DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Not Returning to the Classroom this Fall: Where are teachers going?

by Ellie Santonato

It’s August, which means it is time to go back to school! For many CPS first-year teachers, this is when they may receive their first classroom assignment after applying to jobs all summer and when some teachers remind their principal they are not returning for the new academic year. 

During the 2022 fiscal calendar year, 1003 teachers and 43 Principals and Assistant Principals left the Chicago Public Schools classroom, according to Chalkbeat annual data on teacher resignation. The trend of teachers and leadership exiting schools in mass exudes is not new and has been happening for the last three years due to the pandemic and decreased government funding of public schools. CPS and Illinois schools have not even been hit the hardest when ranking the loss within academia. Eight states (Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington) had the highest 2021-2022 fiscal year turnover rates. The four states projected to continue to have increased turnover rates, according to Chalkbeat, are Maryland, Louisiana, North Carolina, & Washington. 

I have noticed some common themes and pain points from working with transitioning teachers in advising appointments:

Awareness of Career Paths

Overall, teachers get into academia because they believe in a forever career, but unfortunately, many teachers only last 4-5 if they stay after their first year of teaching. Current teachers and students becoming teachers are only exposed to narrow career pathways. Expanding personal knowledge helps transitioning teachers know where they can go next. 

Recognizing Transferable Skills

Recognizing skill levels and transferability is also hard for transitioning teachers. However, the ability to create lessons, convey information to children, and much more is needed in almost every field of work. Completing a skills assessment is helpful for teachers to recognize how much they do within their classrooms and beyond. 


Getting into K-12 education does not require much networking. This task that is attached to so many jobs is unfamiliar to teachers. However, transitioning teachers might find encouragement from completing informational interviews with others who have done similar work. The easiest way to begin is by speaking with other teachers who have left, getting on LinkedIn, connecting with Alumni, or joining groups on LinkedIn like Edxit-A Transitioning Teacher Community or EdTech StartUps

Combating Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is ubiquitous for any worker transitioning their career. However, when you work in education, an isolated field, you can feel like getting out is impossible, but remember so many things before you have done it, too. Working on the three bullet points above will help alleviate the impending doom of imposter syndrome. Plus, talking with someone from the Career Center or essential in your life can always provide extra support!

Where are These Teachers Going?

Good Question.

In several areas, transitioning teachers are finding a new career calling. Education Technology (commonly referred to as EdTech) and Instructional Design are growing fields, a topic we will touch on in September’s 2023 monthly blog post. More Human Resource minded folks are finding themselves in Training and Development roles and Recruitment. Others are staying in education but transitioning to more administrative roles within Higher Education. Others are exploring new avenues of work, getting into Real Estate, or working in Nonprofits. 

Now you might be thinking, how do I decide where to go next? Well, ask yourself these questions.

Do you Still Want to Work With Children or Students?

This question is a big one to ask yourself. If yes, consider other types of education, such as museum children’s programs or working at nonprofits that work with children and their families. If the answer is no, then you must think about and ask yourself, “Which skills do you find most valuable that you would like to apply in a different area?

What Level of Additional Training or Continued Education Are You Willing to Pursue?

This question is essential because if you are interested in trying something new, it may require you to take classes at your local community college or enroll in a certification program. If you’re not interested in additional education or training, consider other ways to learn about roles and responsibilities, such as networking and researching various positions. 

What Aspect of Traditional Teaching Did Not Work for You?

Consider why you need out and why you need out now! Was it your school administration micromanaging you and not providing trust in the teachers? Or do parents need to listen to your concerns about how their children are doing in the classroom? Please do not blame yourself if it is the children themselves. The pandemic has done a lot for their development. It is not you! 

Where Do you Already Have the Ins?

Finally, you have been networking, considering where your connections are and what they have available at their work or if they have recommendations on where to look. 

Resources for Transitioning Teachers 


Not sure what the future holds? Need support along the way? That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or an alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late) to utilize our services.

Book an appointment with Ellie, or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.

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