Fredericton — The new school year is quickly approaching, which means New Brunswick’s many unemployed teachers are feeling pressure to either leave the province or find a new line of work. Good news for local retailers, who, due to budget cuts to education earlier this year, are in great positions to snag smart, educated individuals for only minimum wage.
Steve Burrows, the general manager of Staples Fredericton has just hired 3 certified teachers to help the office supplies store handle its back-to-school rush.
“It’s just fantastic,” the manager beamed. “Teachers require very little training for this stuff because they already have an inside knowledge of what students and teachers will need for the classroom this fall. I mean, who can sell school supplies to a teacher better than, well, a teacher?”
Tamara O’Donnell, a recent graduate from UNB’s education program, applied for teaching positions in school districts all over the province, with no luck. That is, until Steve Burrows approached her with a different offer.
“Well my teachable was computer science so Steve wanted me in his technology sales department,” she detailed. “Computer science is an innovative field that’s constantly changing, so I got into teaching to show kids how to keep ahead of it. Selling computers allows me to explain to uninterested consumers why the $900 laptop is better than the $600 one. That’s sort of the same, right?”
According to Burrows, many of the reasons people get into teaching are also great reasons to get into retail.
“A lot of teachers enter the profession to get the joys of working with children,” he explained. “In retail, you get the joys of working with adults who act like children. Or maybe you see teaching as a way to inspire change… well, being a retail cashier is a way to count change.”
Making the move to retail is nothing new to the teaching community. In 2001, for instance, history teacher Jonathon Sutherland quit his job at FHS to work for Canadian Tire.
“I just saw teaching as a dead end,” he confessed. “Retail, on the other hand, is a field with a future. For example, when I first came to Canadian Tire in 2001, I started as a part-time stock boy. And just last Christmas, a mere 14 years later, they promoted me to full-time stock boy.”
So for all those New Brunswickers who can’t seem to make teaching work as a fallback career, the doors will always be opened automatically at any retail store.