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Things to Consider Before Jumping to Another School

Monday, July 1, 2013 -- Scott Sterling

Many teachers move between schools during the summer - or at least consider it. As someone who made the jump once myself, here’s how I weighed the decision and what you can take out of my experience.

Leave the kids out of it

So you had a bad year. You wrote more referrals last year than the rest of the years combined. You hear the kids on the other side of town are much better behaved.

It takes a certain amount of experience, but you will see that no matter what school you work in, you’ll have bad years and great years. Moving to a high performing school is no guarantee of how your class will perform or how happy you’ll be. Take any thoughts of students out of the equation, unless you’re working completely out of field and the only way to rectify the situation is to move.

Leave the administration out of it

I worked with some fantastic principals and assistant principals, during both bad years and good years. They were not what made the difference between the two. Likewise, you may not agree with your administration, but you need to be honest in assessing just how much impact they have on your daily work life.

They may set unreachable goals for the school or get teachers to work right up to the limits of their contract, but how much affect do they have when you close the door to your classroom? How do they affect your interactions with the kids? For 7-8 hours every day, that’s what makes up your professional life. Not monthly faculty meetings or weekly lesson plans.

It comes down to your classroom

Every school has a cadre of veteran teachers that have been at the same school, and maybe the same classroom, for decades. They’ve seen perhaps more than five different principals, thousands of different students, and more than a handful of the “next big things in education” that need to be implemented right now. I’ve heard from good authority that the motto of those teachers, who may form their own union so they can stop having to put up with this craziness, is “this too shall pass”.

I take that to mean that, more than anything else, the determining factor in any situation is you. The climate of your classroom is dictated by you, both for the students and for yourself. Trends and people come and go, but the one constant is your professionalism and dedication to the craft. Get those things straight and everything else falls into place.