There are some really cool aspects to being a teacher and an educator, and we’d do well to remember this a lot of the time.
Those moments that occur years later where we see our former student’s blossom in to great men and women, great musicians or whatever discipline you teach, is a gift of true reward. Although the application of skills and creativity came solely from them, it fills us with a rush of fulfillment, as if we were fundamental in their journey and are partly responsible for their success. Also the buzz of delivering a great session to a collection of hormonal teenagers who were actually too engaged in the session to flick through Facebook 115 times as usual, is in itself a small victory that only teachers will understand. Unfortunately, the ‘little things’ that make the big differences in our job are oftentimes overshadowed by the not so pleasant elements of the role.
The problems that lie within the job of a teacher (particularly here in the UK) are nothing to do with the actual teaching bit itself. In fact, if all we did was teach then what a great job we’d all have chosen as a career! The problems seem to always arise from the decisions made high up in the education sector, that gradually trickle their way down the filter until they land in our overpopulated, understaffed, under-resourced and insufficiently funded teaching spaces.
The continual funding cuts which alter the game year on year, the distribution of hours amongst those who should not be teaching certain subjects, the irony of your ‘go-to’ guy in middle management being off with long term stress. What about the weekly ‘Sunday night syndrome’ insomnia bouts that leave us driving to work on Monday wearily wondering what nuclear bombs are about to explode before us, as well as whether or not you’re starting to develop a mental illness. Any of this sound familiar?
Well, things don’t seem to be getting any easier do they?
Teaching is now not even a very well paid job!
Have you wondered why you're always so broke these days?!
It took me a few years to get there, but I eventually got to my wage cap of around £34,000 as a lecturer. Now then, I’ve been teaching since 2009, and the amount of money I’d be getting paid back then is grossly different to now!
With an average yearly inflation rate of 2%, my £34,000 a year in 2009 is now only worth £27,585.17 in todays world! Not to mention how much more difficult the job is now, and how just getting the funding to make your course function properly is like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone!
The thing that really tipped me over the edge however was that travelling and seeing the world is as good as impossible for a teacher, unless you permananty re-locate. Travelling anywhere in between terms and semesters can double the price of the plane journey and accommodation, a decision that will need some serious planning in advance on a teachers salary.
I first discovered my love of travelling in 2015 where I took a three-month sabbatical from my position, re-mortgaged my house and drove around America in a muscle car, and without meaning to, ended up on some kind of journey of self-discovery I guess. Needless to say, I was hooked and knew that from that moment forward I couldn’t keep on with my life in my teaching job.
In 2016 I resigned from my position and I’ve got to be honest, it took me an entire year to do it. Quitting a teaching job is nothing short of terrifying, particularly when it’s all you’ve done for the last 8 years. Some of the common noises inside your head at this point in time will sound like this;
“What else am I actually skilled to do besides teach?”
“How am I going to be able to afford to re-skill whilst paying the bills?”
“I can’t go from a job where I’m at the top of the pay scale to an entry level position, I can’t afford to!”
And in a way, this is what teaching does to us. It controls our entire life so that our free time, opportunities to see friends and loved ones and opportunities to travel revolve entirely around our term time schedules.
So what is this article actually about?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Believe it or not, this article wasn’t written to slate teaching, nor to try and persuade you that your job is good or bad. The reason I wrote this article was to share with you my experience, as well as how I got out of the game.
I had known for a while that I wanted to get out of teaching, but I was scared, and also I didn’t quite know how to make my exit or what to go into. After all, by the age of 30 you’re supposed to have figured out what to do, right? Re-skilling at this age would feel like taking two steps backwards.
I guess the first step to progressing in any field is to first admit and accept that we want our situation or circumstances to change, and to next decide that we are prepared to put in the work to make these changes happen. This can be a difficult thing to accept, particularly when we get towards the top of a ladder, like that within teaching. Despite how daunting it is on first impression, the truth is there's an abundance of job opportunities that are literally made for us, having acquired the skills we have from teaching.
Off the top of my head; leadership, micromanagement and communication are three key traits we master as educators (obviously we all know by now that we are also semi-professional councillors, agony aunts, b*llshit detectors... but let's not go there). These skills are fundamental in a whole range of different roles in this world, but in my experience, perhaps none more so than in digital marketing and in the plethora of job opportunities that exist online. As a leader (list builder), you can educate and empower people to strive towards ways of improving their lives. To be successful in this, you communicate clearly, regularly and transparently with these people, ensuring they progress under your supervision and guidance. Kinda sounds like teaching, doesn't it?! (insert thinking emoji)
If you're serious about re-skilling and changing your 'work' circumstances, i'll share with you a link in just a sec to the education program I studied did last year, which i'd go as far as to say has changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, affiliate marketing and all things digital is not a lifestyle for everyone. The subconscious security that arises from a routine of getting up each day and going to a workplace is what keeps many people going, so for those who enjoy this process, keep doing what you’re doing.
I however, am really not one of those people. As well as being grounded (location wise) in a position, I’ve always hated the way that me adding immense value within my role is causing somebody else a huge amount of success and money (sounds strange for a teacher I know, but as a course leader when your course is successful and your numbers each year increase through your work, you in turn make that school or college more money, not yourself!). I made a pact with myself when leaving this position, that from here on I would try to ensure that the time and energy I put into a job will directly affect my own income if done successfully. Because let’s face it, if you’re an amazing and inspiring teacher, not only is your wage capped for ever and ever A-men, but year on year you are likely to receive funding and resource cuts until you finally decide to change career!
I must confess, the whole concept of anything 'digital' freaked me and my technophobe brain out at first when I kept hearing computer terminology. But to be honest, the more conference calls I jumped on throughout the process and the more communication I had with this amazing community, the more I learned that affiliate marketing really isn’t software engineering! In fact it’s far from it. The learning of such news contributed greatly to my heart rate returning to normal.
Feel the fear and do it anyway?!
Well, sort of, but make your other income stream start working for you before just jumping right in, surely?!
In my opinion, the very first thing to do if you decide that you want to change career, is to make some revenue come in from your ‘second train’ so to speak. Throughout the process of learning these digital skills you'll also have the opportunity to work as an affiliate of the company and 'earn while you learn' so to speak. I personally am not the type to dive in blindly without a safety net.
And so, the laptop life is very much my life these days, teaching is a long and distant memory. No more Sunday night insomnia, no more colds and flu’s caught every six weeks, and no more being grounded to one spot, as all you need to work in affiliate marketing is a laptop and some half-decent wifi. Sure it isn’t an ‘easy way out’, nor does this line of work offer any promises of getting rich quick or getting paid for doing nothing. The truth is, the laziest among us will find it incredibly difficult to re-skill in preparation for the digital revolution, which is well underway. When you consider, it is predicted that 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years, one can’t help but wonder what state the education system will be in by that point, after two and a half decades of further funding cuts.
Sometimes I have strange dreams that I’m back in the College, stressed out about the workload. It’s really nice waking up at times like that.
Oh, here's that link by the way. Watch this quick vid, put your email address in and recieve a load of info gold on how to get cracking with digital marketing and get a free 30 day trial of all the necessary resources etc.
Good luck and don't let 'em get to ya ;)