By Angelica Bottaro
When you reach a certain age, the idea of starting over in your professional life can seem daunting at best. It’s important to follow your heart when looking for a way to jumpstart a new career, but societal expectations and roadblocks can make it challenging to take that plunge. When it comes to becoming a teacher as a second career, pros and cons are involved, like in any other profession.
It's unavoidable because there’s always some bad with the good. But becoming a teacher can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life, and it doesn’t matter if you start as a young person, bright-eyed and barely out of college or if you’ve already spent a lifetime honing other skills and want to make the switch. If you’re looking for a second career as a teacher, embracing both the pros and cons can make it fulfilling, challenging, and the perfect choice for you.
Embracing Big Life Changes
Change is the only thing in life that tends to remain the same. The world, and your place in it, is as ever-evolving as you are. While it is a simple fact of life, it remains that life changes are terrifying. They take you out of the comfort and safety that you’re used to and throw you into uncharted territory. That alone can make these types of decisions hard to make, especially when you’re older than you feel you should be when starting a new career.
It raises the question, “Should you continue on your path and remain in your comfort zone, or do you go for greener pastures that hold some risk? The truth is, when thinking about becoming a teacher, the benefits often far outweigh the risks regardless of your age.
The Cons of a Second Career as a Teacher
Getting the “bad” stuff out of the way, we’ll talk about the cons associated with starting a new career as a teacher. The first is the commitment of time and energy. Your time is valuable, and you’ve likely learned how much so while you worked through the trenches of your first career. Once you get out of the phase that requires you to earn your spot in a given profession, your time becomes easier to manipulate to your benefit.
When starting a new career as a teacher, you’re starting from the bottom again. You’ll have to learn how to teach and work in a classroom setting and prepare yourself for the physical aspects of teaching, such as standing all day or working with energetic children that keep you on your toes. This time and energy commitment can be challenging to come to terms with.
Another roadblock is the cost. When working toward the proper credentials for teaching, you will have to invest in yourself. For some, money may be no object, but budget could be a big issue for others. It’s essential to look at it from the investment side of things and realize you’re paying for an exciting new future, but that doesn’t change the fact that cost can be a deterrent for many adults looking for a second career as a teacher. You may also start at a lower salary because you will be the new kid on the block.
The Pros of a Second Career as a Teacher
On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits associated with going for a new career as a teacher. For example, you can tap into your creative side. While schools typically have set curriculums, it is up to the teacher to create lesson plans that engage the students in their classroom.
This freedom allows you to exercise your creativity style to benefit the students and yourself. Creative lesson plans connect students and teachers and will enable you to make a real difference in the lives of the children you teach. Coming from a different profession and switching to teaching also gives you a unique perspective on how to help students learn. This “outsider” perspective is something that many seasoned teachers don’t possess.
Another great benefit tied in with having an entire career before deciding to teach is how transferable specific skills and work experience can be. For example, suppose you have a background in computer programming and are teaching students an elective computer programming course. Combining teacher training and your former work experience can make you one of the best teachers by default. You can apply what you’ve learned to lesson plans that a current syllabus doesn’t possess.
Personal growth is another benefit many people looking to start a second career as a teacher can benefit from. Not much requires you to grow as a person more than learning an entirely new profession. Teaching is likely completely different than your old job. Because of that, you’ll gain a new perspective on professional development while engaging in new challenges that help you become the best version of yourself.
Last but certainly not least is the direct impact you’ll have on the leaders of tomorrow. This is one of the most fulfilling benefits of teaching as a second career. You get to help shape and mould the minds of students who will go on to do amazing things, and making a real difference in the world is always a good feeling.
Making the Decision
Now that you know the pros and cons, it’s time to weigh your options. While the cons are often only hurdles that can be easily jumped over, and the benefits are nothing short of life-changing in the best possible way, it’s essential to know what’s in store for you as a teacher and what you can accomplish in your new career regardless of your age.
These aspects of changing careers are simply logistics. As we mentioned above, you have to follow your heart, and if the heart wants to be an educator, why not give it what it wants? The only vital details to figure out after deciding is how to go about things.
How to Start Your Second Career as a Teacher
Starting a second career as a teacher isn’t always easy, but it can be when you know where to start. The best steps to take are:
- Choosing the Right Academic Level for You: Do you want to teach kindergarten, or would you feel more comfortable with older students learning harder subject matter? The choice is yours, but you’ll have to decide before jumping into training.
- Finding the Right Place to Get Trained: Choosing the proper certification and training will arm you with the skills and credentials needed to put you in the right classroom. You can do online or in-class training, depending on your preferences.
- Working with the Right Organization to Help You Land a Job: In some cases, you can find specific certification programs to help place you into jobs after receiving your training. These organizations are beneficial in taking the strenuous job hunt out of the mix.
Knowing what could be in store for you when choosing teaching as a second career is a great way to help you get the ball rolling toward becoming all you can be.
Pre-qualify today for Klassroom's Teacher Certification Program and become a teacher in less than a year.