Becoming a teacher can be a great job.  No doubt about it.  Yes, you have the long holidays and you can be home a good two hours earlier than those poor sardines commuting to and from the City each day, but is it an easy way to make a living?  Is it well paid?  Is a classroom a pleasant environment to spend your working life, well, working in?

The answers to these questions are a resounding no, at least if the statistics from Whitehall's Independent Spending watchdog are anything to go by. In 2011 only 62% of NQTs (newly qualified teachers) were still instructing a year later, compared to  2005, when 80% were still in classrooms after a year.

These days it seems as if the problem is getting worse, with more and more instructors looking into how to get out of professional education.

Get out of teaching and find your dream job.
Writing a resignation letter involves a few simple steps. Source: Upsplash,  Alvaro Serrano

In 2014, 11% of teachers, NQTs and experienced ones alike, left the teaching profession completely, showing that time has done nothing to alleviate an already desperate situation.  This has left many secondary schools struggling to fill teacher vacancies, particularly in some subjects, such as Science and Maths.  It is not just the regular positions that remain vacant: schools have reported increasing difficulties in appointing staff to senior posts and head teacher positions.

The reasons for this mass exodus are many, many of them recurring: stress, workload, low pay, bad behaviour, and lack of respect to name a few. The recent hike in the number of those abandoning the education system is largely associated with the constant changes to the national curriculum that are confusing and overwhelming for pedagogues and students alike.

Each change to the policies outlining how school pupils should be assessed intended to make the system more traditional and (supposedly) easier to understand but it seems that the UK government's efforts to reform the way pupils earn their academic qualifications has done the opposite.

The new system places high importance on the assessment of student progress, and as such, the amount of tests pupils are expected to sit has increased significantly. More testing means less instruction as well as a significant increase in workload.

The nature of the government's new policies and the way they have been implemented seem to be a major factor in deciding to quit. With an education system that seems to be losing any semblance to the one that attracted so many talented individuals to become pedagogues in the first place, it's no wonder so many teachers are opting for a career change.

Who wants to spend all their working lives telling pupils to be quiet and showing them how to behave properly only to go home to a pile of tests waiting to be marked?

Not I, and certainly not you, if you are reading this post with intent.

How to Leave The National Teaching Service

Are you thinking of quitting? How should you proceed?

Here's what separating from the NTS generally looks like:

  • Decide when you would like to leave and work out the deadline to give notice
  • Inform your employer of your intent to quit (as an informal courtesy)
  • Write your letter of resignation
  • Hand in your official resignation letter (as formal intent)
  • Work for the remainder of the session

To quit your position as a teacher with the National Teaching Service, you need to write a formal letter of resignation and give it to your head teacher, who will then inform the school's Board of Governors of your intent to quit.

A good resignation letter can be short and concise, detailing just the essentials, i.e. that you are quitting your post and clearly stating the date on which you will be separating.  You do not have to explain the whys and wherefores but you should keep the tone positive and upbeat.

An exceptional letter of resignation will foster positive feelings for you. This will help to establish or reinforce a basis for positive references if you need one later on.

Whatever your reasons for quitting, it's important that you maintain your professionalism during the resignation process.

Airing personal grievances and problems should be avoided at all costs, along with making detrimental remarks about other members of staff.  Even if you are leaving the school on bad terms, writing bad comments about the staff, school or job will not bode well for the future and only serves to make you seem petty. Furthermore, it is likely to make working through your notice period far more awkward.

Leaving school for good
Quitting Teaching? You're not alone. Many are making the jump. Source; Upsplash,  Alvaro Serrano

To leave the headteacher with a good affinity towards you, your resignation letter should include any responsibilities you have held, along with thanks for the knowledge and experience you have gained.

Losing a teacher can have a significant impact on a school, especially if it is a small facility, so making the effort to inform your headteacher that you will be giving notice before you submit your official letter will go a long way toward keeping the running of the school as smooth as possible.

In addition, delivering your signed resignation letter in person will give you the opportunity to discuss your decision with your headteacher and personally thank them for the privilege of working at their school. All of these things will leave a positive image of you in their mind and make for an easier departure.

Deciding When to Quit your Teaching Position

Teachers do not have the luxury of just working one months' notice and then quitting. Schools would be left in disarray and pupils would be negatively affected, all of which would impede exam success.

Instructors are obliged to give at least half a term's notice of their intent to quit and they are only permitted to leave at the end of a completed term, i.e they are not allowed to leave a the end of a half-term unless this is agreed mutually by the teacher and the employer.

