Life After Teaching, What To Do?

I’m a planner and a worrier. Not always a good combination.

Lately I’ve been wondering (aka worrying and wanting to plan), about what I’ll be qualified to do after being in education for so long. I’ve four official years until I can “retire” with years of service and my age as qualifiers. Once I do leave education, I’ll still be young enough to work for many more years, but what do to.

Right now I’m at almost 18 years of being in education. It is in my blood, it is what I think about, it is what I read about, it is what I go to conferences about, it is…well, you get the picture. Being an educator has become so entrenched in my psyche and being, that I have not been able to picture myself doing anything else. But I know when I leave education, I’m leaving education for a new adventure.

So, what will it be?

I love data—collecting, analyzing, brainstorming next steps. Putting data into spreadsheets, graphing in a variety of ways, looking at trends from year to year I can do. Creating statistical charts and such are not my forte. Will I be able to put this skill to use where a layman can understand it, but it doesn’t have to look like it came out of MIT?

I love writing and think I’m pretty good at it overall. This blog has become a source of joy for me as it lets me think “out loud” and connect in ways I’m not overly comfortable with in the real world. Can it be put to use? If so, what would I write about? I don’t really consider myself such an expert at anything I could write a book anyone would want to buy. Can I write technical manuals if I’m not sure of how the object/process really works? Would working at a newspaper or magazine without a journalism degree pay enough to earn a good living? Does freelance writing pay enough to settle the monthly bills and where would I find gigs?

Tutoring could be an option. Although the same questions arise as writing. Are there enough children in need with parents who are able to afford an outside service? Isn’t this an over saturated market anyway? Would it be back to lesson planning to meet a standard? Would it be too much like being at school, and if so, why not stay in a school?

What about showing teachers and administrators how to use technology more effectively in the classroom and in working with staff? I think I’m pretty good at this and have been told on several occasions. Do I know enough to be an expert in the field, or enough of one that people would be willing to pay me to help them learn? Where and what is the market? Schools are hard pressed for money as are educators, the very people and institutions who would be my target audience. Are there monies out there to pay me for this kind of knowledge service?

Programming has always intrigued me, and I was good at it in high school (many eons ago and programming in COBOL and Basic). I have some ideas for educational apps to support student learning. On this one I go back and forth thinking there is a market for the apps I want to develop, and then thinking I should give anything I create away for free since I know how cash strapped schools can be. A moral dilemma for me unfortunately.

Photography is a passion. I mean, how can someone with 25,000+ pictures on his iPhone not be passionate about photography. But, is this a dying art since everyone has a pretty good camera in their back-pocket. People aren’t really buying photos as fine art that often anymore and people are definitely not sending as many photo cards as they did in the past. Thanks e-mail!

Are there any former teachers out there who have found second careers lucrative enough to help support a family? Ones that will utilize my educational knowledge and experience well.

Do any of my friends who know my strengths (and my weaknesses), have any suggestions on what I might pursue?

Tell me your ideas and success stories.

Any and all ideas are welcomed.

I look forward to what you suggest!

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