You’ve made the difficult decision to leave your position. Now what?
So many questions bombard your brain: When to tell administration? When to tell your learners? Do I tell the families? When is the right time to put in my notice? How can I step away from all my hard work and care?
We’ll take it one step at a time. It is important to keep your decisions centered on what’s best for you.
When to hand in your notice
This depends largely on what you need. Do you need to leave immediately? Are you holding out until the end of the school year?
Once you determine your needs, you can take the next step. Look up HR/District policies on leaving. See what your options are.
Then, take some time to reflect. Think about what would be best for you. Make sure you’re viewing yourself as a priority in these reflections.
Perhaps you’d like your school to have time to look for a quality replacement for you, so you want to hand in your notice sooner rather than later. Maybe you’ve been harassed/bullied by administration and want to wait until the last moment to hand in your notice for fear of repercussions.
You know best what the likelihood of these scenarios (and many more) are for you. Trust your gut.
Ensure you are weighing your needs in your plan too. Don’t solely focus on what’s best for your students – you are not in education to sacrifice your well being on the altar of “do it for the students”. There must be a balance.
Once you’ve settled on the correct timeline for you, make a plan and put it into action.
Letting admin know
Firstly, is this a requirement in your contrat? If yes, then make the best plan to protect your mental and emotional well being while being the professional that you are.
If it’s not a requirement, figure out who you are required to alert. Perhaps, you don’t want to talk to your administration about your exit (that’s very fair indeed).
One of the positions I left required the principal to sign a form to allow me to be considered for other positions within the district. He was prone to yelling at me until I dissolved into tears behind closed doors.
So, I asked him to sign the form by the front desk when lots of people were out and about. He simply politely asked if there was anything he could do to change my mind and I replied, “No, but thank you.” We left it cordial and professional.
Another position I left had a principal I enjoyed and got along with well. I emailed him and asked if I could pop by sometime that week on my prep hour to chat.
I handed him the resignation letter required by that district. We chatted briefly about the issues causing me to leave (because I believed he might do something about them).
Create a scenario that will be safe and best for you. You can have a union rep or teacher friend come with you. You can hand in your letter straight to the District Office.
Be as careful and considerate with yourself as you would for one of your learners. You deserve to be valued and appreciated!
Sharing with your students
Again, you know the reasons you are leaving this position. If contemplating sharing that you will leave with your learners causes you to break out in a cold sweat, you do not have to do it.
However, if you are feeling up to telling your students, here’s some ways to make it easier.
Plan to tell all your students on the same day. It’s likely, once you’ve told your first class, the news will begin to trickle about it.
It’s okay to tell a curious student (who’s asking if you’re leaving) that you will address it later in the period. Carve out a few minutes at the end of class to make the announcement
I recommend sharing the news on a Friday. Usually, weekend excitement pushes the announcement from their minds, and your news is no longer the most exciting thing they want to talk about by the time Monday rolls around.
Be prepared with some quick answers you feel comfortable sharing. I made sure to reassure my students that it wasn’t their fault.
I also made it a little bit of a learning opportunity. I told them that sometimes, we have to make hard choices, and it is important to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
You don’t have to answer all questions. By only leaving a few minutes to share the announcement, you could cut out the time for questions all together if that would be best for you.
Do I tell the families?
What kind of relationships do you have with the families? Does the idea of letting them know make you anxious?
You don’t have to tell the families. You can let your learners spread the news as they see fit.
You could choose to tell select families you have close bonds with. You could send an email/newsletter to all the families and share the news that way.
If an idea has popped into your head about what to do, you could try that 🙂
Whatever you decide to do (or not do) make sure it is aligned with what is best for your well being. You deserve to take care of yourself!
Now, here is the hardest and most important part: forgive yourself. You did your best and tried your hardest.
You are strong to walk away. You deserve to be a priority in your life!
You deserve to have work life balance. You deserve to be valued and appreciated.
Let go of issues, worries, problems, memories, and anything that is not yours to own. Take some deep breaths.
And onto the next adventure. You’ve totally got this!