Since I recently changed my headline on LinkedIn to “I help burnt-out teachers find career alternatives that are perfect for them because work should be fulfilling and FUN!” my LinkedIn connections have gone up almost 400 in less than one month. I am receiving at least four messages a day from teachers of all ages and all stages of their careers asking for more information about what I do. They want to know how I might help them because they have self-identified themselves as “burnt-out.”
When I talk to them about their interest in my services, teachers tell me pretty much the same thing: “I still love my kids, and if I could just teach without all of the other “stuff,” I would be satisfied to stay. (They often use a more descriptive term than “stuff.” I’ve cleaned it up for a G-rated audience.)
The problem is that the other “stuff” has become a non-negotiable part of the job!
Arbitrary standards that are attached to equally arbitrary test scores which have been linked to teacher evaluations (thanks for nothing, former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan) have made teaching an untenable proposition for a large number of teachers.
While the economy was crippled due to the economic melt-down of 2008-2009, many of the teachers who started suffering from job burnout long before now stayed put because there weren’t a lot of other jobs available to them. As the economy improves, however, the possibility that there might be other opportunities available to them has created a desire for many teachers to want to at least explore their options.
When teachers contact me, I tell them that I can’t offer them a job. I am not a recruiter. I am a Career Transition and Job Search Coach specializing in working with teachers who are feeling the pain and disillusionment of job burnout and who are ready to explore their professional alternatives.
Teachers need my help because many of them fall into the trap of thinking, “I can’t do anything else…I am ‘just’ a teacher.”
Here is the thing: Because teachers are well-educated, have a solid work ethic, learn quickly, and are good communicators, they are ideally suited for many other lines of work. They just don’t know it yet! And that is where I can help.
What makes me an expert? I was a teacher and librarian for over three decades. I then went on to become the President of the Virginia Education Association. When I left that job I was burned up…worn out…done.
I couldn’t find the energy or the desire to go back to the classroom although had there been a library for me, I probably would have gone back. What I was offered was a middle school English position which was out of the question for me. I knew I didn’t have the physical stamina. I didn’t have the emotional resilience that I would need to deal with middle schoolers. More importantly, I didn’t have the desire.
I believe that children deserve to have teachers who want to be with them. So, I retired a full six years earlier than I had planned.
Once I made the decision to retire, I felt relief flooding over me. I knew I had made the right decision for me. I took some time off to rest, and I needed a lot of rest.
At the end of six months, I decided it was time to reinvent and retool myself. That was three years ago.
I have established my own business, and I worked with one of the premier career coaches in the country where I received top notch training. I then launched out on my own, specializing in working with teachers who need my help in finding a new career path because their teaching career no longer lights them up or provides the sense of joy and satisfaction they hoped to find when they decided to become a teacher.
Melissa Bowers, a former teacher now turned writer, recently nailed it with 7 reasons teachers might not want to teach anymore in her blog which was offered in Huffington Post. I believe many teachers will be able to relate to one or more of those reasons.
So what to do if you are ready for a change? Before we can determine if you need help, you should determine if you are, in fact, suffering from the symptoms of teacher burnout.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you find yourself dreading going to work, feeling anxious on depressed on Sunday night before having to go to work on Monday?
- Do you feel stuck and unhappy because you don’t see room for advancement or promotion?
- Do you feel that you have control over your classroom and your curriculum, or do you feel that all of the major decisions are made for you, and you must comply…or else?
- Do you feel disillusioned because teaching isn’t what you thought it would be (or it has changed since you started)?
- Are you having trouble with sleep because you are worried about finances, your students, your general sense of overwhelm?
- Are you lacking the energy and drive you need to be consistently productive and effective on the job?
- Are you having physical issues such as headaches, backaches, gastrointestinal issues or other ailments?
If you answered “yes” to any of these seven questions, it might be time to consider making a career move.
Regardless of your current level of job burnout or just general stress, if you are still reading this post, it means you need to consider taking action today to get yourself out of the rut of a job that no longer serves you. You are considering new goals or ridding yourself of a situation that is sucking all of your enjoyment out of life.
You get one shot at this life. You need to make the best of it.
If you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions that have worked for you, I hope you will share. My only rule for commenting on this blog is to keep it civil, keep it appropriate and keep on topic.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me at http://kittyatcareermakeover.coachesconsole.com or fill out the contact form below:
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Until next time.
Thanks to Shutterstock for the photos.