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Can I hand in my notice during the school year and still get a decent job

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by scabbers88, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. scabbers88

    scabbers88 New commenter


    I am currently in my third year of teaching in reception and in my last performance review I received outstanding. I work in a very busy 4 form entry school from 3-11. I work hard and have constantly put others needs before my own. My line manager has some personal issues and as a result I support her. Anyway, recently my personal circumstances took a bit of a turn. My step Dad had a stroke and my mother is not coping. I live 45 minutes away from my mum so have been traveling to hers after work and then back to mine later in the evening. However, I got to the point where I got ill and I then had a break down at school on a monday morning. I have never felt so out of control of myself, as a result I have been signed off to recover from my virus as well as get some head space.

    My school is very busy and it has felt like there is a drama on a daily basis. There is some support within the team but everyone is stretched. I have not been entirely happy in my school for the last year or so and I wanted to leave in the summer but couldn't because my partner was maybe getting sent abroad with his job. I thought i could stick it out until July, however, at the moment I am not entirely sure I can. But I am worried about leaving part way through a school year, can i get work, will i be judged on being signed off sick this year (for 2 weeks) and then leaving at Easter? I have a good track record before this. I am also worried about what people are going to think. Either option does not fill me with happiness, so I am a bit stuck! Any advice would be greatly received
  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    There's no law that says you HAVE to leave in the summer. People leave for all sorts of reasons. Getting a new job for the summer term might be more problematic than, say, at Christmas or in September, but very few things are impossible. Could you survive on supply for a term while you look for a new post from September? It would put you in a good position for those posts that are advertised after the resignation date in May, and possibly give you the head space and break you need at the moment.
  3. scabbers88

    scabbers88 New commenter

    Thank you for responding. Yes I could survive, and I did think this would be a good way to find what I do and don't like in a school. However, what plagues me is leaving a class part way through. Would a future possible school think bad of me for leaving a class part way through their year? A friends mother who is a head said she would question it because it looks like you don't care about the pupils and their progress because you have a responsibility for them and their education?
  4. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Stuff the friend's mother and what she thinks - even if she IS a Head. (And this is the sort of blackmail remark that SLT make so that you feel guilty and don't leave them in the lurch.) This is about YOU and what YOU need. Teachers leave all the time. Usually at the end of term, but not always. You're not leaving a Yr11 or Yr13 exam class, you're leaving Reception. Yes you have a responsibility for students and their education, but you know who has the biggest responsibility? The Head!

    Please do NOT get caught up in the whole blackmail/guilt thing here. If you need to leave because of your own personal circumstances - family illness - then do so. You and your family come first. Far too many teachers put their families last because they feel guilted into doing too much for other people's children. Don't be one of them, or you may so very easily end up being unable to give the students anything at all, let alone your best, because you've crashed and burned.... and if that happens, you won't be able to be there for your parents, your partner or yourself either.

    Make your reason for resigning one that can't be challenged - family health circumstances is absolutely fine. You would love to stay but you cannot because your parents need you and it wouldn't be fair to give less than your best to the children while you have so many other pressures and worries.

    The kids will get over it - remember they will have many many teachers over their school life - you're just one of them.
  5. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Why is it okay then for Heads to leave mid-academic year?? And I don't see why a teacher wants to leave midyear is anyone's business? Surely no one has to justify leaving a place of employment, no matter when it may be? Or am I missing something?
  6. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Any reasonable HT is going to understand that things come up and leaving mid-way through a year is something that just happens sometimes. What happens when teachers find themselves pregnant, due during the school year and they have a class? Are they to feel guilty too because they might be leaving their class halfway through a year?

    Do not feel guilty for the choices you have to make. At the end of the day it's just a job and you are entitled to leave at the end of whichever term works best for you. If I were a HT I would hope I'd be understanding and look at the whole teacher, not just the fact they've chosen (or felt they had to) leave during the year.

