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Those Who Can't Do

Those Who Can't Do

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There is an old saying, “Those who can't do, teach.” Unfortunately, the current recession has created a lot of those who can't do; not out of choice or lack of talent, but due to the economic situations beyond their control. Some skill sets are on their way out, leaving those that possess them in search of new training; some skill sets are on their way in, leaving the field green both in talent and in impact. So if a layoff has forced you into the “those who can't do” category, perhaps you could find both a purpose and a paycheck by teaching the next generation of American workers.


Chances are, you had been at your job for quite some time before you were let go, as larger layoffs tend to skew towards the heavier burdens on the payroll (read: those who have the most seniority). Your experience and history became a liability. However, that experience and history could become a great asset. Unless you load up on classes, you won't be teaching English or Mathematics, or even elementary or high school students, which require specialized degrees (okay, if you have those specialized degrees, that's what you'll probably end up teaching). No, you'll probably end up teaching whatever subject you've been working in for the past 10-20 years. On the other hand, if you don't have a lot of experience, it might be harder for you to find a teaching position. Not impossible, mind you, but you'll have to broaden your scope a bit and, perhaps, take some classes (how can you finance classes on unemployment? See the “Paying for College” article).


Every state has its own laws about who can teach what, in addition to federal guidelines. It also depends on your education--what degrees you have. If you have a masters or doctorate, it's going to be much easier for you to find your perfect teaching fit; but it's also much less likely you would have gotten laid off or be unable to find work in the first place (statistically). If you have a Bachelor's Degree and a good bit of real life experience, your most likely target should be your local community or technical college. In most places, they require a Master's Degree to teach academic subjects, but rely on real-world experience and experts for most of their more hands-on classes, from automotive repair to graphic design. Of course, every community college in every county in every state is different. You'll have to do some research and check to see which is most likely to hire you (and, indeed, which ones are even hiring).


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