Ten Ways to Tell Students You’re Leaving
Author: Beth Runkle
“What, you’re leaving?” my students said. They had a hard time accepting the fact that I would be teaching at another school because my husband’s work had relocated my family. Students who have bonded with a teacher can face real anxiety knowing that their beloved teacher will be leaving. This can be more difficult when a student has formed a particular connection with a teacher who has esteemed the child and exhibited special care. To lessen the anxiety of students, consider these 10 tips for helping them through the transition:
- Plan what you will say and when you will share the information. Give the students as much advance notice as possible.
- Begin calmly. If you are comfortable sharing, let them know when the move will occur and the reason for your departure.
- If possible, let the students know who the new teacher will be.
- Share where you are moving and some interesting facts about the area or state with your students. If you are moving to a new town or country, consider having them research where you will move to. Students can gather a list of the top ten things they would like to do in the new location and complete a writing assignment appropriate for their grade level.
- Attitude is everything! Your pupils will partly reflect what they observe in you. Try to control your own anxious emotions and do your best to process the upcoming job change positively. Focus on this exciting new chapter for all of you.
- Allow your students to grieve. Plan a farewell party to commemorate your leaving the school and your students.
- Consider writing a letter to gift each of your students as a farewell gift. In this letter, write a note that inspires, motivates, and encourages your students to meet the challenges of the next school year. The note can reflect on your meaningful relationship, qualities you admire in them, inspirational quotes, or a combination of these three.
- Encourage your students to write a letter to you and take a picture of both of you together. Make two copies of the photo – one for you to keep and one for the student to treasure after you are gone. Consider creating a photo album for the class in which each student decorates a page of the photo album which includes their picture with you.
- Consider creating an art project to commemorate your relationship with your students and leave them a visual reminder of your farewell. To keep the mood positive, consider focusing on the future and what the students’ hopes and dreams are beyond this year. Or create a timeline that maps out memories along with future goals.
- Affirm that your students will still be valued and that their education will continue to be a priority for the school.
As you move on to another school, embrace the opportunity to leave your students with a lasting impression of you and your contribution to their lives. You can also look forward to all the new pupils waiting to be influenced and encouraged by you in your new location.
For more farewell ideas, check out the article Ending Your School Year Well.
Beth is experienced with transition and adjusting to change because she’s moved 14 times as her husband served in the military. Beth discovered the joy of writing when teaching her children to write as part of homeschooling. Her husband recently retired from the Air Force. Beth and her husband now serve as mentors for married couples at military bases in the western United States. She and her husband have two kids in college.