How to Quit a Teaching Job in the Middle of the Year

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Teaching can be a very difficult job. Not only are you responsible for the social and academic development of large numbers of children, but you also must be blessed with an outgoing personality, large amounts of patience and stellar communication skills. Teaching is a juggling act, and for some, it is too much to juggle. If you need to quit in the middle of the school year because you are burned out, or perhaps because you need to move with a spouse, do it carefully so you don't hurt your chances of getting another job in the future.

  • Plan to quit at the end of the semester. This is a natural break for most schools as well as the end of a major grading period. Doing this will allow you to wrap up your grades and bring some kind of closure to the students.

  • Arrange to meet with the principal as soon as you make the decision. The principal is the teacher's direct supervisor. If you have a team leader, meet with him or her as well.

  • Lay out why you have to quit. If it is to follow a spouse to a new job, or a family emergency, your administrator is likely to be understanding and you can ask him or her for a letter of recommendation. If you are quitting because you are having difficulty teaching, you are going to have to prove to your administrator why it benefits the students for you to quit rather than for you to work on improving your teaching practices.

  • Tell the parents. Send a letter home explaining the circumstances of your departure.

  • Tell the students. It is important to tell them after you send the letter home to the parents. Otherwise, the parents will be blindsided and unhappy about it when the students come home with the news. Alternately, you can send home a note of explanation with the students on the day you break the news to them.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't wait until the semester break to quit, consider quitting at the start of the December holidays, as this will give the replacement teacher a couple of weeks to learn the curriculum and get into your former classroom.
  • Breaking a teaching contract is a serious matter and can make it very difficult for you to ever get another teaching job. Make sure that you have thought over the decision carefully. Note that you will lose your benefits as well.
  • Photo Credit Sigurd Decroos/sxc.hu
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