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Finding Alternate Routes in Education
The business world offers many different opportunities for former teachers and educational personnel.
Teaching in the classroom is not for everyone. Fortunately, this field offers many alternate opportunities for those interested in education, but not necessarily in teaching.
With the rise of the Internet and the increasing emphasis on computer-aided learning in the classroom, the educational software industry is booming. Educational software companies make learning fun and easily accessible through a variety of software products and informative web sites. Former teachers are enormous assets to these companies because they understand how students, teachers, and the school systems operate, as well as have a solid understanding of different subject areas.
Non-profit educational organizations implement a variety of essential education-related programs across the country and around the world. These organizations are supported mostly through fundraising efforts, private donations, and government gifts. As a result, funding is often limited (and so is the pay), but like teaching, the personal rewards are great. Employment opportunities include fundraising, public relations, and administration, although most former teachers are involved in the program and service delivery function of the organization. Examples of educational non-profits include Junior Achievement, IREX, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Close-up Foundation.
Many large publishing companies recruit former teachers to help write and edit textbooks. Random House, Houghton Mifflin, and Scholastic are only a few examples of publishing companies that rely on the knowledge and experience of teachers and others from the educational field to help them create textbooks and other instructional materials that work in the classroom. Teachers can sometimes pick up free-lance editing projects while teaching as well.
Although intimately involved with the school community, administrators do not teach. They are involved with creating and implementing school policies and managing the business of the school. It's important to note that if you are interested in the administrative side of education you should consider getting a Masters in Education rather than a Master's of Art and Teaching (so you'll learn more about the policy and management side of schooling). Administrative opportunities are available at universities and colleges as well.
The Business World
The business world offers many different opportunities for former teachers and educational personnel. Teaching experience indicates to a potential employer that you have many of the traits that businesses value, such as strong people skills, creativity, initiative, and leadership ability. Human resources, sales, and training and development are some of the more ideal business areas for former teachers, since they involve a high degree of people interaction and management skills.
Many people who are attracted to the educational field are also attracted to human services. Both professions entail helping people and both are challenging and highly rewarding. Human service opportunities can involve counseling mentally ill adults, teaching life skills to handicapped people, or providing guidance and support to troubled students. Although a bachelor's degree is usually sufficient for entry-level positions in the field, a master's degree in an area such as social work, counseling, or rehabilitation services is generally required for higher level positions.
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