Monday, 2 February 2015

Should you STAY or should you GO?

Should you stay or should you go?

The question we all will have to ask ourselves eventually.

This is something as teachers I know we don't like to talk about. Yet there comes a time in your career where you start to ask yourself if you are in the right place.This question is one that is difficult to talk about because there are some truths to the struggle with while your process the thought. 

Should you stay?

I have often thought that after five years it was healthy to leave the building you are in. Each school is nestled in it's own little social circle and with each circle come different challenges and obstacles. I have been reflecting upon this issue a lot as I have been at my school for five years. (Seriously true!)

I used to believe that after five years you should switch schools to encourage growth, to encourage change and to encourage yourself professionally. I have been rethinking this FIVE year rule as I have had a few conversations with other colleagues in other schools and other roles that have changed this rigid belief.

Instead I think there are FIVE SIGNS, not a five year rule. Here are the signs, that I think it show us that it is time to leave:

1. Your own professional learning:

We have teams of PLCs in our building. I know someone who is struggling with the professional learning community in their school. This person does not quite belong in any of the groups. It is not that this person is not willing to learn but that the learning in the school, in this community has tapered off. 
Sure, you can look to twitter and your PLN (professional learning network) but I think that there needs to be growth for you in your building. If your own learning has plateaued, then I think that it is time for a change.

2. You are not happy:

All schools go through change each year. New administrators, new colleagues and new students. This at times is enough. However, there comes a time when you have been in a school too long. You might find yourself stereotyping the children. Your expectations have remained the same because you are in the same school. You start to not believe that the students will not behave any different then they did last year for so and so....or because of their parents....or the parents are going to treat you this way...because they are those parents....etc etc.....

The negative thoughts will spill over into your teaching and you will not be at your best. Your student's deserve your best, so if you are not happy it is a sign to go.

3. Travel:

Are you where you want to be to your school in distance. There are teachers I know who do not want to teach in the community they live. Some teachers need the down time while they drive home to think and desire a twenty minute drive home. There are teachers who like the exercise of riding their bike or walking to school. Are you where you want to be for travel time? Whatever your preference, having the right fit will make you happier right at the start of the day and at the end. Less stress for you means less stress for your students.

4. Your slacking!

There could be so many reasons for this one. Perhaps you need a new scenery, perhaps your bored in your grade, perhaps you don't feel support from your admin, perhaps you don't feel support from your parents, perhaps you have just become so comfortable in your grade that it is easier to pull out the binder/folder from last year.........

There are so many reasons. You are the only one who knows the answer (and question) to this one. This could be a sign for you to move on to a new school.

5. You don't feel appreciated/needed.

I think this one sometimes hits a nerve for many. Perhaps you are a brilliant music teacher but you are teaching French. Perhaps you have been waiting for years to run your own physical education program. Perhaps you have finally become a specialist in special education and are looking to be an LRT.  

What ever your reason for feeling this way, it is a sign to chase what it is in our profession that you want. This may take time but it is out there waiting for you to take the first step.
Image from: Timebombtrading
What are your thoughts? 
Have I missed any signs that it is time to go to a new school or a new grade?
I would love to hear what made you want to switch schools, positions or areas.


  1. This is brilliant! I am so tempted to share with a colleague who I recently encouraged to consider other position after she admitted being so burned out. Hope I will make a move before I get to any of those five points. Thanks for writing this.

    1. Thank you for reading! I hope that you never feel that way either.

  2. As a person who has recently moved schools, I really appreciated your post. I agree that I wouldn't move schools because a certain number of years had passed.  For me it was tackling a new challenge, wanting to be part of something cool at a new school, recreating myself as a teacher, and wanting to start again with the learning I had made.  One thought: If we are leaving to get away from something, we have to watch that we are not taking the problem with us.  All too often the same problems crop up at a new place and it is because of our own habits and ways that we take with us.  

    Thanks for your insights!

  3. Sean as always you provide some added insight. Yes, I agree with you. If you are leaving from something...we need to be careful that it doesn't come with us. In a way, we are that "something" we are escaping. Good food for thought.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...