Author Topic: Former Educators Who Did Not Retire -Where Did You Go and How Has It Worked Out?  (Read 734 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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My wife is a 4th grade teacher in the US in her late 30s.  She wants out of the classroom and is not interested in pursuing an administration role.

She will likely not renew her teaching contract in May/June 2024 and wants to explore her options.  She is not opposed to some type of district-level curriculum job but I suspect she wants to leave the field of education entirely.  She has two education degrees and is a smart cookie, so I'm confident she will land on her feet doing something that will have a better pay:stress ratio and/or is more sustainable for her mental health.

Former educators who did not retire - what job did you land after leaving the classroom?  Has it worked out for you?  Any lessons to impart or recommendations on certifications/classes/training to help shape what some viable avenues might be?  She currently makes about 60k and while salary is not the primary driver behind her decision, I think that she is interested in a job that may eventually lead to higher pay.  She is tentatively planning to retire in her mid 50s from whatever she may be doing at that time.

We're in the brainstorming stage now and have a few ideas but wanted to see if any former educators on the forum had any experience or advice they felt like sharing.  Thanks!


  • Walrus Stache
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If your wife is on Facebook, there is a group called "GET OUT OF TEACHING!" that she might want to join. It's a pretty decent resource.



  • Senior Mustachian
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Formerly worked as an adjunct at the large public university, teaching mostly undergrads. Add part of the Covid displacement I found a job “in industry” where I still use my degree in my field, but with in the R&D wing of a small, for profit company.

There has been a lot of adjustment, but there is much to like. Now I’m the “industry partner” on several grants and still get to advise student, but without the tenure track rat-race. Pay is much better, but there times when my former colleagues look down on me as if I’m somehow lesser because I’m out of academia despite doing very similar things.

It’s nice that my pay isn’t dependent on “soft money” but I miss some aspects of the job. I I might co-teach a course next year just to remain relevant on that side.


  • Walrus Stache
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If you don’t mind geographic arbitrage, work overseas. With her experience she could be a curriculum coordinator or subject matter coach, or she could work in the classroom at a well-funded private international school with generally well-behaved kids. Most of these schools only support kids with no, low, to low-moderate needs.

Salaries are probably around $60-80k net, plus housing benefit, flight reimbursement, health insurance, retirement contributions, signing bonus. The school pays your taxes for you. It works out to being equivalent to making around ~$150-200k in the US.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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When I left teaching last year, I followed podcasts and a website called Teacher Career Coach.  She has quizzes, resources and many stories about teachers who have found new careers. There is also a jobs board with positions that might fit the skills of former teachers.  There are free resources, and you could also pay for the course which leads you through exercises in narrowing down options and rewriting resumes. 
in the end I took a full year off but ended up starting a new teaching job this year at a new school and grade level  The teacher salary in WA is hard to replace (with my experience and years of service), and I do enjoy the work and schedule. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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I know a couple teachers who burned out on the American system but went overseas for 2-3x the salary plus housing.  Many opportunities, apparently, world wide.


  • Walrus Stache
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I know a couple teachers who burned out on the American system but went overseas for 2-3x the salary plus housing.  Many opportunities, apparently, world wide.

Yes. Some countries are higher paying than others. For example, the Middle East is well known to be an area that pays more, as well as China.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Here are a few examples from people I know:

- English teacher turned paralegal in large firm, now runs the firm's staff side.
- Geography teacher who knew GIS started out working for a business site planning firm, then spun off his own shop.
- Started nonprofits in their area of interest, x2 or 3.
- Went to law school, x3 or 4.
- Language arts teacher turned contract writer for websites.
- Math teacher turned money manager for government, x2.
- Industrial arts teacher turned contract groundskeeper for cemeteries, which he's grown into a business with a couple employees.
- Spanish teacher who presented herself as an online marketing consultant with zero formal training, and now has way more work than she can do.
- Social studies teacher taught himself SEO work, got a job with a small shop, and spun out on his own after a few years.
- Industrial arts teacher took over the family farm.

Those are the people I can think of off the top of my head.

And for context, I'm 40.  Of the many people I know who started in public school teaching after college, I can only think of one who is still in the classroom, and she's actively looking for a way out.  The rest have all either gone to admin, gone to very nice private schools, or left education.