Time to stay or go? Try this litmus test to see if you are at the right school

As we get towards the middle of the year, teachers across the country will make the decision to stay at their current school or go elsewhere.

Of course, starting a new job is challenging, you’ve got to work out where the toilets are and learn how to use the photocopier. But as a teacher, those are the easy bits – it’s the names of students and staff, new schemes of work, grading systems and the strange idiosyncratic systems which seem so prevalent in education that will prove more difficult.

Often, that means teachers choose to stay, many of us in the same job for quite a long time.

Although that’s good in many ways, it does mean we don’t really know what it’s like to work in other schools. With that in mind can we really tell whether we’re in the right place? How do we know the school we’re currently at is the right one for us?

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Ask yourself these questions to help decide whether you’re in the right place, or if you should start to look for somewhere new.

In your current school, are you making the greatest contribution you are able to?

This is key, do you feel your time is wasted performing tasks in which there is little value to your students? Is that stopping you work with your students in the way you would like to? If so, this could be a sign you’re in the wrong place.

What do you think makes a great teacher? And does your school share that vision?

Once you’ve worked out what makes a good teacher to you, decide whether your school is valuing the same things. If it is, great.

However, if they’re asking you to spend time on tasks which don’t match that definition – it may be time to move on.

Does the school have the same expectations of the students that you do?

I have high expectations for myself, my students and the organization of the school. My school shares those high expectations – which is great. If you think something is unacceptable, but the school disagrees, especially if this is having a daily impact on your teaching, then that may be another sign.

Does the school value the quality of your work? Do they help you to improve for you and your students?

It is your right and duty to teach at the hight of your ability. In this, you and the school’s organization are on the same team, working towards the education of your students. This needs to be valued. Of course, no lesson is perfect. Students can be difficult and situations fraught – but you and the organization of the school are on the same team.

Finally, moving away from a school that’s not right for you is NOT letting the students down.

Actually, moving to another school, in this case, is doing what’s right for the students. In the right school, one that is supportive and respectful, you can make your best possible contribution to the education of your students – that’s what is most important here.

In short, if you feel you’re being stopped from making your greatest contribution to students’ outcomes, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.


Do you feel like you’re making the greatest contribution you can at the moment?


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