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World of challenge

I am wondering how I can use my teaching skills outside the classroom.

After five years as a head of department I feel like a new challenge, but don't want to go into senior management.

There are many posts suitable for teachers, whether in company training departments, as researchers or in the many jobs supporting teachers. First you need to audit your skills: you have five years of leadership experience, presumably backed by some professional development; don't forget your teaching skills plus the academic knowledge from your degree.

Next, work out what actually excites you when you set out for work. If it is teaching, concentrate on work with other people, but in a different setting. A few examples: scientists and geographers can work in field centres; history teachers can look for work as museum officers.

Of course, you don't have to work for anyone else, but can become self-employed. Although this is not an easy option, if you have done your research properly, you can make a success of setting up your own business.

But, as you don't want to go into management, the paperwork might get you down.

Whatever you decide, don't rush into anything without doing your homework first. However, if you are ready for a change, go for it. Even if it doesn't work out as you hope, you will have gained valuable experience. And you still have your teaching qualification.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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