Thinking of Leaving Teaching?
The Change Curve

The Change Curve

The Kübler-Ross Change Curve

Changing career is very time-consuming and you may experience a range of emotions. The Kübler-Ross Change Curve is a model introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in a book called ‘Death and Dying‘ published in 1969. This model also holds true when it comes to careers and employment. The easier it is for you to move along on your journey through the change curve, the easier it will be for you to move towards success.

Initially, there may be the shock of realising that you’re not going to be able to teach until retirement. You may be scared of leaving teaching telling yourself, “I can’t afford a pay cut!” Your self-esteem may be low, your self-confidence may be low and you may be thinking, “What can I do? All I can do is teach!” These are your biggest barriers to happiness.

A Leaving Teaching Change Curve, adapted from the five stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Even after you start a new job outside of teaching, you may still have doubts. The initial shock is when you realise that you’re no longer a teacher. You may start to feel better when you realise that you’re not stressed any more. Soon, though, the self-doubt starts. Some people report feeling that they’ve made a mistake in leaving teaching.

The new job is very different; they feel that they’ve lost their identity because they’re no longer a teacher, and some suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Some ex-teachers then report that they miss teaching. This is where depression can set in. However, when their ex-colleagues talk about how much work they’re doing and how stressed they are, they realise that they have done the right thing. They start to appreciate the gain in time, the free evenings and weekends and all the other benefits that a non-teaching job offers.

A Leaving Teaching Change Curve, adapted from the five stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, showing the emotions when you start a new job

It takes time to adjust to a new job, especially when you move from a highly stressful teaching job to a slow-paced office job. It’s all natural though.

If you have lost your sense of self and/or self-confidence then it may be worth considering getting some coaching from someone who will be able to build upon and improve your self-belief and self-esteem. This can reduce the disruption time resulting in a shallower depression caused by accelerated acceptance and accelerated change.

For more help and resources, please check out the Thinking of Leaving Teaching website homepage.

Thinking of Leaving Teaching flowchart

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