Instruction & Curriculum

Real Talk: How do you know when it is time to leave a school? 

We’re approaching February and many schools are preparing to distribute contracts for next school year. Teachers are thinking about their plans for the next academic year. Some teachers may even write out literal pros and cons chart to weigh their options. As you can imagine, there are various factors involved in a teacher’s decision to stay at a particular school. There are some educators who are fortunate enough genuinely enjoy their school. Their administrators are supportive, there’s the flexibility to be creative instructionally, and they’re growing professionally. 
For a vast majority of teachers, however, there’s a nagging cloud over them as they consider the real question, “do I really want to spend yet another year in this environment?” They reflect on the constant put-downs, the unsupportive administration, the overarching demands on their time. There’s a lot of uncertainty when they wonder of the should really commit to another year at a particular school. 
If you are wondering if your time at a school is up, here are some questions to reflect on: 
Is my professional growth a priority? Yes, your growth as a professional should be a priority at your school. There should be professional development that speak to your needs and the needs of your students. If you have constantly asked for support in a particular area, your administrators and/or instructional coaches ought to have provided that. 
Am I content with the same dysfunction year after year? Let’s be real. I’ve worked at a school that a lot of complacent people taught our students. These people refused to grow and were content with the way things were. They didn’t believe that their presence and instruction really had an impact on our students. 
Is my wellness a priority? We talk a lot about teacher self-care here at The Educator’s Room. The reality of the teacher shortage (more appropriately- the teacher exodus) illustrates time and time again that teachers are not being cared for. Teachers are suffering from PTSD and are flocking to therapy in masses. The weight of a teacher is heavy. If your administration doesn’t even attempt to acknowledge the reality of being a classroom teacher or show an ounce of appreciation, it’s time to go!
Would I want my own child to attend this school? I know several teachers who have left schools because they simply didn’t feel comfortable with their own children attending it. What a critical question to consider when deciding to stay or leave a school. 
There are several other questions that come to mind when pondering your next steps. Ultimately, you have to take your career into your own hands. No school is perfect, but I have been in environments that prioritize positive culture and the teachers are as happy as can be. Don’t be fooled into settling. Your life and wellness matters. 

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