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Do I Put in Notice for Quitting a Teaching Job?

by Jan Archer, studioD

If you're wondering whether to put in notice before quitting a job, the answer is almost always, assuredly, "yes." Putting in notice allows your employer to respond to the void that will be created when you leave. Your employer's first priority is to keep production up to standards, and having notice of your departure will help her set the hiring process in motion. As a teacher, notice is crucial because you'll be leaving your classes without a teacher or professor to lead them. Consider a few items of importance before you walk away from your job.

Give Notice As Soon as Possible

Whether you teach at a college or at a grade school, you'll need to give notice as soon as you can when you know you're leaving. The students' records must be handed off to a replacement teacher who will need to prepare to pick up where you left off. This process can take several weeks if there are applicants on hand to consider. If there aren't, the process of finding a replacement professor could take months. In some cases, other professors or teachers must pick up the slack when you leave mid-term or mid-semester. Certainly, sometimes leaving a job is inevitable, but giving as much notice as possible helps everyone in the equation.

Issue a Resignation Letter

Put in a formal resignation letter. This is a step you should take after you've talked in person with your bosses, since you don't want the letter to catch them off-guard. They will advise you about when and how to submit your resignation letter. For instance, they may want you to wait until a replacement is found. Make the resignation letter a formal letter, and make sure it contains three components: Your job title and job number if one exists; your official date of resignation; and your contact information. Make sure you include a personal e-mail address, since your school e-mail address may not be active after you resign, and give a current telephone number and address. The school or department may need to reach you with future tax forms, questions, or paperwork. You also may choose to include a goodwill message in your resignation letter, such as a thank-you for the enriching career opportunity or a positive explanation for your transition. Avoid pointing to negatives, as these are best discussed in person.

Talk to Your Students

If you need to leave a teaching job mid-term or in the middle of a semester, sit down and explain to the students the reason for your departure. It's unsettling to have a teacher or professor leave a class, because the students have built a sense of trust. Don't just find a replacement and check out. Plan to go into the classroom, explain, and introduce your replacement, if you have the opportunity. The students will likely understand and appreciate the chance to say goodbye. They'll probably feel hurt or cheated if you disappear with no word.

Try to Quit Between Terms

If you must leave the teaching profession, do everything you can to leave during the summer, the winter break, or between terms. It's much easier for a department to find a replacement and start a new class with a professor or teacher who will see the class through from start to finish. If you quit in the middle, grades, paperwork, and lesson plans must be transferred over to a new teacher who doesn't know the students and may not know your teaching style.

Maintain Strong Ties

An education department or school faculty is more than just a job you fill. It usually involves a community, and your fellow teachers consider you to be a member of their team. Give a proper farewell by speaking with fellow teachers and bosses about your transition and making the necessary arrangements to stay in touch professionally. You may need a recommendation or a reference in the future, and it's always important to maintain a good rapport with past supervisors who might recommend you. Giving notice is more than just following procedure. It's professional, polite, and can save your reputation.

About the Author

Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.

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