Careers: Teaching/What type of job?


QUESTION: Hi. I feel burnt out. I've been doing Special Ed for the last 17 years. I have a Masters in Education, specifically Reading Remediation, but I teach all subjects, all grades (1-8). I teach small groups and 1:1, sometimes self-contained classes. Are there any other careers that you know of, even working for companies for example, that people with Masters in Ed. can do? I also have a BA in Psych. Any direction you can steer me in to figure this out?

ANSWER: Dear Ross,

I hear your pain!  I've been told that companies LOVE to hire former teachers because we are so organized and attuned to working toward the strengths of the individual, are often efficiency experts, and we are good at giving clear directions.  You could easily be hired as someone for Human Resources, Reception, etc.  I suggest you contact a Head Hunter if you wish to leave teaching completely and get into another field.  They get to know you and then suggest you to the employers for whom they work.  If you are good in technology, I have a friend who might be able to help you.  For other skills, you might need to locate someone else.

Contact your university and see if they can help you with your job search.  Check out job sites and if the job description sounds like something you would enjoy, apply!  While they say you must have a minimum of this or that, they are usually flexible.  Those are their Wish Lists, but everyone is willing to consider others most of the time, if you meet other qualifications or have qualities that they seek.

I considered going to work for Customer Service at an airline.  I think I'd be perfectly suited for that, since I'm used to dealing with unhappy parents.  Customer service ANYWHERE would be good for most teachers.

What about online teaching - or assisting with distance education, if you want to keep your finger in the pot, so to speak?  You might work in the background, getting clients signed up for things, answering questions in general via the website or via phone calls ... the sky is really the limit for most teachers who are motivated.  

I've tried to be pretty general here, to give you some jumping-off points.  But don't hesitate to get back to me if you need more specific help in a particular direction.  I'll do my best to direct you, should that be something you feel would be helpful.


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QUESTION: ...we are so organized and attuned to working toward the strengths of the individual, are often efficiency experts, and we are good at giving clear directions...

Well, yes you are, aren't you! What an overwhelming response! I didn't expect that. Anyway, ok, well, I like very much organizing things. I love making worksheets and rewriting textbook material into simpler more graphic ways. And the behind-the-scenes things you described are interesting. But there must be money behind it. I don't know how to negotiate well, so it must be something that pays well anyway.

I can write to our local university for ideas. Even if it's part time and I can still keep this job, it would give me a surge of energy. That's what I feel energized again. (And did I mention the money?:)


I hope by 'overwhelming response' that it was a GOOD overwhelming!  I didn't mean to give you too much info --- just wanted you to know that there are LOTS of options out there ... and many DO pay far more than teachers get paid.  Let me wax a little more poetic!

Consider working with a textbook company.  With so much going online, I'm sure they can use people to put lessons together that are more tech friendly.  

Consider being a consultant.  There are schools all over the world who bring specialists in to do workshops for their teachers.  There are regional conferences for Africa, Europe, Asia, and smaller groupings within those continents and they are always looking for people who have unique ideas and who can present those ideas to their teachers and staff.  They will generally pay your travel costs, lodging and food as well as several thousand dollars for your time.

Contact International Schools Services in Princeton, NJ and ask them how one goes about becoming a consultant.  You can spend some time working up some techniques for working with children with special needs or other teaching techniques that you found useful over the years, then send a review out to international schools and regional offices (AISA is in Kenya and is for schools in Africa ... MAIS is for schools in the Mediterranean region ... NESA is for Northern European countries ... there are others) to advertise your skills.  You might be invited to speak at a regional conference OR you might be directed to a particular school seeking your skills.

The International Educator (TIE) is a newspaper for international schools and often advertises upcoming conferences, and will help you find out who to contact and where you can learn more via their websites.  This can be very lucrative once you get your name out there.  

Seek advice from other consultants.  I'm sure that there are some on this website who might be able to give you advice.  The negotiating can be difficult, but initially, you should calculate what you think you are worth per hour (an MA should bring in a minimum of $50 and hour, but since you are having to travel, I am guessing that you can ask a minimum $1000 for a 4 hour workshop plus all expenses)  I am NOT an expert on this, but I know what we paid consultants that were brought into my school.  

Get your passport ready, get vaccinations that can be necessary (in particular, yellow fever as that is a strict expectation, but I also recommend typhoid and making sure you can get malaria medications on short notice) if you are interested in pursuing this.  There is a substitute teacher organization out of the UK that sends people all over the world and I hear it's good money and very exciting.  Do a search for international substitute teaching and it should come up.  You generally are in place for a few weeks to a few months.  It's a great way to see the world!

OK - I'll stop.  Your comments just spurred me to think of some other, more lucrative, options. I'm really hoping you can get your energy back.


Careers: Teaching

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Debba Robinson


I can answer questions about reading at all levels, English as a Second Language, elementary math, science and social studies as well as general education matters. Individuals interested in teaching in international schools can contact me for information on how to begin the process of looking for jobs overseas.


I have been teaching for 30 years with a MEd in Reading and Language Arts, a BA in Elementary Education. For 6 years I taught computer to grades K-8. I have taught in combined grades (K-2 and 2-3 splits)in the US and overseas. The bulk of my elementary experience is in second and third grades, although I've taught K, 1, 2, 3 and 5 as a self-contained experience. Twenty-two years of my experience teaching has been in international schools in Africa and Asia.

MEd. in Reading and Language Arts
BA in Elementary Education
Certified principal K-12. Currently the director of the American International School of Niamey, Niger.

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