ve got a bachelor’s degree. Some people might even have a master’s that you might just need to do a little bit of investigation about. If I transfer to another education, I might just need to do a little bit of study and that’s that’s okay.
Emily: and that can be off putting for some people, can’t it?
Angela Wilson: It can, it can be because they might not have studied for 10, 20, 30 years and that being a student again, how can I possibly do that? So that’s already bringing up fears within people. And I often say, well, how important it is it for things to change and how big a change do you wanna do as well? That this is where having conversations with people about.
What changes they’ve made successfully into other industries? How did you do it? What does it look like? What do you do every day in your job? Having career conversations can sometimes calm that part of you that might be going, oh, I I’m, I don’t know if I wanna study. I don’t know. Wanna, if know, if I wanna make that big leap. Yet the gains that you can get and the things that you can be doing every day and what you are doing every day can sometimes outweigh those, those fears that you have.
So moving into other educational institutions is a good way to stay in education. That there’s a variety of different roles as well. When we think about that we’re a teacher and in the last episode, I mentioned that teaching also means training, facilitating, mentoring, coaching. There’s so many different ways to describe what we do as a teacher and outside of teaching still possibly in education, we can take on different roles that mean the same thing as teaching. And it’s just in a different setting and it can be cross industries. It might be stepping outside of education, but I recently was talking to someone about that. They love art and galleries. In museums they have education program.
They look for coordinators to run them. So you’re still putting together a program. You would still be delivering information. It’s just in a different setting.
So just knowing the industries out there and what it requires for you. It’s amazing once you begin to look at what else is out there. That understanding that language is transferable from teaching to program coordinator to learning and development officer.
There’s a variety of job titles. And I, I just wonder if even just going through the options for full-time, part-time, job sharing, contract, temp. Have you been through all of that and does that need to just shifted and do you wanna work on a dual strategy? Do you wanna be teaching, but also building up something else on the side?
Maybe it is volunteering, a side hustle, we’ve got gig work at this time. You might wanna start your own little business and can you do both of them at the same time while you plan on exiting. Or is that enough to do both at the same time? There’s so many options. There’s so many alternatives. And it’s about finding those opportunities by talking to people, trying things, researching and putting yourself in the way of opportunities.
Cuz sometimes when we are stagnant, we are stuck and we just sort of have our blinkers on.
Emily: And you sort of forget that there’s other things out there.
Angela Wilson: Yeah, that maybe a short course isn’t as scary as, as you think it might be.
Emily: And I guess, I imagine a lot of pushback that you’d get from teachers would be that, oh, I really wanna make this change, but I don’t have the time to study. How can I possibly study or how can I possibly have a side hustle when I’m working as a teacher full time. So what, what advice would you have to teachers that are sort of stuck in that mindset?
Angela Wilson: Yeah. And that one comes down to self management. That when you know about time management, priority management, and you take care of yourself, your thoughts, your actions, your behaviors. That, when you really look into it, anything is possible. It’s so amazing when I do time management with people and we break down their hours and what’s your usual day look like there’s always time that you can carve out, even if it’s an an hour or half an hour every day that can go towards this exploration into your career, this investigation into yourself. That even that can be a little bit. I know that that even when I was on my lunch break, I’d go, okay, I get this much time. I’m gonna make one phone call in my lunch break to someone in a job that really interests me and I’m gonna have a conversation with them.
Emily: See what it’s about.
Angela Wilson: Yeah. And I just think that we often get very stuck in what’s our usual routine.
Emily: And how can I possibly break away from that?
Angela Wilson: Exactly. Cause habits can become automatic and we just wanna create slightly new habits and we want them to feel successful in what they’re doing. So half an hour, a day might be enough to.
Ah, and making sure that you recognize that you have done something towards looking into these feelings that are coming up and why you might be unhappy in your job
Emily: And I guess along that line too, like, we need to remember that carving out that time during the day isn’t a permanent change. This is a transitional change. So you might be carving out half an hour instead of watching TV, you’re gonna do this exploration, but that exploration may only last a week or a couple of weeks before you make some sort of decision.
And then you can go back to watching your TV instead.
Angela Wilson: Yeah, exactly. And that it can be about that. People are scared of change and it’s not until. You have, and for me it was that a tree landed on my house for me to go I’m gonna keep making changes. I’m not gonna stay stuck and trapped in anything any longer than I need to be, because I know how precious life is.
And I hope that no one out there has health issues or are going through anything. And that’s the reason why they have to make these changes that sometimes it’s not until you’re forced to that you do make those big changes. So. Half an hour a day or an hour a day is so much more worth it than having something big happen in your life. And you’re forced to change.
Emily: For sure. So I guess we’ve talked about teachers who wanna stay in teaching and teachers who wanna stay in education. What about those ones that are just they’re done? Get me out of teaching. I wanna be as far away as possible. Is an easy enough transition out of teaching or is this gonna be, an entire flipping your life on your head?
Angela Wilson: It might seem like that. Doesn’t it. Like when we think about stepping right out and that you are done, it can be freeing for some people to know that is a possibility that if that’s something that is. When we think about the gut, the heart, the head, what is all of that’s telling you?
And do you have the financial ability to do that? And have you looked into all the, the options for that, that maybe for some people that is where they’re at, that they just need to,
Emily: hands of it and
Angela Wilson: Yeah, but that’s sometimes so freeing for some people based on their circumstance, their situation. And what’s right for them.
