I am new to the school system in which I teach. If I am not coming back I am required to notify them in writing by May 1. While in theory that would give me another 2.5 weeks, I have sent an email to my building administrators and to the people in the central office with oversight over the STEM program in which I was hired to teach that I will not be returning. I had already notified my two department chairs (STEM and Social Studies) and the administrator responsible for setting schedules, because they need to be setting up teacher class loads and when classes meet, and having made up my mind not to return I did not want them trying to set up a schedule that included a set of assignments based on my particular skill set.
I do NOT have another teaching job for next year. I am probably going to be offered one in a nearby district, and have been so informed that is their intention, but they might not be able to execute the paperwork before May 1. If for some reason that does not work out, I am on the eligibility list for several districts in Virginia, and if necessary will file for more.
Why leave without another job? Because the nature of the position is being redefined and part of that redefinition is something with which I am in strong professional disagreement because I do not think it is in the best interest of the children. I made a counter suggestion, but that has already been rejected.
I am somewhat sad because one thing I like about my current job is that I see some of the same students over all four years of their high school careers. I have built relationships. I have tried to do what I can to make their learning more meaningful, not only in how I instruct, but in the guest speakers I bring in, and in the materials I find and make available through the broader program.
As far as I know people are very happy with what I do. I have had very good reviews. I have had positive comments from parents, students, and peers.
Some of my students are going to feel somewhat abandoned, including one who as I write this is visiting my alma mater, Haverford, which she is exploring largely because of our relationship as student and teacher.
But I have to follow my instincts.
I am fortunate to have some wiggle room. I only need about 1/3 of what I am currently making in order to meet my bills, because I have Social Security and a Pension. I have almost that much in savings rights now, and we will be getting back about 1/3 of that amount in tax refunds. I am paid for my current job through the middle of August (ten months pay spread out over 12 months) so I do not have to take a job just to pay my bills.
It is a bit scarey to jump like this.
I have only been looking for about a month, and a couple of opportunities I had hoped might already pan out did not.
But my gut tells me this is the right path to take.
Who knows, maybe if I am not teaching full time I will get around to writing one of the books people always urge me to attempt.
But for now - no net, no parachute, no bungee cord.
A great way to start spring break, eh?