Kai Ryssdal: There are more than five million teachers in this country. More people teach than do almost any other job. But layoffs in the last few years have forced a lot of those people to rethink their careers. We've been hearing from some of them on their next steps. Michael Kane recently married another out-of-work teacher. They've moved back in with his parents in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Michael Kane: Back in the mid to late 1990s, everybody was talking about how we wanted the best and brightest to be teachers. So from very early on, when I was even in high school, I wanted to be a high school history teacher.
I started teaching in the fall of 2000. I've had four different jobs in education since then and three of those four jobs I was cut due to budgets.
It's been very challenging to move back in with my parents after having lived on my own for almost 20 years now. There's a lot of rules that I have to get reacquainted with. They were very kind and very generous to help us out but, yeah, it is kind of a disappointment.
I've been searching for work now for about six months. I've applied with campaign offices. I've applied with gas station management positions. I've applied for sales positions in insurance and retail. There's just such a surplus of teachers out there right now that it's really difficult to even find a substitute teaching job to get you through until you find something more permanent.
I always wanted teaching to be my lifelong career. The joke is that with history teachers, they don't retire, you carry them out feet first.
When you have a dream for 20 years -- and when parents come to you at conference night and they tell you, "We just wanted to meet you because our son or daughter comes home every night and talks about what they learned in your class today and they're so excited about your class" -- it is very frustrating to then say I now have to go look for something else just because of the economic situation of it.
My wife hasn't taught yet, and so she's looking to get her foot in the door in education, and I'm ready to leave. I try and talk her out of being a teacher on a weekly basis, but she has such great skills with students I don't think there's any way I could dissuade her -- and I don't think I'd want to.
Our education correspondent Amy Scott produced that for us. We've got more stories of teachers looking for Plan B here.