Therefore, for a teacher to quit at the end of the school year or Summer session (31st August), notice must be given by 31st May. To quit at the end of the Autumn session (31st December), announcement must be given by 31st October. To quit at the end of the Spring session (30th April) intent must be signalled by 28th February.

The rules are slightly different if you're quitting a headteaching post. Headteachers need to give one month's additional notice so their dates would be 30th April, 31st January and 3oth September respectively.

The situation is different for Scotland however, where unpromoted teachers only have to give 4 weeks notice and promoted teachers 2 months.

The date you choose to quit your job will depend on many factors, such as where you currently are in the academic year, the start date of your new job (if you have one lined up - and you should!), whether you feel that your pupils would be negatively impacted by your quitting and if you have any upcoming commitments within the school community.

Although the official end-of-term rule is in place to minimise the impact of the loss on schools and their pupils, sometimes the long announcement period is not enough. For instance, Year-6 teachers who are preparing their class for SATs may choose to stay until the end of the academic year to ensure that their students' progress is not disrupted by the introduction of a new teacher.

Teachers are prominent figures in the local community and in the lives of their young students.

This makes the way you go about relinquishing your post all the more important. For your pupils' sake, you should be as considerate as possible when choosing your final day and informing others of your decision, regardless of your circumstances.

It's not always easy to plan so far ahead. You may need to leave your post at short notice for a variety of reasons but, even in cases where you have to make difficult compromises, consideration for your employers, colleagues, students and their parents will go a long way.

Here is a brief summary of the deadlines for announcing your resignation each session:

Intended Final TermLast Day of TermTeacher Deadline for Notice of ResignationHeadteacher Deadline for Notice of Resignation
Autumn31st December31st October30th September
Spring30th April28th February31st January
Summer31st August31st May30th April

How to Properly Resign From Teaching

Who doesn't like a film wherein the protagonist shouts "I quit!" and storms off? Conversely, who enjoys movies wherein a desultory hero(ine) packs a single, sad box, usually with a small plant sticking out, and trudges to the elevator?

None of those scenes match the reality of a teacher leaving the school building for their last exit, with or without possessions in boxes.

Business etiquette demands certain procedures for quitting one's job - training one's replacement might be one of the more demeaning ones. Resigning one's teaching position only bears a passing resemblance to quitting any other job.

Teachers cannot simply quit their job like so many other professionals
Because of teachers' duty to their students, they cannot simply shout "I quit!" and storm out of the school Image by 14995841 from Pixabay

Teachers have a duty of care toward their students; they must make sure their pupils come to no harm on their watch. Harm may be anything from a lack of support for students with special educational needs (SEN) to inflicting mental, emotional or physical damage on them.

Surely, the sudden and permanent absence of a favourite - or, at least a familiar teacher would cause unintentional harm to students. 

For that reason, the Department for Education has set forth guidelines for teacher resignations. Surprisingly, they do not include notifying your students that you intend to quit the teaching profession.

Perhaps even such a discussion could distress emotionally vulnerable pupils; that is why the DfE has instituted a policy calling for teachers to finish out the session. That takes care of the kids; what about your colleagues and superiors? 

There is no regulation requiring you to disclose your plans for quitting to any other teachers; however, you must notify your superiors - at least your headteacher or department head if you teach at university, that you intend to leave at the end of the current session.

Many of the mandates that educators labour under were established because of teachers' duty of care status. How they resign from their teaching position is among them; when they signal their intent is another.

You must notify your immediate supervisor that you intend to vacate your post in writing, allowing at least three months' time before of your proposed departure date. Your letter of resignation starts the paper trail that will conclude upon your separation from service, covering all of the legal bases.

Before formally expressing your intent to resign in a letter, you should verbally (informally) notify your superior that you plan to quit teaching at the end of the session.

At either of those junctures but certainly when handing in your letter, you will have the chance to talk with your headteacher about your reasons for leaving.

During this conversation, you will have the chance to point out any contributions you've made to the institution and/or to your department and speak of your record as a teacher - outstanding marks you students earned on exams, remarkable student attendance and even your popularity as a teacher.

You may also suggest ways to improve the teaching profession and how things at your particular facility could be made better but you should never 'dis' your fellow teachers and certainly not the administration - at least not if you hope to separate on good terms.

Once you've handed in your letter and talked with your supervisors, all that you have left to do is to finish out the session. And then, it's off to a brand new future.

Six Things to Avoid When Writing Your Resignation Letter

For any job but especially for a teacher, handing in a resignation letter filled with grammar, spelling and punctuation errors would be highly embarrassing; certainly something to avoid at all costs. Running a spellcheck and grammar check would be an excellent idea; so would asking someone you trust to proofread it for you.

