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What can I do after 14 years of teaching middle school in the inner city? I'm ready for a change in career.
I have taught middle school in the inner city for 14 years. I've mastered classroom management and teaching strategies. I believe I am successful in my profession and I do like it. But I am looking for something that requires much less interaction with others (25 middle schoolers all day can be draining), yet still intellectually stimulating. I can't help think: what would I be like if I did something I truly love? What do I love? Hmmm...politics, writing, reading and traveling - and of course, shopping; but who gets paid for that?
Wow! It sounds like you have had an amazing and intense career so far. I can understand that working day-in and day-out with middle schoolers can be exhausting.
Are you interested in doing work in the field of education, or do you want to make a clean break and do something completely new and different?
If you'd still like to stay in education, I'm sure you know there are endless opportunities, even in this economy. School or district administration jobs, programming in higher education, working at an education-related think tank or working for an elected official as an education expert, finding a job that's a good fit at an education non-profit... I could go on and on!
If you want to try something completely new, it sounds like you've started thinking about what other things your passionate about, which is great. I'd challenge you to get more specific and concrete with those areas: what kind of work would you be doing in politics, for example? what would your day look like if your job were writing - what would you write about? who would you interact with? Try to picture it as much as possible. Then when you've gotten some more specifics, see what jobs and organizations match your interests.
And for either direction you pursue, informational interviews are, in my mind, critical to finding exactly what you want in your next career. Not only do you get to learn in a lot more detail what it's really like to work there, you also make connections that open up job opportunities in the future, or at least people to connect you with others they know. You never know who will connect you to the next great job of your dreams!
Best of luck in your search!