A bad teaching job can feel like death by a thousand cuts. In some school districts, teachers are often left to sink or swim on their own, without support from the administration. Therefore, it’s quite common for teachers to quit mid-year or even sooner. According to some estimates, up to twenty-five percent of teacher turnover results from teachers resigning before the end of the school year.
There are consequences when a teacher breaches a contract by quitting before the end of the school year. Your teacher contract likely includes provisions regarding the amount of damages you must pay if you resign from your teaching position before the end of the contract.
Are you thinking about resigning from your teaching job mid-year?
Quitting your teaching job mid-year is possible, but it’s not as simple as giving a two weeks’ notice. The process of breaking your teacher contract can feel overwhelming. So, after you’re done reading this article, I hope you have some clarity about resigning from your teaching position mid-year.
After dealing with unruly students, ornery parents or low pay, frustrated teachers are ready to call it quits. Every year, about eight percent of public school teachers quit.
How to decide to quit your teaching job in the middle of the year?
Quitting your teaching job, especially if you went into the profession loving it, can be the hardest decision you’ll ever make. But, if you can’t stomach the job, the administration, the school, or the overall environment, you might have to leave your teaching job just to keep your sanity.
Even if you feel miserable in the classroom, you might feel guilty for wanting to quit your job.
As you consider resigning from your teaching position mid-year, you might ask questions like:
- Am I being selfish for wanting to quit my teaching job?
- What kind of a teacher would walk away from a teaching position in the middle of the year?
- Am I a failed teacher if I quit?
But, you are an adult, and if you can’t go on in your current teaching position, you have to quit.
What happens if a teacher quits in the middle of the year without notice?
You cannot just quit in the middle of the academic year without notice as a teacher. In other jobs, people quit without notice, and they don’t have to worry about sanctions, but that’s not true in the teaching profession.
Once you sign a contract, you are legally bound by the terms of that contract. If you quit in the middle of the school year without notice, you are in breach of contract. In theory, the school district could sue the educator for breach of contract. Even if the district doesn’t sue you, they are likely to send a complaint letter to the state commission for a contract violation standard.
The best approach is to ask to be formally released from your contract to avoid possible sanctions. You can submit your request, in writing, to your school principal. In your release letter, make sure to include a detailed explanation of why you are forced to resign before the end of the school year. It’s even better if you offer a 30 or 60-day notice if possible.
How do I resign from a teaching job mid-year?
Resigning from a teaching position during the school year should be handled as professionally as possible. Before you begin the process of resigning from your teaching job, think it over to make sure it’s the right decision for you and your professional career.
Are you quitting your teaching job in the middle of the year for ethical reasons?
As a teacher, you might encounter ethical lapses on the job. However, ethical issues can also be personal, such as whether your teaching job helps you achieve the work-life balance you seek. It’s quite normal for ethical issues to influence your decision to leave your teaching position.
Resigning from your teaching position can be extremely stressful. You might contemplate the decision to quit teaching for weeks, months, or even years.
Ethical reasons to leave your teaching job mid-year might have to do with chaotic school administration or larger school district issues. Ultimately, the decision to resign from your teaching job might have to do with the school district’s integrity.
You might want to leave your teaching job for ethical reasons, but there are ethical concerns about the timing of your resignation. In addition, if you are a teacher, your role isn’t easily replicated; it would be prudent to finish the year before you resign.
If you are dealing with an unethical environment, resign as soon as possible. Your resignation should be tendered in writing and specify your last working day.
Is it legal for a teacher to resign mid-year?
Resigning from your teaching job in the middle of the school year may be considered a breach of contract. And your school district may have your teacher’s license suspended for some time if you quit mid-year. In addition, there may be other penalties specified in the contract you signed.
Generally, teachers are required to give a 60-day notice when resigning. However, if you leave employment before the end of the academic year, you could be guilty of misconduct, and the Commissioner may suspend your teaching certificate. Also, a letter of censure could be placed into your record, if you resign in the middle of the school year. While a letter of censure is not a legal measure, it serves as a formal reprimand. But it could make it more difficult for you get a teaching position at another school district.
If you are lucky, the only real long-term penalty you would suffer if you left before the end of the school year is that you would be ineligible for rehire.
What are the consequences of resigning from your teaching job in the middle of the year?
When you leave your school, you need to continue to be a responsible teacher. No matter your experience in the classroom, don’t accuse your former school. If you want to share any concerns or suggest improvements to the school administration about the school district and the overall school environment. In that case, your exit interview is the perfect opportunity to do so — in a professional manner.
You should also be careful about discussing your teaching experiences when interviewing for new teaching positions. School administrators will take careful note when you respond to their questions about why you left mid-year.
How to get out of a teaching contract mid-year?
For some teachers, it’s easier to get out of a teaching contract in the middle of the school year than for others. For example, if you are a teacher in a private school, you may be an at-will employee. Therefore, you can terminate your teaching contract with the standard two weeks’ notice to your school.
If you are a public school teacher with a one-year teaching contract, you are required to fulfill the obligations during that school year. The best way to exit your teaching contract is to ask for a formal release. If you have an emergency need, you may be granted a formal release.
But there may be personal reasons a teacher might want to get out of a contract, such as:
- A job offer from another school
- A military spouse who is forced to relocate
- Family illness, childcare issues or other personal hardships
And there are situations where the teacher considers the school environment toxic and cannot continue working due to mental health concerns.
What happens if you break a teaching contract?
If you want to get out of a teacher contract, you must follow and comply with the school district policy for release from your contract. Working with your school district should help you avoid any disciplinary action by the state against your license or certificate.
A suspended certificate may be reinstated later, but the process can be time-consuming. To get your teaching license back, you may have to attend multiple board meetings through the action of pulling your teaching certificate and the appeals process.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice.
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