Syntax and spelling errors are such obvious things to avoid that we're not counting them among the six things you should avoid when writing your letter of resignation. Instead, consider these points as your write your letter:

There is no need to explain why you're quitting.

No law or convention compels anyone to disclose their reasons for quitting their post, including teachers. the rule of thumb for such letters is to keep letters short and sweet; offer up the bare minimum of information and save any lengthy dissertation for when you meet with your headteacher.

Don't let bitterness taint your tone. 

Nobody becomes a teacher for the glamour of it all but plenty quit the profession because of profound disillusionment and disappointment in their chosen career field. Of course, such a change in perspective could lead to bitterness but...

It's your bitterness - not to share or pass around or vent but yours to dispose of however best you can, without inflicting it on anyone else.

Everyone's a critic - except you.

You may well have harsh words for the fellow teacher who always eats your packed lunch or speaks too loudly in the room next to yours but including them in your resignation letter is poor form. Surely a few sandwiches are not the main reason you're quitting your job, right?

Besides, including such information takes away from the prime directive of letter-writing: to communicate your intent to separate as concisely as possible, saving details for a later discussion (and, even then, you should not take on a negative tone).

Do not use inappropriate language. 

This should go without saying but, in these days of 'anything goes', coupled with the possibility that you may be angry at quitting what you thought was your dream job may tempt you to use inappropriate language.

Doing so will convince your supervisors that your resignation would be for the best; maybe even the sooner the better.

Exude positivity but remain emotionless. 

Remember that, even though you are quitting a teaching position - as opposed to any other business job, your letter should reflect professionalism. Your supervisors don't need to know that your gleeful or saddened at relinquishing your post.

On the other hand, a short paragraph affirming that you are thankful for all that you've experienced while teaching there and reflecting positively on your experiences there is more than acceptable, it would be good form to do so.

Be specific

Not about the reasons you're leaving but about when you intend to quit. You should not state that you will resign immediately unless you have a compelling reason to do so - perhaps a serious health issue or some other equally unavoidable reason that would keep you from fulfilling your duties.

You should draft an outline before writing your actual letter
Plan what you want to write in your resignation letter before you start writing it Image by octavio lopez galindo from Pixabay

Handing in your Resignation Letter

Resignation letters should be delivered by hand to the intended recipient. If you are a teacher, you will hand your letter to your head teacher.

Choose the moment to do this sensibly. Make sure that they will have a schedule slot to see you without having to soon rush off and that their focus can be on your meeting rather than on the millions of other things headteachers must concern themselves with. Arrange a slot with their secretary to go and see the head teacher, if necessary.

You owe it to yourself and to them to deliver your letter without feeling pressured by scheduling conflicts.

The head teacher will probably want to talk with you about your decision and your future plans.  They may show regret at your decision, especially if you have been a valued member of staff.

Obviously, if you are leaving on bad terms you will not hang around chatting with the head, but you may wish to 'offload' a little, explaining the reasons behind your decision, but exercise caution - you don't want to create an uncomfortable atmosphere when you still have to work there for another half-term.

The important takeaway of your letter of resignation: it should be handed in, not delivered by email or post. A resignation letter should also be signed.

Should your circumstances not permit you to hand-deliver your letter of resignation, the TES advises that teachers send their resignation via email and follow the email up with a mailed (posted) letter. Although this may not suit the convention of in-person resignation, sending your letter in an email will cover you legally.

A headteacher resigning from their post will need to hand in their letter of resignation to the facility's Board of Governors.

Whatever your reasons for quitting may be, be sure to read up on your rights over redundancy pay.

Redundancy pay, also known as severance pay is a sum of money awarded to educators who have been made redundant.

Redundancy pay is only available to instructors who have spent at least 2 years at their job. The amount of severance pay you're entitled to is dependent on the amount of time you have spent lecturing at your institution as well as your age while you were teaching.

The total amount of redundancy pay you will receive is equal to the number of complete years of service multiplied by the proportion of your weekly salary associated with your age group.

The three age groups and multipliers are as follows:

  • Under 22: 0.5
  • 22-41 years old: 1
  • 41 and over: 1.5

If you're unsure about how much you're entitled to, you can calculate it with the government's redundancy pay calculator.

Resigning By Email

If you have no other choice - perhaps you have a serious health condition or, in this COVID era, you fear you may become infected, you may resign by email. Beware that there are still certain protocols to follow.

In the first paragraph, you should state your intent to resign your position and the date your resignation will become effective.

In an optional second paragraph, offer your thanks for all that you've learned while working at that facility, all of the opportunities you were given and the guidance you benefited from. Your final paragraph may detail the ways you can help a new teacher take over your classes.

