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So You Want to Leave Teaching: How Should you Proceed?

From Jon, published on 30/06/2017 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > How to Write a Letter of Resignation as Teacher

Becoming a teacher can be a great job.  No doubt about it.  Yes, you have the long holidays and yes, you can be home a good two hours earlier than those poor sardines commuting to and from the City each day, but is it an easy way to make a living?  Is it well paid?  Is a classroom a pleasant environment to spend your working life, well, working in?

Get out of teaching and find your dream job. Writing a resignation letter involves a few simple steps. Source: Upsplash,  Alvaro Serrano

The answers to these questions are a resounding no, at least if the statistics from Whitehall’s Independent Spending watchdog are anything to go by. In 2011 only 62% of NQTs (newly qualified teachers) were still teaching a year later, compared to  2005, when 80% were still teaching after a year.

These days it seems as if the problem is getting steadily worse, with more and more teachers looking into how to get out of teaching.

In 2014, 11% of teachers, NQTs and experienced ones alike, left the teaching profession completely, showing that time has done nothing to alleviate an already desperate situation.  This has left many secondary schools struggling to fill teacher vacancies, particularly in some subjects, such as Science and Maths.  It is not just the regular teaching positions either that are remaining vacant, schools have reported increasing difficulties in appointing staff to senior teaching posts and head teacher positions.

The reasons for this mass exodus are many, although there are many recurrent ones; stress, workload, low pay, bad behavior, lack of respect, to name a few.  Who wants to spend all their working lives telling pupils to be quiet and showing them how to behave properly?

Certainly not you and I, if you are reading this post with intent.

How to Leave The National Teaching Service

Thinking of leaving? How should you proceed? To leave your position as a teacher with the National Teaching Service you need to write a formal letter of resignation and give it to your head teacher, who will then inform the school’s Board of Governors of your intent to leave.

A good resignation letter can be short and concise, detailing just the essentials, i.e. that you are leaving your post and clearly stating the date on which you will be leaving.  You do not have to explain the whys and wherefores, but you should, however, keep the tone positive and upbeat.

An exceptional letter of resignation though, will achieve this and more, leaving the head teacher with a positive feeling towards you.   This will help to reinforce or establish a basis for positive references if they are ever required in the future.

Personal grievances and problems should be avoided at all costs, along with detrimental remarks about other members of staff.  Even if you are leaving the school on bad terms, writing bad comments about the staff, school or job will not bode well for the future and only serves to make you seem petty.

Leaving school for good Leaving Teaching? You’re not alone. Many are making the jump. Source; Upsplash,  Alvaro Serrano

To leave the head teacher with a good affinity towards you, you should include in your resignation letter any responsibilities you have held along with the knowledge and experience you have gained.   Contributions to the department or school should also be emphasized as should gratitude for opportunities given.

A resignation letter should also be personally signed.

Deciding When to Leave your Teaching Position

Teachers do not have the luxury of just working one months’ notice and then being able to leave, for obvious reasons. Schools would be left in disarray, pupils would be negatively affected and this would undoubtedly  impede exam success.

Teachers are obliged to give at least half a terms notice of their intent to leave and they are only permitted to leave at the end of a completed term, i.e they are not allowed to leave a the end of a half term unless this is agreed mutually by the teacher and the employer.

Therefore for a teacher to leave at the end of the school year or Summer term (31 August), notice must be given by 31 May.

To leave at the end of the Autumn term (31 December), notice must be given by 31 October. To leave at the end of the Spring term (30 April) notice must be given by 28 February.

In addition, head teachers need to give one months additional notice so their dates would be 30 April, 31 January and 3o September respectively.

The situation is different for Scotland however, unpromoted teachers only have to give 4 weeks notice and promoted teachers 2 months.

Handing in your Resignation Letter

Resignation letters should be delivered by hand to the intended recipient, in the case of teaching, the head teacher. Choose the time to  do this sensibly; make sure that they will have the time to see you and that they are not running late for something or about to go rushing off to attend a meeting. Arrange a time with their secretary to go and see them if necessary.

You owe it to yourself and them to deliver your letter without feeling pressured by time.

The head teacher will most certainly want to talk to you about your decision and your future plans.  They may even show regret at you decision if you have been a valued member of staff.  Obviously if you are leaving on bad terms you will not hang around chatting with the head, but you may wish to ‘off load’ a little, explaining the reasons behind your decision, although do this with caution.

A head teacher resigning from their post will need to hand in their letter of resignation to the school’s Board of Governors.

What ever your reasons for leaving, be sure to read up on your rights over redundancy pay.

Example letters of Resignation from the National Teaching Service 

The internet is flooded with examples and templates of resignation letters for teachers, some good, some bad.  You could choose one if you are unsure of how to proceed and then adapt it to your own personal requirements.

Wiping the slate clean and leaving teaching. Happiness at the end of the day should be highly valued. Source: Pixabay, geralt

When you have handed in your letter of resignation, you will still have to work for least a half term.

You owe it to the pupils to ensure that you are present and that your work is still good.

Having notified the school of your intent to resign is not an excuse for allowing your standards and attendance to slip. Remember, the pupils deserve your full abilities and you also want to leave the school  with a good impression of you.

You never know, in the future you may need a reference from the head teacher or your head of department so you will want to part terms with them having a positive image of your.

Now that you’ve decided to leave teaching, start to think about what you’ll do next. Learn more about tutoring jobs and online tutoring jobs at Superprof.

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