“Just leave” – why leaving a school isn’t that easy


There have been times when I’ve seen Tweets about poor practice in a school and people have said in response “Just leave” or “Not all schools are like that” or “Not all SLT are like that”.

The “Just leave” seems such an obvious thing to say but it really isn’t that simple.

Some of us invest not just our career in a school but become heavily attached to its successes and failures. We’ve spent hours and hours working hard to try and make it successful. We defend it in public when the media does otherwise. We have an emotional attachment that means “just leaving” isn’t an option.

I personally have felt a moral responsibility to not “Just leave” a school. I know I have a lot to offer and can teach pretty well. Why would I abandon the students just because things may be a bit uncomfortable? Surely, I have a role to play in ensuring the school progresses instead of always struggling?

Surely, this is what the Government mean when they are talking about keeping good teachers in challenging schools? Aren’t we letting down the school if we leave and go to another school that might not need teachers and leaders in the same way?

But sometimes we need to resign to the fact that without significant change, of which we as individuals cannot enforce, nothing will get better. Some people are quite happy to “keep their heads down” and carry on without getting too involved in the stresses of challenging circumstances. They ride the storm, over and over. It pays the mortgage.

I personally couldn’t, so there was only one thing left to do…

Just leave.

2 thoughts on ““Just leave” – why leaving a school isn’t that easy

  1. Sometimes that choice is taken from you. Not because you are “let go” but because you lost the battle for change. The battle for common sense and to do things differently. Differently because the things that are being done don’t work. The result is stress and ultimately your health and so you leave, not by choice however. Choice has been taken from you. Such leaving often means the end of a career, the end of a time working with learners who you have cared about. The end of the professional support you felt with other colleagues who were also battling and who you now feel you have let down. Leave without anything else to do.

    So the trip to the supermarket means you no longer look for the prop or whatever to make lessons better. You stop hording stuff in case you could use it. Your routine is destroyed and you are alone. Those you felt so close to don’t call. You hope it is because they are too busy but it may be that they too are scared and don’t want to see what can happen first hand. After all they are now carrying the burden you left behind. They are dealing with the supply teachers etc and the setting of work the implementation of another initiate that will make things all right.

    You pick yourself up, it may take time but with help from family and friends you do it. You now have to find another path through life. One that does not have the familiar feel or routine. No timetables, no homework, no lesson plans, no marking , no classrooms, no end of terms, no assemblies, no reports, no parents evening. Things that have been your life for so long have gone. You may still have the dreams of how things were, the anxiety just before a term starts but they are just echoes of the past.

    Or perhaps you can avoid all of this and just leave!

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