How to Cope with Leaving a School Mid-Year

When opportunity strikes, you have to take it.

As a teacher, this can be a bittersweet thing. You have built a rapport with a group of students, and staff. Yet, you find yourself not being able to turn down a change; despite the fact that starting over is as exciting as it is intimidating. However, this happens, and whether you like it or not, it can be emotionally taxing.

I speak from the heart when I say this has happened to me several times over the course of my career. In fact, this past calendar year alone, I have gotten two new jobs.

I started off September 2016 as a teacher’s assistant with no students to call my own, despite the fact that I had been in the district for five years. Of course, I had young ones who I directly worked with and staff who saw me everyday, but it didn’t promise a future. In addition, I worked part-time, with no possibility of ever going full-time.

The following October, I was granted a full-time position at a special needs school, getting my own students and all the glorious paperwork that comes with such a job. I worked tirelessly, trying to impress, doing what I do as a person and as an employee every day without second thought.

In late February 2017, a friend helped me get an interview for a school not too far where I was working at the time. On a random Saturday, I received a call that I had got the job. Yet, pleased as I ever could be, knowing that leaving my students was going to wreck me. It did. March ended, I exited, telling parents how much their children changed me, how I rose up to the challenges before me, and how I was grateful for the time. Staff couldn’t bear to see me leave, but as they say, when one door shuts, another opens. I cannot say my experience leaving a job will parallel everyone else’s, but this is a memory that will be always burned into my brain that I wanted to share.

How can you relate to this?

Well, as an educator, leaving a job mid-year can be something that is not easy. It’s rough. You set your own goals, you meet them, or you may exceed them, and your comfort level is at 100%. Waking up each morning, you know what to expect. Teaching is never easy, but at a point, you get into the groove. You learn to respect and love  your class, along with your co-workers. Beginning something new is both equal parts terrifying but also draws curiosity.

When you depart from a place of employment for something new, make sure that no bridges are burned. Upon your exit, even if you have no plans of going back, keep connections open. Things unfortunately do happen, and you may need to rely on a former gig for help. There’s no shame in it, and with the way the educational field is right now, it is best to make sure you have every option available to you.

Leaving one school for another can be a very tough transition, so make sure wherever you were and wherever you go, the same characteristics go into every job you have. Life is full of change, and you don’t know where it may take you. Every experience is one to learn from, and it is important that while some doors may shut, the heart always keeps them open. Wherever the career journey may take you, it is vital that you bring all that you know along to build upon.

Logan J. Fowler teaches at Princeton Child Development Institute, and is also a contributing writer for, and Binge Media.'

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