6 Realistic Ways Teachers Can Take the Next Step in Their Careers

Whether you want to make a career move or get your side hustle going.

Sponsored By Capella University
6 Hints for Making Your Teacher Dream Come True

We all know that teacher burnout is real. Even if you love your job, this time of year, it’s very common to be thinking about next steps and how you can recharge. But actually doing it can be pretty intimidating! That’s why we’re so inspired by these six teachers. They took their teaching background and turned it into something new and different. One of these paths might work for you too.

1. Stand out by starting a teacher podcast.

Looking to boost your résumé and get yourself more professional recognition? Starting a podcast might be just the thing to give you a new dose of energy for teaching.

Start a teacher podcast

Meet Vicki:

Vicki Davis, owner of the website Cool Cat Teacher, has a daily podcast, “The 10-Minute Teacher Podcast: The 5-Day a Week Show for Remarkable Educators Who Are Very Busy.” Podcasting five days per week might sound like a lot, but Vicki didn’t start that way. She started small, and once she had a regular audience, she started creating more shows. Vicki still teaches full time, but her speaking and podcasting has added a new, exciting element to her career.

How to get started:

Podcasting is less intimidating than it sounds. Pat Flynn, podcaster extraordinaire, has a video that walks you through the whole process. If you want, you can go all in and sign up for his free mini-course, “How to Start a Podcast.”

2. Earn your MEd. 

Have you thought about taking your teaching career to the next level? Do you dream of becoming a leader in your school or district? A Master’s Degree (or Doctorate) could be your next step. That’s what current MEd student Todd Boyer* has planned. 

*Actual Capella student who is compensated for appearing in promotional materials. 

Meet Todd:

Todd is getting his Master of Education in Teaching and Learning, with FlexPath, a new learning format at Capella University. All of his classes are online, have a flexible schedule and are self-paced. “I like that I can work around my family’s schedule,” he says. “But the biggest thing is the self-pacing—being able to start a course and finish it when it’s convenient to me.” He hopes his degree will make him a more competitive candidate for new roles in education. He’d like to pursue positions like curriculum development specialist or district technology coach. Maybe you’d like that competitive edge too!

How to get started:

Todd’s Master’s Degree from Capella allows him to tailor his route to suit his exact needs. He can personalize his studies to learn about what matters to him, and he does not have to wait around for anyone else to finish a class before he starts the next one. Plus, many programs like Capella let you transfer credits so you won’t have to start from scratch.

Bonus: Right now we’re partnering with Capella to award two full-tuition scholarships! Get more info here.

3. Become an education blogger.

Blogging is a great outlet for teachers who’d like to increase their professional status with very little investment.

Become a teacher blogger.

Meet Richard:

Richard Byrne launched his website FreeTechForTeachers, and it eventually morphed into several sister sites plus an international speaking schedule. Blogging will help you become a better writer, connect you to more teachers who care deeply about their practice, and give you a more critical eye toward your classroom. Blogging can also help you build confidence to submit articles to education publications, apply to present at conferences, or even start a curriculum store on TPT (more on that later!).

How to get started:

Darren Rowse, the blogging guru behind the Problogger Website and the Problogger Podcast, will get you started on your blogging journey with the great article “How to Start a Blog.”

4. Start a TPT Store.

If you’ve got a hard drive full of stellar classroom materials you’ve been developing for years and you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, Teachers Pay Teachers just might be the right next step for you. Who couldn’t use a little extra cash?

start a teachers pay teachers store

Meet Chris:

Chris Kesler not only started a store on the  Teachers Pay Teachers  website, he also wrote a book instructing other teachers how to do the same thing. He took his science curriculum and started selling parts of it online to other teachers. Now he’s got more than 400 products for sale and is followed by more than 15,000 teachers.

How to get started:

Start with the goal of learning new skills and improving your own classroom materials, then enjoy networking with the TPT community and gradually building up your materials and your sales. If you’re looking for a deep dive introduction to TPT, check out Chris Kesler’s free e-book 25 Things I Wish I Had Known as a New TPT Seller. It’s important to know that no one hits it big on TPT overnight, but lots of teachers find success there. They can even lay claim to a few teacher millionaires, and you might be the next!

5. Launch a tutoring business.

If you’ve managed to carve a few free hours out of your busy weeks and you’d like to make some extra money, starting a tutoring business might be for you. We even know some teachers who have transitioned fully out of the classroom and into private tutoring.

Start a tutoring business

Meet Matt:

Matt Fuentes did it and even wrote the book The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an ACT Tutor to help other teachers get started. You can tutor all subjects, work with students in one specific area, or jump on board the college prep ship and become an ACT or SAT tutor.

How to get started:

Check out the article “How to Start a Tutoring Business, ” where Matt outlines which steps he took to make this dream a reality. Printing business cards, setting clear rates, and finding local places (the public library? the community center? the coffee shop?) to do free seminars where you can attract clients are some of the tips you should consider.

6. Design teacher gear.

Chances are, more than once in your teaching career you’ve looked for a certain product and not been able to find it. Why not develop it yourself? You can use your teaching background to help inform your next step as an entrepreneur.

Create Teacher Products

Meet Bryce:

Bryce Sizemore has launched a whole line of personalized teacher planners on his site The Teaching Texan. He credits his online shop for keeping his own teaching practices fresh and up to date.

How to get started:

Start by creating a few products, then get going with an Instagram profile and network with the teacher community through hashtags like #teachersfollowteachers and #teachersofinstagram. Post well-lit photos of your classroom and your life and mix in photos of your products in action. Reach out to other members of the teacher Insta community with larger followings and offer to donate products for their giveaways or give them products to wear or post to their feeds. Once you have a sense of the direction you want to go in and feel a consumer base is out there, set up your website, like Bryce did, or sign up with Etsy, and you’re in business!

Whichever teacher dream you choose to pursue, you’ll make it your own. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you get exactly where you want to go.

6 Realistic Ways Teachers Can Take the Next Step in Their Careers