Updated: Aug 11
But you actually have choices for your career
Stuck. Pigeon-holed. Restricted. Boxed in.
Is this how you feel when you think about a career change?
Welcome to the “teachers who feel trapped” club! It’s a huge club, but it’s not one of those fun clubs you’re excited to join. :(
You’re in this club because you have been led to believe that career change and career choices are for other people. Not teachers.
What if I told you that teachers DO have choices?! That YOU have choices?! And that career change IS possible, if that’s what you decide you want.
I know this is true because I work with teachers who choose to stay in the classroom, choose to switch grades or schools or content area, choose to pursue work outside of the classroom, and choose to accept jobs in non-teaching (even non-education) professions.
There are alternatives to what you’re experiencing as a teacher now, but you might not believe it yet.
Reasons why you feel trapped
Here are some of the reasons why you’re in this “teachers who feel trapped” club (none of which are your fault), and why it's so hard to believe you have career options...
The education system is designed to keep you forever. The pension, the summers off, the decent (in some states) salary, etc...are a nice pair of golden handcuffs that keep you happy enough to stay.
You keep hearing “but you’re such a good teacher” over and over again, and you wonder: “why would I leave something I’m good at?” or “will my students suffer?”
You have a limited view of what kinds of work even exist because you are surrounded by teachers (most of whom teach their entire career) and you have very few examples of teachers taking their skills and experience beyond the classroom.
Other people imply or straight up tell you that there’s nothing else you could do. Colleagues, administrators, and even close friends and family are terrified you’ll leave them, throw a wrench in their own stability, or make them start questioning their own work.
You don’t have a clear picture of your skills and strengths because no PD ever focused on this.
Society doesn’t always highly value your work. In fact it picks it apart pretty hardcore, which doesn’t give you much confidence that you’re doing great things and have a lot to offer.
IT’S NO WONDER YOU FEEL STUCK. Good lord, how could you not? The forces above contract and tighten around you to become legitimate barriers to exploring a career change.
Free. Open. Possibility. Choice.
The good news is that you can start making choices right now.
When you start feeling trapped by everything above, you get to choose how you respond. You can tell yourself one of the following:
"I guess this is just my reality. Teaching is all I can do, and I resign myself to it forever."
"I’m going to stay in the classroom, but I’m going to rebel against it every day by being angry."
"I’m not trapped. I have choices. I can choose to stay, and I'm also free to start exploring my other career possibilities."
I want option #3 for you. Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your career dissatisfaction from this point of view? To truly believe you have options and to discover what they are?
If so, then check out my course, Teachers at a Crossroads: Exploring Career Change. It’s the kind of club you want to join! A group of current and former teachers who have chosen to explore their career beyond the classroom. To open things up! Bust out of the box! To discover the possibilities for fulfilling work, and to make a conscious, confident choice about what they want for the next phase of their career.
I'd love to hear what you think!
Share your thoughts in the comments or send me an email at email@example.com.
Do you feel trapped in the classroom? What's the primary culprit making you feel this way?
What would it take to help you believe you have a choice about what you do next in your career?