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What its really like to leave teaching

August 17, 2015

This is the second summer that is just merely a season to me. Summer for teachers is their longest break and a chance to unwind from the stress of the profession. Oddly enough it has not been difficult to adjust to working in the summer months, now the lack of built in breaks has been a different story. I have written before on why I left teaching and thought I would reflect on being 2 years out of the classroom.

People will want to know the why of what made you leave. 

This is especially true if you spent more than 5 years in the profession. Those not working in the public school systems often do not know all the obstacles teachers face on a daily basis, so I understand the curiosity. This question comes up a lot in the job search as well. In my experience I have found some employers have trouble with the concept of ex-teachers looking to enter other career fields and will ask why you left. My tip is to practice your answer before the interview and show confidence in your decision.

Some employers can't get past the teacher part of you.

I really wish I would have known this when I first stepped out of the classroom. In my mind I picked up so many skills in my 6 years as a classroom teacher from strong organizational and time management to even conflict resolution, but this does not translate to employers or HR. To many of them they just think teacher and are not sure how teacher translates to skills and experience needed for other positions. It can be hard not to take that kind of stuff personally, but just know that not every employer thinks that way.

Not working in a school means a serious lack of vacation time

I didn't realize how spoiled I'd become in working so long in the school systems when it comes to vacation time until I left. It really hit home last Christmas when I didn't have the traditional 2 weeks off and had to use PTO combined with Christmas day to go back home for a few days. I now understand why people say Americans get the least amount of vacation time in the world. No wonder Americans don't travel.

The beauty of an hour lunch break 

As a teacher I was lucky to get 30 minutes to cram some food in my mouth and make time for a restroom break before the kids lined up to start the next class. Now 2 years of having an actual lunch hour to eat and unwind before the second half of the work day, I don't think I could go back to the former.

You will more than likely have to take a pay cut

I knew this from my online research prior to leaving the field and prepared myself for it. You are essentially starting over in a new field and more than likely your new paycheck will reflect that. I just tell myself that it is a temporary step to a bigger goal, nothing worth having comes easy.

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