Posted on May 29, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
All Things TEFL
04th Mar 2019
Handing your notice in at your current school can be a scary prospect depending on the relationship you have with your colleagues and students. It can stir all kinds of emotions, guilt for leaving your students behind, or a feeling of dread and fear about having to tell your Director of Studies that you’re leaving after all their help.
On the other hand, if you can’t wait to leave your current students and company behind, maybe you’ll be delighted. Either way, don’t forget that your manager will be used to teachers coming and going year in and year out, so try not to worry too much. To help you, we’ve got some top tips that will help you leave on good terms and in a professional manner.
Ways of handing in your notice
In the TEFL world there are various ways of handing in your notice and you may find that different schools use different methods. Below are a few examples of ways to hand in your notice at a language centre or school.
End of Year Appraisals
If you’re reaching the end of your contracted academic year, you may find that your school will start holding appraisals. Here, you’ll usually be asked to confirm whether you will be staying or leaving for the next academic year. For example, if your academic year is September to June, appraisals will normally be held around April, as schools will start recruiting TEFL teachers around this time as well. If your school does have these appraisals, handing in your notice verbally may be enough, though it’s worth checking your employment contract to be absolutely sure.
You may find that larger schools with a lot of teachers send out an email with a form to fill in stating whether you would like to stay on for the next academic year or not. Though it’s a very impersonal way of doing things, this does relieve the anxiety of having to hand in your notice personally. If you’re not sure whether your school does this, you can always ask a colleague who has been working at the school longer what to expect.
A Resignation Letter
If your TEFL job doesn’t hold appraisals or send round a renewal form, it would be good practice to send a resignation letter. Below we will look at how to write a good resignation letter, be it to give in person or to send by email.
Writing a Resignation Letter
Let’s have a look at the top tips on how to write a resignation letter in the TEFL world.
If you are leaving at the end of the academic year or the end of your contract, the date you will be leaving will be very clear. However, if you know roughly when your school starts hiring for the next academic year, let them know before then, to give them plenty of time to replace you. If you are leaving mid-contract, it’s normally standard to give at least a month’s notice to allow your Director of Studies plenty of time to find a replacement teacher. This also should you leave you in good stead with the school.
It’s always nice to leave your employers with a good taste in their mouths and thanking them for the time you have spent with the company is a nice way to do it. Even if you are glad to see the back of them, at least say a simple thank you for letting you have the opportunity to work with them.
Some example phrases you can use are:
It will usually be unnecessary to help your employer find a replacement for you, but you it might be that you do know someone who is looking for work in the area you are in. So, if you want to be nice, you could offer your Director of Studies help finding an English teacher to replace you or help training the new teacher up. Offering to help is a good way to keep on the right side of your soon to be former employer.
You might need to find out certain answers to questions before leaving your school, for example: Do you need to sign anything? Do you need to pick up any official documentation of termination of employment? Is there a specific place to leave the coursebooks and material you have borrowed from the school over your time there? You can include all these questions within your letter.
The resignation letter is not the place to bring up all your pet hates about how the school is run, or your frustrations with teaching, management staff or students. The issues you have, if any, should be discussed in appraisals or organised meetings with the Director of Studies. Bear in mind that you may need a reference from this school for future positions, so it’s best to keep the resignation letter nice and polite. In addition, the TEFL world can be a small place, so remember if you’re moving to a different school in the same city, it’s likely the school’s owners or directors might know each other – making it even more important to leave on good terms.
In addition to not airing your frustrations, your resignation letter doesn’t need to go into the reasons why you’re leaving, just keep it short, simple and to the point. This way your letter will remain professional and not personal.
Before printing or sending the resignation letter by email, make sure it is formatted in a professional way (see our template), proofread it to check for any typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, and double check you have everything you want to say in it. You are an English teacher after all, so your letter should be a perfect example of a resignation letter!
*The italicised text in our example is only for hard copy letters
Email Subject: (Your Name – Resignation)
Your Phone Number
Dear [insert employer’s name here],
I am writing to inform you that I will be leaving my position as English teacher at [insert school name here] at the end of the academic year, ending on the 24th of June.
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work at your school. It has been a pleasure working with the team and with the students.
Please could you let me know if I need to do anything, such as signing end of contract documentation. In addition, please advise me if I can be of any assistance during my remaining time here.
[Insert your signature here]
[Insert your typed name here]