    Good luck.
    monicabilongame and sabrinakat like this.
  7. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. With the best will in the world, life often intervenes and loyalty to the workplace has to take a back seat. Of course you'll get another job - heads have family and health issues too. I hope it all works out well for you.
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    She's an idiot.

    Don't listen to her.

    Yes, you'll get a job easily. As long as you are not right up the pay scale, it shouldn't be a problem at all
    monicabilongame likes this.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    This experienced head says that your friend's mother who is a head is talking utter nonsense. People leave at Xmas and Easter every year, up and down the country.
    Debs_Frazer and monicabilongame like this.
  10. scabbers88

    scabbers88 New commenter

    Thanks, tbh, my friends mum told me this when I was considering leaving part way through this year to travel and meet my partner in his new job. But that didn't work out. But it always stuck with me. Now my circumstances have changed and I think (i don't know about other schools because this is the first one I have taught in) I am in a very stressful school because of its size and location. I feel that I need to be more readily available for my family, have less drama in my day to day because it's stressing me out and find a small school that is more supportive and fun. Do they exist!? Thank you for the advice, my situation has been eating me up all week, do I, don't I, what will people think, will I get a bad reference and so on!
  11. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    You can get a decent job leaving part way through a year.

    I question as to whether you should describe your problem one monday as a break down. People who have break downs are not able to go back to work two weeks later.

    Family illness and the circumstances you describe are more than enough to make you ill. Perhaps thinking the monday as being temporally overloaded by family issues outside your control would be helpful.

    Two weeks is unlikely to be much of a handicap in the context of your career so far. It should not produce a bad reference. Apply for jobs if you want to. The school does not own you. Schools do vary. You may well be able to judge new schools with more success than your first one because you are more experienced now.
    scabbers88 likes this.
  12. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Twice in my career I've moved at Christmas. I've also had staff come and go mid year. No big deal.
    scabbers88 likes this.
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Brilliant comments and advice above.

    Just go and see your Head. Sau that you have really appreciated working in a school where has such good opportunities for personal and professional development, and with such excellent colleagues.

    However your family situation now requires you to be nearer your parents in order to be able to support them, so regretfully you will be looking to move schools as soon as possible. Ask if it will be OK to give them as referees.

    They can't really say no, but it's polite to ask. If it's a big school it might be easier to send an email than get to see the Head.


    Now read these articles. I've included some that are not relevant to you for the benefit of other people reading this.

    1. 1. Looking for a job in a school I suggest that you read these in this order

      Get the TES Jobs App

      How to set up a Job Alert

      Get ready for the application season! * * * Must Read * * *

      Why you shouldn't look at non-specialist sites for job application advice :)
      Writing speculative letters and sending CVs to schools, just in case . . .

      Jobseeking for the older candidate***NEW ***
      Are Academies right for me?

      Being on supply for ever!

      No job for induction . . .

      I got QTS ages ago, but have never done my induction year. Can I still apply for jobs as a NQT?

      The jobs have all dried up! Will there be more jobs for next term?

      Why don't schools write back when you apply, or ring after an interview?

      2. Applying for a job in a school I suggest that you read these in this order

      NQTs start here! *** N.B. ***

      Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere?

      Pre-application visits to schools

      Why you should always include an E.S. in an application
      How to get shortlisted for a teaching job *** The basic advice***

      How NOT to get shortlisted

      How do schools shortlist candidates?

      Common errors found in applications

      The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth!

      Who should be my referees?

      Can I see my references?

      Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written... ***NEW ***
      Step-by-step: How to write an E.S. *** More basic advice ***

      Executive summaries - where to start when no person specification

      Person Spec too long - how do I do an E.S.? And where do I put it? *** Beginners start here ***

      Application form: how to present long list of posts outside education

      How can I provide details of examination results?

      Can I omit, on an application, a period spent teaching abroad?

      No CPD to put on the application form!

