I Quit My Job As A Teacher

So… I quit my job.

Being an educator has been a crucial part of my identity for a decade. Now that I’ve quit, I’m not sure what to do with myself.

Why I Quit My Job

I left the classroom in September 2021, when I accepted my current job as a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program Specialist and Coordinator. This role led me into a leadership position, which has been a new and exciting experience — with a steep learning curve.

After two years, I am ready to move on.

  1. The work of pioneering is done. SEL was relatively new when I joined my organisation. I was tasked to establish the department and lead a small team. Over the past two years, we have accomplished much in the way of curriculum development, student workshops, teacher training and schoolwide events. The time is ripe for me to step down, so that a new person can step into the role and take the work forward.
  2. I miss teaching children and youth. As a program coordinator, there were limited opportunities for me to journey with students and directly impact their lives. On the other hand, I was able to train teachers and conduct professional development on many occasions. My biggest accomplishment was creating an SEL course and running it with my colleagues! I never stopped being an educator, but I deeply missed being in the classroom.
  3. An exciting new horizon. All that being said, the primary reason I’m leaving my job is to move abroad for a year. My husband will be studying an MBA, and I have the privilege of accompanying him to the United Kingdom. At the moment, I have no concrete plans of what to do there, but I look forward to exploring my options!

Advice on Quitting Your Teaching Job

If you are thinking of quitting your job, here are some questions to consider:

  1. Why do you want to quit? You may be thinking of quitting your teaching job for various reasons: demanding workload, toxic environment, poor school leadership, workplace inflexibility, lack of career advancement, inadequate compensation, stress and mental health issues. It’s so important to interrogate your motivations and find clarity in your intentions.
  2. What is your exit plan? Plan ahead and give sufficient notice to your school leaders. I have seen teachers who quit their jobs abruptly, which leaves students in the lurch, possibly for months as schools scramble to find a replacement. Students’ learning and well-being should be a major consideration for teachers who are thinking of leaving their jobs. It’s also important NOT to burn bridges when quitting your job! In Malaysia, the NGO world is small enough that everyone knows everyone. Make sure you leave on good terms.
  3. What is your financial plan? It is best practice to secure a job or invest in a side hustle before you hand in your resignation letter. Otherwise, it is always advisable to have at least 6 months of emergency funds, or enough to tide you over until the next step in your teaching career.
  4. What skills do you have? The wonderful thing about being a teacher is the vast range of transferrable skills. There are plenty of teacherpreneurs who have turned their side hustles into full-time jobs. You could leverage on your expertise to become a content creator, textbook author, TpT seller, YouTuber, instructional coach, corporate trainer, or education consultant. The possibilities are endless!

My Next Steps

In the short-term, I am planning to invest time in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, All About SEL, and this blog!

When I return from the United Kingdom, I hope to explore career pathways that are related to leadership, learning and development, and psychology! Stay tuned to see where life takes me. 🙂

About the author

Alicia is an educator hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is passionate about good grammar, well-being, and social justice. She writes about education, social-emotional learning (SEL), and mental health topics as a way of channeling her lifelong learning endeavours.

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