Breaking contract to move?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bobby, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. bobby

    bobby Rookie

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    Dec 29, 2014

    My husband has been offered a job out of state to begin in March.

    I am department head of the special Ed department at my middle school. I have many responsibilities and spring is a very crazy time for us special educators. I have been at this school for 7 years.

    What would you do? Resign and move with my husband and little boy in March? Or finish the school year and be separated from my husband for 3 months. I'm in SC and his new job is in VA, so not very close. I do plan on teaching in VA next school year.

    Advice?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2014

    3 months is not a long time. You could go on Spring break to VA, Plus once or twice a month weekend trips. Do you have a house to sell where you live now?
     
  4. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2014

    Boy, that would stink...but being dept head I would tend to agree with cza.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I am vote #3 for the same advice. Tough it out, three months isn't the eternity you think it will be. How old is the son? If he is in school, that will be a plus. If not, will there be an increase in day-care costs? I would seriously have a heart to heart with my supervisor and make sure that admin is aware that you are honoring your contract because it is the "right thing to do for the school." I believe the reward will be a clear conscience, the ability to train your replacement, and the gratitude of the district, reflected in the letters of recommendation you will surely receive. I would keep them in the loop just in case there are bad days, or extenuating circumstances - it will be nice to know that they have your back. Best of luck!
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have done that three or four times as my husband's career progressed. Stay and finish the school year. You will need the references and the new school will know you won't pick up and move during the year. Most times we were separated for three or four months and he always took one of the children with him to make the move easier on him.

    However, the last transfer took three years! It was a long time to be apart, even though we visited several times each year and skyped every night. It was our final transfer.
     
  7. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Dec 29, 2014

    As a mother, I can't be separated from my children that long so if the choice was VA with husband/son or alone in SC to stick it out at school, my choice would be to move.

    You didn't make this suggestion, could your son stay with YOU while your husband moves up there and prepares everything?

    Of course, I am only offering that suggestion knowing it would be one of the two feasible options for me, the other being moving.
     
  8. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I'm probably going to be odd man out, but I would move if possible. Teaching jobs can come and go, but the time with your family can't be replaced. :2cents:
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 29, 2014

    This is crazy. Resign.

    They have three months to find a replacement for you. They have three months to train one of your colleagues to be department head. There is nothing unprofessional about leaving under the circumstances you describe.

    Keeping your family together is a basic human right. Other professions outside of the military do not place such demands on their workforce. Ours should be no exception.

    School administrations need to learn to not be babies and deal with problems that managers in the real world deal with every day. One of those headaches is replacing staff who leave.

    And if they are babies about it, you should consider getting a lawyer.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I would resign but offer to help interview for and train your replacement if it's reasonable.
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I would talk to my P. We had a teacher talk to the P in August, telling him that she would be leaving in October because of where her husband was going to be stationed. She ended up staying until Christmas break. My point is she talked to the P and if he wouldn't have okayed everything she wouldn't have even started the year.
     
  12. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I would probably stay on. I would need the money and couldn't just resign. 3 months wouldn't be long. But then again, I'm the type that would do what had to be done... financial logic over family emotion. Someone in my family has to be the sensible one. Now, I would want to keep my child with me and send hubby on to get things situated.
     
  13. bobby

    bobby Rookie

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    Dec 29, 2014

    Thanks for the advice! My little boy is only two, and my mom watches him while I work. If I choose to stick out the year in SC, he'd stay with me while hubby goes to VA.
     
  14. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    ITA, especially with my children. My babies are so young 7,3,1: each day is precious. Now my husband and I are constantly at each others throats, I would welcome the three months apart. Even if things were sunshine and roses, I would still opt for keeping the child(ren) with me, and allowing my spouse to go to the other state.

    Of course, financially I could leave my job at any time and while it wouldn't be easy peasy, we could definitely manage--so I have a little more leeway than most people.
     
