Is Teaching No Longer Your Purpose?



A big hello and welcome to all of our educators around the world that are viewing this tremendous conversation that I’m gonna be having. I’m Suzanne Klein, I'm honored to be able to interview some incredible educators-turned-entrepreneurs, and today’s guest is all that.


So let me introduce you to Michelle Stimpson she's going to talk about Purpose Freedom. Thank you and welcome, Michelle.


Thank you so much for having me, Suzanne. It's my pleasure to be here today.


Excellent. Thank you. So, just a quick introduction of Michelle. She's taught third through twelfth grades in Dallas, Arlington, and Cedar Hill, Texas. Go Texas! She’s also a bestselling author who has combined her love for reading, writing, and teaching into more than 50 books and short stories. That's a lot of writing! She's going to share one of her books with you, and do a brief reading from it as well.

When Michelle left the classroom over 15 years ago, she remained in the field of education, consulting and coaching while writing and publishing. So, let’s jump right in!

Thank you for sharing your story with us today. Could you could say a few words about what you hope to share with our listeners today?


Certainly. Thank you again, Suzanne, for having me. One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this forum is because I want teachers to recognize that options exist. A lot of us know that our purpose is to help people, to share information with people. I think it's important that we recognize there are many ways to do that. Your purpose and what you're doing right now in this season of your life need to align, so that it's fulfilling for you as well as the people you’re serving.


You know, a lot of teachers are scared to leave teaching. The paycheck, the health care, the pension—that keeps some people feeling stuck, thinking “What else can I do?” I get it; I was there, too. I leaped, and left all three of those things behind; you did as well at one point. So did you have a lot of money before you left teaching—a big inheritance or what? How did that work?


So when I left the classroom, I didn't have a big nest egg. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I realized I might make less to begin with than I did as a teacher—which wasn't a whole lot in the first place—but I was willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of my family, and because I just knew there was more I wanted to do. Not that teaching can’t be the core for somebody else but there are things that I wanted to do in that book that just kept scratching and itching me right. So I had to get out there and do those things. I also wanted to be an example for my children. 

But I do think it's important, having worked with teachers over the years, to say this again: if you don't want to be there, you're not helping anybody. You're not helping the kids. Kids know when you don’t want to be there, and it's not healthy for you, or them, if it's not what you want.

You may leave and find out, “Oh my gosh, teaching was the best thing I ever did! I cannot wait to get back!” If that happens, you will come back with a new appreciation for what you do. You will have made sure that you're attached your own purpose, because you took the chance to examine it.


Very inspirational and well said. And I love that you realized how important it was to be open and available. And truly, the universe can't bring you what you need until you step forward and say, “OK, I'm going to get unstuck. I'm going to do what I must to fulfill that need inside me, to do my purpose work.” I think what you said was excellent and beneficial to teachers who feel like they want to do more, learn more, and be more, but they feel trapped by money fears.


That, to me, is the whole purpose of this book. And I want to be clear: I didn't write it to try to get people to leave the classroom; we desperately need teachers who want to be in the classroom. The last thing we need is for great, happy teachers to leave—that would be a massacre. But I think the ability to love teaching and be great at it is a gift.

But If you do decide to leave, if you feel “this is the time for me to try something different with my gifts and talents,” it's important to recognize there's more than one way to do that. There are plenty of avenues open to teachers; I mean, teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever done in my life. Once you can do that, and do it well, you have no idea how marketable those skills are—the soft skills of speaking to people, reading data analysis, project management. As a teacher you do these things every day. Leaving the Classroom helps teachers recognize the gifts they have and how to package those gifts in ways that benefit themselves and others.


And those are the educators I’d love to help. The ones who are starting to feel they're ready to make that move, and who need ideas for things they can do right now while they're still in the classroom to prepare to test their ideas. Think about their niche, their purpose. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for saying that.

And I love that you mentioned the Internet, and how for the first time we have so many more opportunities open to us, like being able to Instagram the CEO of a Fortune-500 company. We've never been able to do these things before; the access to technology and software makes creating an online business so much easier today. Anyways I digress but I did want to mention that. 

So we are coming to an end, we are actually at the end. Thank you again.


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