How to Know if You Should Quit Teaching Mid Year

The teaching profession has lost more amazing teachers over the past 2 years than ever in the history of the profession. But it’s no wonder when you look at what we deal with on a daily basis from the constant upheaval of accelerated learning, virtual classes, in-person classes, and hybrid classes to sub shortages, lack of support from administration, and backlash from parents.

So many teachers are ready to walk away from the classroom for good, but is it the right decision for you to quit teaching mid year?

Well that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in today’s episode! So, let’s look at the 6 things you need to consider before you quit teaching in the middle of the year and how this decision could affect the rest of your life.

Should You Quit Teaching in the Middle of the Year?

1| Your mental and physical health

This is the foremost consideration for whether or not to quit teaching mid year…period. If you are experiencing excessive anxiety, signs of depression, or suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help!! I cannot stress this enough…please, please, please seek out a therapist or counselor who can help you through this.

Because the reality is that you may need to leave your job immediately.

As someone who has dealt with extreme anxiety and panic attacks since childhood and has been on medication for most of her adult life, I understand what it’s like to feel the overwhelming anxiety and fear.

But I promise, there is hope and things will get better.

You have the power to choose your path and if that means you leave the classroom, so be it. If it means you finish out this school year, so be it. Every person’s journey looks different.

If you get nothing else from this episode, please know that your emotions and feelings are valid. You are allowed to feel angry, upset, tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed.

But if you feel out of sorts all the time, not “like yourself”, or super-lethargic…please seek professional help because you may need medication or another type of intervention!!!

On the other hand, if you are not experiencing these types of mental or emotional issues, then you will want to consider 5 factors before you make the decision to quit teaching mid year.

2| Read your contract

This may seem so obvious, but it’s absolutely imperative that you start here. You need to know what your contract says and what supporting documents you may need to consult to confirm your decision.

There could be legal ramifications of quitting teaching mid year, but the only way you will know that is by reading your specific contract. While contracts are supposed to be written to protect both parties signing the document, this isn’t always the case. 

And if you’re like most people when you got hired, you probably skimmed over the contract and signed it quickly because you didn’t want your administration to change their minds before everything was legal.

You were just so excited to be hired for your first teaching job!!

If it has been a year or more since you signed your contract, you probably have no idea where your signed contract is…assuming you actually got a copy.

So start by requesting a copy from your central office or admin. Then when you get it, read over it carefully. Try not to get super-frustrated by the language within the contract because legalese is difficult to read.

But here are some key phrases you are looking for specifically as you consider whether to leave teaching mid year. You are looking for these three terms…

  • Legal action
  • Revocation
  • Suspension

These are going to be the deal-breakers! In other words, if your contract states that you could have your teaching license revoked or suspended if you leave teaching mid year or break your contract during the school year, I would STAY without question.

You don’t want legal action taken against you that could result in you losing your teaching license. It just isn’t worth it in the long run.

Once you have reviewed your contract, use Google to help you find state documentation. Search using keywords like “Can my teaching license be revoked or suspended in (your state) for quitting mid year?”

This should give you links to documents that include what the law states and what legal grounds a school board has for revoking or suspending your teaching license.

If you determine that no legal action will be taken against you and you will not have your teaching license revoked or suspended, then you’re ready to tackle the next question.

3| Can you afford to leave without a plan or another job lined up?

You know I am not a fan of anyone leaving the classroom without a plan. But I also know there are cases where making a plan isn’t an option.

If you are planning to leave teaching mid year and you haven’t lined up another job, how will you support yourself and/or your family? This is a major concern because while you may be ready to leave yesterday, you need to think through the potential consequences of your actions before doing something you will regret.

Start by looking at your finances and your budget.  

  • Are you the sole provider?
  • How much of your income is essential to pay the basic bills?
  • Could you make ends meet without your income?
  • What are some things you can cut from your budget if you leave mid year?
  • Do you have a side hustle that is bringing in an income?

Once you have taken the time to think through the financial impact of this decision, you may find that you can quit teaching mid year without any repercussions. But until you dig into your finances, you won’t know.

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4| Is your spouse on board?

