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Charles

Advice on telling students I am leaving?

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Charles

Looking for some advice if anybody has some input.  I am a special education teacher.   At the end of this school year (in 4 weeks) I am leaving my current school to transfer 40 minutes closer to home.

 

I am not sure when/how/if I should tell students and their parents that I am leaving and there will be a replacement.

 

Some teachers make an announcement a month before they leave.  They give a speech about how important this year has been to them, how they love all the students, etc,etc.

 

This all feels SO AWKWARD to me it kills me.  I don't know what to say.  I'm not convinced that it really matters if I say anything.  I am not sure how to respond if students express goodbye or if they express distress I am not returning.  I am left feeling like I should say more - something more emotional, more significant, more lifechanging.  

 

Yes, it will be kind of hard to leave, but I don't really want to express those feelings in front of groups.  Especially since I have a hard time giving words to them.

 

I will admit, once several years ago when I was leaving a school, I chickened out.  I didn't say anything at all to the students.  On the last day I just said "Have a nice summer!" as they filed out the room.

 

So, what does anybody think?  Should I tell my students and their parents?  How far before the end of the year should I say something?  How should I say it?  Is it even necessary?

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Ala

Even if it may not be necessary to say anything, I think that maybe it might be important at least for you and for you to get the chance to do what you personally think is the right thing to do.

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Guest

I know a teacher that didn't tell the pupils she was leaving and just didn't go back the next term. Not good for any Aspies in the class but it solves your problem.

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Nesf

When I left the school I was working at I just said "have a good summer" and that's all, I didn't say that I wouldn't be returning. I guess it's a matter of personal choice whether you choose to say something or not. You could write something down and have a colleague tell your students that you decided over the summer not to return (even though it's not quite true) and read out what you have written to the students, so you avoid telling them face to face.

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HalfFull

Could you ask your colleagues for advice. I know you might fear that this would lead to you feeling under pressure to tell the children if someone gets on your case to do so, but if someone is so much on your case to do so, maybe that means that you should, although it won't necessarily be that other colleagues agree with them. Can you ask relatives etc what they would do. Maybe this is something that needs an NT perspective.

 

I wonder if the best way is to just say on your last day to the children that you won't be returning next term, but then again because its a Special School, the children might react differently to what children in a mainstream school might react. I think you should factor in the fact that its a Special School. One thing though is that often children with Special Needs can be upset by change, so some children could be distressed for your last four weeks if they are told about it now, and then you might have to deal with that, or a child might be distressed throughout summer if they know that they are going back to a teacher that they are not familiar with, so in that sense it might be better not to tell them. For example, if someone in your family is having a baby, you possibly wouldn't tell any young children until very close to the birth. I still remember one day walking home from school aged 6, and my mum telling me that my auntie and uncle had had a baby, and that I was not told that the baby was expected, because they thought that I would get too excited. 

 

Maybe its kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't. I guess sound a few people out about it over the next few weeks and then make a judgement call nearer the time. I suppose if you do tell anyone, then the last week might be the time to do it. It would help if there was a standard procedure that the school used, although maybe you are glad that there isn't?

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luckydip

Could you approach the class with another teacher and maybe that teacher can mention to the class that you will be leaving. The teacher could then go on to say how sorry the school will be to lose you, that it is not anything to do with any of the students, but you feel that you want to work closer to home. If the children all live near the school then maybe the teacher could add something to the effect that if any of them moved chances are they would go to a school nearer to home.

The teacher could then hand over to you by saying if anyone has any questions that you will be happy to answer them. Maybe do it about a week before so the children get a chance to be aware of the fact and will then be prepared that you won't be there when they return to school.

Has the school appointed another teacher already. If so maybe this new teacher could be introduced to the children at the same time. This way they can see that although you are leaving there will be someone to replace you.

Good luck with it all and also with your new school.

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Smithy The Wizard

When I'm at school, I actually care about my teachers a little, sometimes we become friends. It's seem like I'm one of the few rational, and mature students in the school, so teachers like me, and sometimes we become friends. So, I would probably say something about it if I were in your position, it doesn't have to be anything big or fancy, you could just say; "I need to tell you all something..." and proceed to tell them what has to be said. If it would make you feel more comfortable, you could have another teacher in the room, or maybe you could have a slip of paper with what you want to say on it, a reminder so you don't forget. :)

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Charles

Thanks, guys.  Your comments did help me sort out my options.  The easiest thing for me is not so say anything.  But, as I tell my students, we need to learn to think of others, so I should also take my own advice.

 

It probably would be easier for the students if they knew beforehand.

 

So, what I think I will do is this:  A couple weeks before the end of school, explain to them in a sort of low-key way that i am not returning.  Then, rather than gush about how much they all mean to me (I am not good at that part, even if it is true) I will switch gears and be positive - talking about how well they will all do next year, and how much fun the upcoming summer will be.  I think I will also send an email to parents the same day so that parents understand, and maybe they can help the students process at home too.

 

Thanks again, it was helpful to have a sounding board.

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Nesf

Thanks, guys.  Your comments did help me sort out my options.  The easiest thing for me is not so say anything.  But, as I tell my students, we need to learn to think of others, so I should also take my own advice.

 

It probably would be easier for the students if they knew beforehand.

 

So, what I think I will do is this:  A couple weeks before the end of school, explain to them in a sort of low-key way that i am not returning.  Then, rather than gush about how much they all mean to me (I am not good at that part, even if it is true) I will switch gears and be positive - talking about how well they will all do next year, and how much fun the upcoming summer will be.  I think I will also send an email to parents the same day so that parents understand, and maybe they can help the students process at home too.

 

Thanks again, it was helpful to have a sounding board.

That sounds like a good course of action :)

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