Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking the news...

So, friends and fellow teachers, I come to you again for some counsel.

We have recently found out that my husband received a job offer! Hooray! He has been searching since April, and it's a position he's excited about, so this is all been quite a thrilling time for him.

However, it is in a different state. And they want him to start December 1. We cannot afford to live in 2 places at once, so I'm finishing the semester here and then leaving to join him in New State. It absolutely breaks my heart to leave my kids mid-year. I find it ironic that, out of all the years I make it a goal to be more personable with my students (and thus more attached), I have to leave them mid-year. I. hate. it. Trust me, I've shed a few tears over this, and had to choke them back again as I told my principal this afternoon that I'd be leaving at the end of the semester.

I hate that someone else will be there to administer the state test to them in May. I hate that s/he won't know what we've already covered (actually, I plan on leaving a little letter just saying "This is what we've covered and what I had intended to get to in the 2nd semester." Not sure if that's overstepping boundaries, but I thought it might be helpful for someone coming in mid-year. At least s/he's not stepping into a total void, ya know?)

There's also the wonderful people I've met at school - other fabulous teachers who have become friends, not just colleagues. I'm afraid of going to a new school in an area I don't know and creating a new curriculum...but mostly, I keep going back to the kids. I want to see them finish out the year. I want to see how they grow between now and May. I want to know what they get on their state tests - in the switch-over, with anything get forgotten or left behind? Will they be prepared? (Will another teacher perceive them to be well-prepared?) (and perhaps just as selfishly: will they love this new teacher and forget all about me?) I knew when this time came that it would be difficult to leave. Three years in a school makes you put down roots. I especially hate that it's in the middle of the year; there's a natural closure to the end of school in May. Everyone's expecting it. This...well, it just sucks. But that's life.

So... how do I break the news to them? And when? I of course don't want to wait too long. But I'm not sure what will happen if I tell them "too early" when we still have 4 weeks left to go. I'm not sure how or when to have that conversation. I can't imagine telling them and then saying, "OK, well let's get out your notebooks and..." At the moment, I'm considering telling them just before Thanksgiving break; I'm thinking that will give them time to digest, recoup, and come back ready to work. But maybe that's chicken of me? Any thoughts?


  1. First all, I think telling them sooner rather than later is better. Yeah, it's going to be a hard conversation, but I think (or at least I hope) they'll appreciate your honesty in dealing with the situation.

    Secondly, I certainly don't think that leaving notes for the new teacher is overstepping your boundaries. Going into a mid0year situation I would want notes from the teacher on the students and what they've learned so far. I think anything you leave him/her will be helpful.

    Lastly (I feel like I'm writing as essay with all these transitions! Wow, nerdy English teacher...), I'm so sorry! I mean, it's awesome for your husband, but it sucks to have to leave your kids. The worst part of teaching is them leaving you at the end of the year and to actually be the one leaving instead, man, I can't even imagine how hard that will be for you.

    Good luck and I'm excited to hear about your transition and how all this goes!

  2. Oh, Rachel....I'm so sorry! It's awesome about your husband's job, but what a hard thing to go through.

    I'd definitely leave information about what you've already done with the kids - I'd want that as a replacement. And I think you can be as detailed with it as you want.

    As to telling the kids...I don't know. I'd be honest with them, about the opportunity for your husband and how you can't afford to be in two places. I'd think most of them will understand that. And I'd be honest with them about how sad you are. All the stuff about wanting to see them grow, wanting to see them finish - tell them that. You know that I'm a big proponent of telling kids that we love them. :) Same thing. And you can always give them an email address, one you create just for them if you don't have a new district one yet, and ask them to stay in touch.

    Will they love their new teacher? Maybe. Honestly, hopefully - you want them to have a good rest-of-year experience. Will they forget you? Absolutely not. The ones who love you will always love you. We don't stop loving someone just because we start loving someone else too. We don't forget those we love.

    I don't know when you tell them. I think before Thanksgiving makes sense. You could even work it into a lesson on thankfulness even when not everything is perfect - something about being thankful about your husband's job and about all the time you've gotten to spend with them even though you hate that you have to leave them. And then you can also make it clear that you'll be leaving information for their new teacher about how far they've gotten so they can't just slack off in the meantime. :)

    At least you're leaving for a good reason.

  3. Woa! Ok... Congratulations for Nathaniel! I will call you soon to hear more details!
    And I agree that leaving information would be very helpful, and not bossy at all. It would be hard to come in the middle of the year.
    Lastly, I wouldn't tell the students until closer to the end. I guess it's different because you have Honors Students, but I feel like high schoolers have a tendency to "check out" and I'd be afraid they'd be like that if they knew you were leaving. Foolishly of course, but I think they tend to think that their work doesn't matter because you're leaving. Also, be prepared for the whole school to know by 2nd period on the day you do tell them. :/ Unfortunately, students will tell each other no matter what. (At least mine did!)
    Again, what an exciting transition! I can't wait to hear more!