Other people might need to create that plan and have that exit strategy and look into where they really wanna be. So some people that risk is scary. Some people that risk is needed, maybe taking that sabbatical, taking that time off. Within three to six months that you’ve stepped away. You’ll know if you need to come back as well.
And that is that an option where you are at at the moment to just take that time for yourself, to rebuild yourself and explore other options and to look into what else is out there. That’s always something that you can be doing and that it is up to that individual person. And that some people do that and they’re successful and other people just need that time off and they, they come back and they’re reinvigorated.
Emily: They feel that pull back and go, yep. Teaching is for me now. This is still what I wanna
Angela Wilson: So if you think that you are really done, it’s about making that personal decision for you based on all of that situation that you are in. And is that the right decision for you? Do you know how to trust your gut instinct and listen to your heart and your head and career decisions can sometimes be hard when you are in that overwhelmed. When you are not really sure about what’s right for you.
So that’s why working with a coach can sometimes bring clarity. And have you had that conversation with someone separate from your life and your situation so that you can gain that clarity.
Emily: Someone that’s not in a teacher Facebook group, where you’re gonna get a lot of strong opinions, either way.
Angela Wilson: So there’s a bit to consider when we think about the people that are done. Or that might be sitting on that fence. And there are a couple of different roles. If you want me to just name a few, to see if it sparks people’s interests to go well. Yeah. What is there outside of teaching and education that when I think about your skills and your interests and your strengths, that’s what you wanna be finding out.
How can I use those outside of teaching? It can be as simple as well. I love all the admin tasks that I do. I love sitting on the computer. So maybe a personal assistant or an executive assistant being in that office environment, maybe that might suit your skills as well. And your strengths and your interests.
It could be that you love instructing and present. So maybe looking at the professional development that teachers have all the time, they might be looking for people to actually run those sessions. I know in the corporate world that they are looking for training and development, people as well to be able to present things.
Emily: All the time in all sorts of fields.
Angela Wilson: Yeah. So when we think about what you like doing and what you want to be doing every day, it could be about consulting. Maybe it could be a learning consultant or a education consultant, or even sales, where you’re selling things to teachers. There’s always those opportunities as well, but you can also go into sales in other industries.
I just think. We, we know the things that we use in teaching, and you might have a better way to be able to sell that kind of stuff as well. That if you like writing and you love developing content and curriculum, that there are curriculum writers and editors out there, and that, that might be an opportunity as well.
Emily: And that can be within the education departments, but also textbook providers, for example.
Angela Wilson: Yes. And when I think about working with young people and the community, there’s lots of involvement that you can do in those types of roles. And it might even be in that public sector, maybe government or local government, that you can be connected to the community and youth as well in those types of areas that they might run programs. That they might be looking for people to advise as well, and be mentors and coaches for the, for the youth within those programs.
And I mean, I can keep going on with them all day, but the thing is, do you want to. Do a little bit of study. Do you want to just roll straight into another job? That’s another thing to be considering because I know people that have gone into HR, so human resource management, that they do need a little bit of training in that one as well. What do they want to be able to get out of the next five, 10 years time? Is it, do they need to find something to just transition out while they continue to look as well. There’s there’s so many options. There’s so many alternatives, so many opportunities,
Emily: And that’s where someone like you is a, an actual career coach would be a very good person to talk to. If you’re feeling a bit stuck about all of this.
Angela Wilson: just having that support can sometimes give you accountability for one, but be that sounding board as well, because we all have the answers within us. And when we get rid of all of the stuff, that’s holding us back and that’s possibly consuming our thoughts that when we clear that it’s amazing.
What can come out and that usually the first thing that you think of that you go, and most people say, I wanna be a tutor that they, the first thing you think of is usually not the thing that you move into. And the thing you move into is bigger and more amazing than what you’ve ever thought of. Because you once begin to expand your thinking and what’s possible and look at options and alternatives without getting that overwhelmed of all. There’s so much out there, it’s about condensing it to the right amount of exploration. That it’s gonna be amazing. What is actually out there and things that you had never thought of before are really possible.
Emily: Yeah. Wonderful. All right. We’re almost outta time again. This has gone so quick. I guess my last question for you, it about all of this whole giant big topic is what is one thing that you wish all teachers knew about or knew maybe that’s within themselves.
Angela Wilson: I just keep coming back to that personal development. That as a teacher, we are focused on our students. We’re focused on the curriculum. We’re focused on the school. That it is about that self management becoming the leader and manager of your own career of your own life is one of the best things that you can do.
Go on that self discovery journey and transform your thinking, transform the person that you once were and look into the person that you are and that you want to become. It can be one of the best things that a teacher can. For themselves, for their family, for their students, for everyone else involved that take the time to get to know yourself.
Emily: It’s okay. To be a little bit selfish in this
Angela Wilson: it’s it’s really needed for sure.
Emily: Perfect. All right. And would you mind reminding the listeners where they can find you? How can they
Angela Wilson: Sure. So my website is careerdesignstudio.com.au. And I’m on LinkedIn as well as all the socials. But the best place to reach out is through the website and have an explore. I offer free discovery sessions for those people that go, this is resonating with me. I, I would love to chat to you and have that time to explore who you are and possibly where you want to be.
Emily: All right. Thank you so much for round two of our
Angela Wilson: Yes. Thanks Thanks for having me again.
Emily: All right, thank you.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash