Job Exit Strategy For Teachers


How to Leave a Teaching Job Gracefully

Are you a teacher thinking about how to leave teaching? If so, I want to reassure you that you are definitely not alone. My Facebook group, Educator 2 Entrepreneur with Suzanne Klein, is full of teachers wondering that very same thing. They ask questions like, “How do I know when it’s time to leave teaching for a new career?” And, “Is it possible to leave teaching in the middle of the school year?”

Let me give you some of my best advice as I address these questions and guided many on "how to leave a teaching job gracefully", even in the middle of the school year, with a "job exit strategy for teachers" like you.

Need more clarity in your life? Teachers who leave teaching can do so well in most things they do that involves leadership skills. And to utilize your many talents you possess as an educator, I’ve got a solution for you! The Next Steps Road Map is a resource guide packed with self-assessment activities that will help you figure out where you are now and where you want to go. I’m offering it at a special price of only $7 (for a limited time). How often can you buy something that will give you peace of mind for only $7? Pick yours up today! 

Quitting Is Not Always the Answer

Let me be clear that I’m not telling you to quit your teaching job. It’s not my place (or anybody else’s) to make that decision. What I do know is that there were times in my career as a teacher when I felt like walking away, but I didn’t. Why? Because I knew my troubles were temporary. 

I was frustrated at the moment, but I knew that things would get better. That teacher who seemed to have it out for me wouldn’t stay forever (she transferred to another school). The bumpy process of transitioning to a new curriculum would be for the best (it was). When I had to deal with an exasperating parent, I knew it was only for a little longer (just until that school year ended). 

One of the best parts of teaching is that every fall is a new start. Sometimes instead of leaving the teaching profession altogether, teachers just need a change. Perhaps it’s teaching different content, moving to a different grade level, or changing to a new school that improves the situation. If you can hold on until the next school year and make a change, you just might find the fresh start and clean slate that you need.  

If you’re truly torn and just not sure if you should leave the teaching profession, keep teaching. I have this saying that goes, “Status quo until you know.” Of course, if you stay, you’ll want to make sure that you are still doing a quality job for your students and for yourself. But at least this way, you’ll have a safety net while you figure it out.

Deciding whether to quit teaching or not is a life-changing decision, so I want to offer you some guidance. As I mentioned in my last blog post, Top Career Alternatives for Teachers, I have a tool that can help you make this decision with logic instead of emotion. It’s called the Next Steps Road Map and it’s a resource guide that has already helped so many teachers with this exact choice. I hope that you’ll check it out because it will help you to do what you know is best for yourself.

Feeling Guilty About Leaving

Maybe you already know that you’re done with teaching. You know in your heart of hearts that moving to a different grade level or school won’t change anything. Or, perhaps, you’ve tried making a change and it didn’t help. You clearly know you don’t want to teach anymore… but you’re feeling bad about your decision. There are 3 facts I want you to know if you’re feeling guilty about your decision to leave teaching:

#1 Quitting does NOT equal failure. 

Contrary to what other people might say or how you yourself might be feeling, you are not abandoning your students. Teachers leave teaching all the time for various reasons and there are procedures in place for this. A suitable replacement will be found. Also, quitting doesn’t mean that you can’t do the job or “couldn’t hack it”. It means that you are prioritizing your mental well-being and physical health. Quitting teaching does not equal failure because you are successfully taking care of yourself. And that’s important.

#2 Teaching IS getting harder. 

Not only is teaching getting harder, but it’s going to keep getting harder. Negative, aggressive, and even violent behavior is on the rise in classrooms across the world. Dealing with difficult parents (from uninvolved parents to over involved parents) will never go away. Expectations are getting higher and higher, and teachers are finding it difficult to confine their work to the school day. And, of course, there’s the matter of pay and compensation. Challenges within the teaching profession only seem to be increasing. 

#3 Your teaching skills can make a difference outside of the classroom. 

For instance, the teachers and former teachers who I coach through my program, Bridge to Possibilities, usually feel like they are having an even greater impact on the world even though it may not be through working directly with children or adolescents. They’re using their teaching skills with a new audience, in a different way. 

Leaving the Teaching Profession

Every action has a reaction. So, no matter when you quit teaching, expect that there will be some sort of consequences.  It’s important to know what they are ahead of time, so you can be prepared. I also want you to think about how to quit teaching in the middle of the school year, and the complications that it can cause.  Here are some tips to consider before you resign from your teaching position:


  • Resigning from teaching in the middle of the school year is not ideal. I’m sure that you realize this. Try to stick it out until the end of the school year if possible and do the best you can. Provide quality work. Overall, on the scale of your lifetime, this is just a blip on the radar. 


  • You will likely be asked some questions when you tell the administration that you are leaving (ex. why are you leaving?). Consider ahead of time how you will answer. It’s my recommendation that your response is diplomatic and respectful. You are free to be vague with your answers because it’s really nobody’s business what you do.


  • Look at the rules in your state and district. Read over your contract. This is especially important if you are leaving during the school year. Sometimes there will be penalties such as suspending your teaching license. If you’re done teaching, you may not care, but it certainly would be good to know.


  • Talk to the human resources department or the union representative in advance. They will be able to make you aware of your options and any possible penalties. It’s better to know this as you plan than to be blindsided with this information. It can guide you on how to leave teaching in a way that works for you.


  • Make the decision that is best for you. We only have one life to live here on this earth, and we need to make the most of it. Only you can decide what is right for you.


Remember, you can rewrite your future, and I can help you with "how to resign from a teaching position gracefully" and much more.


Earlier, I mentioned a guide that can help you if you’re considering quitting, or have already decided that you will, but you need some more clarity. It’s called the Next Steps Road Map, and I’m offering it for $7 (for a limited time). 


Stay savvy and focused!

~Suzanne 💜

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