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Why you should consider teaching for your next career change

Have you ever thought about seeking a new career, one that is both fulfilling and inspiring? You’re not alone, and you might be surprised to learn that teaching is quite a common answer to that question.

When thinking about a career change, there’s a common concern amongst people: what if your current field of work is too different to what you want? In many careers, prior experience in a different field is incredibly valuable.

Kellie Tobin, course director for the Master of Applied Learning and Teaching (Secondary) and lecturer in Deakin University’s School of Education, is a passionate teacher and believes no matter what career you’re currently in, there’s always something valuable you can bring to a classroom.

Here’s why you should consider teaching for your next career change.

Why the change to teaching?

Do you ever wonder what it must take to be a teacher? Think back on your past teachers and what you felt made them great at what they did. Did they possess certain talents and skills? Chances are, they too may have had a different career before they started teaching.

Although there are many reasons people choose to become a teacher, Tobin explains there have been some recurring answers she’s heard from her students.

As part of the application process, prospective students are asked to write a reflective letter on why they want to get into teaching. Here are the four main reasons Tobin sees:

  1. They’re inspired by the impact a teacher has had on them.
  2. They want to make a difference to the lives of the next generation.
  3. They have a commitment to learning and education.
  4. They want to share their love for learning and education.

Bringing skills from another career to the classroom

A lot of the time, people don’t think experiences from previous careers can transfer to the next, but there are always skills you take with you. ‘Lots of my students that start later in their career, with no history of teaching, can bring in capacity and expertise from their prior profession,’ Tobin says. ‘Life experience and passion are extremely valuable things that can be brought into the classroom.’


'Life experience and passion are extremely valuable things that can be brought into the classroom.'

Kellie Tobin,
School of Education, Deakin University

Not only can you use those skills from your previous career, your life skills can also be brought into play. Even being a parent is great experience. ‘For those with children, even those parenting skills can be good practice and put to good use in the classroom,’ Tobin says.

The profession that gives back

Just like any profession, teaching has its ups and downs, but Tobin explains the collaborative nature of the profession can be extremely rewarding to be a part of. ‘Young people can be really unpredictable. No two days are the same and it’s a very exciting and rewarding environment to be a part of,’ she says.

But that’s not the most exciting part of it. Tobin explains while she may be the teacher, there’s always a facilitation of learning going both ways in the classroom. Not only does she do the teaching, she is also constantly learning from her students. ‘You are involved around that learning space as much as the students are, and it’s incredibly worthwhile’ says Tobin.

If the passion of educating future learners and being part of a collaborative learning space is something you’re looking for, Tobin recommends starting by researching how to become a teacher. Sure, the career jump may take some extra study time, but making the switch will be a choice you won’t regret.

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Kellie Tobin
Kellie Tobin

Lecturer, School of Education, Deakin University

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