Remember that, while resigning by email is acceptable, it is never the best way to resign your position. If you can, follow the 'traditional' path to resignation by presenting a letter in person and participating in an exit interview.

Example letters of Resignation from the National Teaching Service 

The internet is flooded with examples and templates of resignation letters for those wondering how to write a resignation letter that is fit for purpose. Some are good, some bad.  You could choose a particular resignation letter sample or letter template if you are unsure of how to proceed and then adapt it to your own personal requirements.

But what should your letter of resignation include?

There is no mandated dictating how letters of resignation should be structured, nor are there any rules regarding the content of your letter apart from the crucial information it should include:

  • The position from which you are resigning
  • Your last day of employment
  • Your contact details

Of course, there are a number of things you may wish to add to make your letter more personal and less of a formality. For instance, you might mention some of the reasons for your resignation; maybe you're hoping to spend more energy looking after your family, or possibly you've accepted a job offer which requires you to relocate.

It's common for employees to thank their employer for the opportunities they've been given throughout their tenure, as well as the experience gained and the skills the employee acquired during the role.

Being specific when thanking your employers can make your letter even more personal so think about specific points and career-defining moments in your tenure at that facility that don't just make your job memorable, but also make you a memorable employee. Reminding your headteacher of the things you achieved during your tenure will give them lots to refer to should they ever need to provide a reference for you.

Don't turn your letter into an essay; letters of resignation represent your official notice of resigning your post, and should be concise.

If you feel that your letter is getting too long or even too personal as you write it, you can save any extra thoughts for your chat with the head when you hand your letter in. This will not only keep your letter short and sweet, but it will also lighten the mood of the meeting and reduce the likelihood of uncomfortable silences.

Wiping the slate clean and leaving teaching.
Happiness at the end of the day should be highly valued. Source: Pixabay, geralt

When you have handed in your letter of resignation, you will still have to work for least a half-term.

You owe it to the pupils to ensure that you are present and that your work is still as good as it was before you handed in your resignation letter.

Having notified the administration of your intent to resign from a job is not an excuse for your standards and attendance to slip. Remember, your pupils deserve your full abilities and you want to leave with a good impression of you.

You never know! In the future, you may need a reference from the head teacher or your head of department, so you will want to ensure that you create a positive, lasting impression.

Having taken steps to leave instructing, you should think about what you'll do next. Learn more about how tutoring jobs and online tutoring jobs with Superprof can be a great way to move on.

Becoming a private tutor is a natural progression for former instructors, especially if they are passionate about honing the unique abilities of each individual. It's also a great to bridge the gap during the transition between their professional career and their new job.

As someone who is familiar with the curriculum and the answers SATs, GCSE and A Level examiners are looking for, you'll have little trouble finding clients!

Handing in your letter of resignation needn't mark the end of your role as an educator - in fact, it may even be the start of a whole new chapter in your life in which you support students outside of the classroom rather than inside it.

Regardless of your reasons for quitting the National Teaching Service, being confident about submitting your letter of resignation will benefit your future.

Maintaining a positive relationship with your employer and your former colleagues will not only help you to view your tenure at the school in a positive light, but it will give you confidence in the future as you realise all of the reasons why your decision to leave this professional field were spot on.

Letters of Resignation from Teacher to Parents

Unfortunately, this is one aspect of the parent-teacher relationship that is often overlooked.

When pedagogues think about resigning their position, they think about telling their boss and worry about how it might impact their students but they seldom consider letting parents in on their decision to leave the education profession.

It's perfectly understandable; you have enough on your plate to worry about.

Still, for parents whose kids would return to the same classroom for the next session, it might be dismaying to suddenly discover that their child has a new teacher.

Wouldn't it be better to let parents know you're not coming back so they can prepare their child before returning to class?

The best way to avoid any dismay such a sudden change might bring is to let parents know that you will no longer teach their child. Writing a letter to that effect will show your concern for your students and help maintain parental trust in the educational system - a vital reason for one last missive to your kids' parents.

As in your resignation letter, you don't need to go into the reasons you're quitting, nor should you disclose any profound emotion other than communicating how much you enjoyed having their child in your class.

You should also reassure parents that, even though you will not be there in the next session, the quality of instruction will not suffer for your absence. Finally, you may invite parents to address any questions and/or concerns they have with the head teacher or administrators.

If your post-educator plan includes tutoring, you may invite parents to contact you if their child needs homework help or academic coaching, preparation for exams or mentoring in extracurricular activities such as art or playing a musical instrument, should you have those skills to pass on.

Communicating with your students' parents is only necessary if you teach in primary or secondary centres; university professors need not worry about how their absence will impact their students.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.