How Do I Put Time off Teaching on My Resume?

There are times in a teacher’s life when you might have to take some time off from your beloved career. Some teachers want to stay home and raise their children for a while. A leave from teaching is necessary to take care of personal or medical issues. Other times, a teacher just needs to take a break or may even want to look into a different career path altogether.

Whatever the reason is, you might have the strong desire to get back into the classroom one day. Many teachers are unsure about how to account for this gap of time spent away from teaching on their resumes. You don’t want this time off to come across in a negative way, but it looks better to list that time gap on your resume than to leave it off. So, how should this be handled?

More important than the presence of a gap on your resume is your reason for having it: potential employers may fear your longevity with them. They just want to know the issue behind why you left the job. Did you get fired? Did you blow up and walk out? Did you not get along well with the other teachers? These are among some of the questions that could cause concern for a teacher leaving a position and having a gap on their resume.

Here are some ways to handle these gaps on your resume:

Be honest. 

Always be honest about the gap. If you left for a reason such as you had a baby or a family health situation, just let them know. Most employers understand these reasons are legitimate and just want to know them.  Even if it was a negative situation, be honest. It is best to not dwell too long on any personal issues into the interview and keep the focus on the job and what strengths you can bring to it.

Be prepared and confident.

It is possible you will get asked about any gaps on your resume, so be prepared. This way, you will not go into the interview fumbling through the answer, which can make the gap look bad. When you are prepared with the reason, this takes the pressure off of the gap and the employer will quickly move away from it.  

Make sure that your body language shows your confidence with your leave and the reason for it. Hold your head high and look the interviewer in the eye. Practice what you are going to say before the interview. This will help you to say everything in the way you want to say it.

List what you did during the gap in your resume.

There are several reasons people go on a teaching hiatus. Be sure to include whatever the reason you left on your resume. You might have thought about pursuing another career but ended up just taking classes or taking up a hobby. Try to find a way to connect what you did during that time away to education and your teaching career. This will help you better market that time off as having been useful to your career. 

You might also wonder where you should include this in your resume. Always include your education experience closer to the top, drawing emphasis on anything related to education. You can put everything else closer to the bottom. This way you are not leaving it off, just taking some of the attention off of it. 

Keep the focus on what you did do during that time.

There are positives in any situation. If you decided to travel Europe for period of time, think about all of the positives in that and list them. You might have worked in a career that was completely different from teaching. List your responsibilities and duties. You may be surprised to find that many of the skills required and honed during your other career may be just as useful and sought after in teaching.

Deciding to take a break from teaching, for whatever reason, can be scary. Teaching jobs can be hard to come by and you might not have one if you want to re-enter. Despite the reasons for taking this break, whether they are voluntary or involuntary, use it to the best of your ability. Taking a break from teaching is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what you did during that time.

Kara Silvers has two Master's degrees in education. She has been in the education field for over 20 years and has seen tremendous changes in it. She currently teaches and tutors online and is getting involved in doing more writing. She lives in Auburn, Alabama and is the mother to a fabulous dog named London.

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