You may have been offered a new dream job, you may have just decided to quick; either way you will need to formally resign from your post.
I was a little taken aback when my Head mentioned about a resignation letter straight after I told her about my new job. The word ‘resignation’ sounds so scary. I had only ever encountered it in negative situations; a teacher who resigned a term before me because of stress, a Deputy who was being forced to resign over a safe guarding issue- it never seemed to be a positive thing to do.
However, I soon realised that when you have told your current Head that you will be accepting a new post you must resign, it is a legal requirement. Here are the term dates that teachers must abide by:
To leave at the end of: Teachers must resign by:
Autumn Term (31 December) 31 October
Spring Term (30 April) 28 (29) February
Summer Term (31 August) 31 May
I got my new job in the first week of December and my Head was encouraging (almost pressuring) me to hand my resignation in by the end of the Christmas term, round about the 21st December. I hadn’t yet signed my new contract so I didn’t want to be left without any job if something was to fall through with my new job so I wanted to resign officially as late as possible. My Head kept reminding me when she saw me about my letter and she only backed off when I showed her the above dates. Eventually I resigned around the 20th February as with half term I would not have been in school to resign on the 29th Feb. It was a scary time as I had still not signed my contract but I had to resign or I would not have been able to legally start my new job.
Which brings me to the next point- the actual letter. People may disagree but I think that no matter what the circumstances are of you leaving, you must always, always leave on a positive note. If that is impossible to do (i.e. if you said positive things in your letter it would come across as sarcasm) you should always be professional.
Now I didn’t have the best last term in my school (more to come on that in future posts), in fact it was one of my worse, much worse than my whole NQT years. There were numerous occasions when I would cry in my classroom, cry on my drive home and cry at my home and I am angry that I would let another colleague (bully) affect me in such a way. I did complain, management knew about my problems (nothing was done due to different factors). On one particular low day I decided that I would name and shame this bullying colleague in my resignation letter, I would mention how she had ruined my last term in school, but then I came to my senses. No. I would not do that. I would not let any individual have that much power over me, I would not have people think that she had affected me that much. I would leave on a positive note. And I did and it felt SO good to leave with a smile on everyone’s face.
And teaching is such a small world that you never know when you are going to bump into ex colleagues again. So I wrote a nice professional letter with some personal touches. Below is a draft of my letter:
Resignation from post of teacher at X Primary School.
Dear Mrs X,
Please accept this letter of resignation from my post of year 2 teacher effective from ____________. My last day teaching in school will be _______________.
It is with sincere regret that I am leaving X Primary School. My time at X Primary has been a very positive and enjoyable experience and I have enjoyed being a part of the school for the past three years.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of your staff and all of your support since my NQT year.
As you can see I kept the letter very positive, I thanked my Head for the opportunity and I didn’t mention anything about my negative experiences with an individual colleague. I don’t know what the previous teacher’s resignation must have said but my Head came to see me at the end of the day after I had handed in my letter and thanked me. She said she was ‘really touched’ with what I had written and that made me feel really good inside. And she is right- I might see her again sooner rather than later. At a training course, a CPD session or even at a future OFSTED inspection. I’m glad I kept it positive 🙂