      Best wishes
    scabbers88 likes this.
  14. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    As others have said, it is not uncommon for teachers to change jobs at Christmas for all sorts of reasons. I lost a very good assistant one Christmas because she was emigrating to Australia, where the school year runs from from January to December. I myself left my first job at the end of the Autumn Term for no better reason than a job came up at a school I really wanted to work at.

    To put it rather cruelly, people won't think you are irreplaceable, and nor should you.

    Marvellous advice above from Theo, as always. Take it ... and good luck!
    scabbers88 likes this.
  15. scabbers88

    scabbers88 New commenter

    thank you, it's what I needed to hear. My mum told me no job is worth the stress and guilt. She has also kept telling me that family and YOU come first. I wish I had listened to her first!

    Temporarily overloaded is a better phrase for where I'm at. I need to take control and look after myself instead of worrying what people will think. Thank you for putting it cruelly, it's honestly what I needed.

    Great advice on job hunting to, the job I'm currently in was my first interview and I snapped it up because I was worried I wouldn't get another offer. Can you tell I worry to much!?

    I really appreciate the advice, it's been a great support at a difficult time.
  16. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    About 5 people are leaving my school (me included) at Christmas.
    Yes people can be sulky about it but there's a resignation date there so there's no reason for it to be 'held against you'.
    Equally people go off on maternity leave at non-ends of term. Schools manage. And if they don't believe they can find good replacements then it says a lot about the school.
    Somebody at my school said that people would only advertise at Chrostmas because they're desperate and nobody would get decent applicants for those posts. Obviously schools do get good applicants (5 very good teachers are walking from my school because we're fed up being demoralised, stressed and spied on)
  17. scabbers88

    scabbers88 New commenter

    Purple carrot, what did you say when you left? Did you tell the school how you felt? Or did you just say "thanks for everything but I'm leaving".

    I went to the doctors today and they have told me to stay off this week, I have a virus which is draining me and she said stress is not helping me recover. However, I have been searching jobs and there is a school nearby that I know has a fab reputation, I know a teacher who has her children there and loves the school. Do I use my time to visit the school? Applications close this Friday, and interviews held next week. The week I go back to work...... So I'm now in a tizz again. What will my current school think of me!? If I'm off sick for 2 weeks and 2 days and then come back asking for a day to go to an interview (if I even apply and get shortlisted)...... After handing in my notice because I'm going regardless of having a job lined up! Do I just let this opportunity go, because I'm sure there will be more? Or do it and hope my current school don't kill me? I found out today that my head shouted at someone for going to interviews a couple of weeks ago. I'm really stressing about my return as it is.
  18. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    If you've already handed in your notice surely they won't be surprised if you go for an interview? Make sure you tell them about your interview and don't lie about that. As to whether you need to say about visiting when you're off sick I'm not sure about that. If you visited after a normal school day maybe that would be better, other posters will have more answers :)

    I wouldn't let the opportunity pass if you know the school is good, get the application form done and see what happens!
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Certainly you should not go to an interview when you are off sick, without permission from the Head.

    Visiting I'm not so sure about . . . probably best to play safe and tell them that unfortunately you are unable to visit. You don't have to say why.

    Best wishes

  20. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    I said I was going to be exploring promotions as the internal progression wasn't there any time soon. Very difficult to argue with those reasons- though one person further up than me is being less than aupportive. On the whole thought ive been lucky (other than 1 person, who I've already registered by concerns for record with union - no action wanted) but other staff have had shall we say a frosty response for sideways moves.
    I kept it very professional and business-like 'As you know in interested in... A post has come up... And I have made a decision to apply for it. May I take this opportunity to request a reference for the post?'
    Try to get it out of school time if you can as the mistake I made was trusting somebody to give advice who was parroting back up the chain.
    I wouldn't go to anything whilst you're off sick.
    Email the new school, say you're interested and would like some information but would appreciate discretion as you're currently off with a virus and would hate for it to look like you were being dishonest to your current school. Then if you like it, email or call your current school to inform them of yor application and request a reference.

    People move on and nobody's indispensable these days. You've got to put yourself first.

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