So you came back from the summer holidays and found that the school is not what it used to be.
Maybe there’s been a change in management or in school policies that you find you no longer agree with.
Or perhaps you’re having to move somewhere new, either due to a change at home or a different position at another school.
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Regardless, you’ve made the decision to move schools at Christmas.
Leaving your comfort zone is a daunting task. Regardless of the reasons for going, a sense of dread may be creeping in.
You’ve heard the horror stories from other members of staff who left at this time and the hard times they had. Having to establish yourself at the start of the school year is difficult enough and now you’ll have to work even harder.
There will be systems to learn, hundreds of children’s names to memorise and a new timetable – not to mention the chance of getting lost on the way to a lesson.
Here’s how to make a smooth transition from one school to the next:
Teachers moving school: Don't burn any bridges
It can be tempting to take your foot off the gas at your current school – after all, you’re leaving in a matter of weeks and then it will all be someone else’s responsibility. But the fact is, you never know where you’ll be teaching in the future, and securing a bad reputation only closes doors.
For all you know, a current head of department might end up being your boss again further down the line. Make sure to keep on top of your duties - you wouldn’t want to come into a position where standards have already slipped.
Make sure you’re prepared
Do you have your timetable yet? Do you know which rooms you’ll be teaching in? Do you have a scheme of learning?
All of these questions (and a whole heap more) should be answered on your induction day at your new school. Don’t be afraid to ask if anything you need to know isn’t offered.
Enjoy the Christmas break
Even with all the work you’ll have to do, make sure that you enjoy the two weeks off. The autumn term is really, really long and, to quote a popular TV show, the (very early) night is dark and full of terrors.
Everyone, including you, needs to rest and recuperate or else joining your new school will be even more difficult. See friends, go to the cinema or on nights out if you fancy, and make sure you spend plenty of time with loved ones. Go out on walks and get some sunshine – there is a shortage of it these days.
Remember why you left
After the honeymoon period of being offered a new job wears off, you may start to become nervous. What if the grass only looks greener? What if you have all the same problems you had before, only with more on top?
The fact is, you’re leaving for a reason, and it’s important you remember it. You took the time to apply, then interview, and then accept this other school.
It’s easy to start looking through rose-tinted spectacles at your current school and all the pupils and staff you like. Remember why you’re leaving and try to look forward to the move. You have an opportunity for a fresh start.
Oliver Parkes is a maths teacher in the West Midlands