I have said this before, and I will say it until the day I die…your spouse needs to be on board if you are going to successfully leave the classroom. This is even more imperative if you want to quit teaching mid year.

Most likely, you have had conversations with your spouse about your dissatisfaction with your position. And maybe your frustration and exhaustion has bled into your home life in the form of anger, yelling, short-temperedness, and crying.

These changes in your attitude and behavior are going to be noticeable by your spouse, but it is so important that you talk about why these things are happening at home. Make sure that you are sharing the real reasons you want to leave teaching and your plans for after you leave the classroom.

Communication is the only way that your spouse is going to understand your situation and your desire to leave the classroom mid year.

5| Is there a way to make the transition smoother for everyone?

This may seem counterintuitive, but if you are thinking about leaving the classroom mid year you need to acknowledge the fact that the transition won’t be easy for anyone. Now that isn’t meant to cause you shame or guilt, but it is important to recognize.

So ask yourself if there is anything that you could do to make the transition easier. Could you…

  • Give 4 weeks notice?
  • Leave at the end of the month?
  • Resign during the next holiday?
  • Stay until spring break?

If you have strong negative feelings toward your admin, other teachers, or your students, this is going to be especially difficult for you. But I want to give you an example of why this is so important.

Let’s say your team teacher quits. The kids in her class will have a sub for the rest of the year. While the sub is a warm body, he/she doesn’t know the schedule, students, or systems like you. So your admin will inevitably track you down and ask you to cover the absent teacher’s duties.

Now you have to make copies and write lesson plans for two different classes of students. How would that make you feel? You would probably be angry at your admin for adding more to your overflowing plate and utterly furious at the teacher who resigned because he/she left you in the lurch.

Now let’s change the situation just a bit and assume the teacher who resigned waited until the end of the month and also created lesson plans for a few weeks or even a month after that. She made the copies and gathered all of the materials that would be needed.

Now how do you feel? You’re probably filled with relief because this has bought you some time and now you only have a few weeks worth of lessons to make! 🙂

The truth is if you quit teaching mid year, you don’t know who will be taking over for you. Therefore, if you can do ANYTHING to make the transition easier, it would show great integrity. No it isn’t required, but it would be greatly appreciated by all.

Then also consider how your resignation will affect your students.

Consider calling a meeting with parents/guardians and kids to announce your resignation (after you have let your admin know)…especially if you teach elementary students. If that isn’t an option, send an email letting parents know when the changes will take place and what they can expect.

Being honest with your students’ parents/guardians (without blaming anyone) will be important for your mental wellbeing and for the wellbeing of your students. 

6| Are you ok burning this bridge?

I saved this one for last because other than legal action being taken against you, this is the most important thing for you to consider. If you plan to quit teaching in the middle of the year, you need to understand that you are burning a bridge.

You see, one of the greatest things about being a teacher is knowing that the world will always need teachers. But the outcome of quitting mid year could be a black mark on your record with the district.

To take this one step further, it could also result in you not being able to get a job in the surrounding area because…people talk. And you know as well as I do, when someone feels like they have an ax to grind, everyone in the world will know about it!!

So, as you’re thinking about whether or not to leave teaching mid year, you want to analyze and contemplate the decision from every angle. In other words, don’t impulsively decide to resign simply because of one bad day. Try to be as objective as you possibly can in order to make a wise decision.

Then, I want you to do one last thing. Take a quick glimpse into your future…maybe about 5 years from now and tell me what you envision.

  • What will you be doing as a career?
  • Have you decided to return to the classroom?
  • Will your future self have any regrets about the decision to quit teaching mid year?
  • Are you sorry you burned the bridge?
  • Are you proud of yourself for taking a step toward a different future? 

Remember you have control over your own decisions, but they should always be entered into carefully and thoughtfully. If at the end of these questions, you still feel like quitting mid year is the right decision for you, I would be happy to encourage you and help you in any way possible.

If you want to start your own business, find a different career, or just talk about your options, you can sign up for a free discovery call via Zoom here!!

But if you plan to stick it out until the end of the year, I want to support you, too. Hop over to Instagram and share your plan with me…I would love to encourage you. I am so proud of you and I know you’re going to make the right decision for your situation!