  15. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I'd stay in SC and move when the year is up. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2014

    I'm so sorry to hear of your marital difficulties given your posts in the past. Wishing you welll in the new year.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sounds like a plan
     
  18. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Dec 29, 2014

    Thank you. Wishing you well as well.
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2014

    This answers my question. Your son will stay with you, with a caregiver he is used to. No change for him, which is perfect. The rest of my post stands - share this information with admin, train your successor, and accept accolades for being a trooper and on a job well done. I agree that I could live without my spouse longer than my young child, especially since childcare is already in place. By the way, let hubby do some of the commuting for visits - it shouldn't all be on you. I think that this is going to be hard, but not impossible. Wishing you the best! :hugs:
     
  20. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Dec 30, 2014

    I agree with sarge and can't believe others feel you need to stick it out in case they find someone on 3 months notice. Also, you have been there 7 years!!! I can't imagine them giving you a negative reference just because you had to move.
     
  21. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2014

    If OP was anything other than the department head of Special Ed. I would agree. However, OP is not just any teacher, and I can tell you that when she talks of the spring being one of the busiest and craziest times of year for special education, she is spot on. She is not just someone who is doing in class support for a couple of students, but rather the person calling the shots, coordinating IEP's, meetings, and placements. If she was going to be separated from her son by the move, that would trump the job, but the son is staying with mom, with a caregiver who loves him. This will allow mom to concentrate on a tough job, be a mom, and finish a long stint knowing she went out with a bang. I still think potential new employers will greatly value that display of loyalty and dedication, regardless of the LOR from the SC district. Actions speak much louder than words.
     
  22. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I lean towards agreeing with Sarge and Daisycakes. I think you should do what your gut is telling you to do. If it's telling you to resign and move with your husband, then do it. Don't let some rational thought of responsibility and/or guilt force you into staying.

    I have no husband and no kids, so I can't easily put myself in your shoes. It would be very easy for me to say to just stick it out and wait until summer to move. However, I have been a sped department chair, and, if I had a valid reason for leaving mid-year, I wouldn't hesitate. Someone else in the department should be able to step up into that department chair position, even if it requires a bit of training before you leave in March, and a long-term sub or full-time replacement should be able to be found to cover your teaching responsibilities.

    As examples of how being department chair and leaving mid-year isn't the end of the world, I'll share the following: One of our intermediate grade-level department chairs resigned for a better position less than a month before school started this past summer, and one of our primary grade-level department chairs spent the entire first quarter on maternity leave. In both cases, other teachers in the grade-level stepped up and filled in. It's not only possible, but it's not a big deal. Yes, sped is different, but most of your sped teachers should already have the knowledge about how to do all of the things a sped department chair does, even if they don't particularly enjoy having that extra responsibility.

    It's just a job. Follow your gut (or heart, if you prefer).
     
  23. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 31, 2014

    For me, it's the principle of the matter that bothers me.

    The right to quit your job is a basic human right. Teachers are the only profession outside of the military where people seem to have given up that right.

    I believe that this opens teachers up to a whole range of abuses, including workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and of course, low pay.

    Imagine a business where you could essentially force your employees to work for you until the "off season" when you didn't need them. Then, when they did quit during the allowed window, you had several weeks to find a replacement. That way, rather than pay what the market demanded for those skills, you had the time to look for the one candidate who was desperate for a job and willing to work for next to nothing.

    Sure, some professions have "non-compete" clauses, but those are for legitimate business reasons and not simply to avoid having to replace workers. Moreover, most non-compete clauses have geographical limits - i.e. you can't work for another paper company within 50 miles. But if you find a job 75 miles away that pays twice as much, you're good to go.

    In the private sector, if your spouse gets a new job far away, you give two weeks notice and they give you a going away party. If you are so important to your employer that they need you to stay longer, then you negotiate some sort of perk that is enough the cost of maintaining two households and then some. Even then, you are not required to stay and can turn down the deal.

    For us, we get threatened with having our credential suspended and a bad recommendation.

    Bobby has not mentioned who is paying for the cost of her family having to maintain two households. Perhaps her husband makes enough money that it isn't an issue. But I highly doubt that a South Carolina school district can offer her any sort of financial incentive to stay to the end of the school year.

    Perhaps Bobby is willing to stay simply out of professional responsibility and loyalty to her students and colleagues. That's fine and I get that. However, she also needs to think about the precedent she sets. The next teacher in a similar situation might face serious personal or financial hardships if they are guilted into staying to the end of the school year when they have a legitimate reason to leave.
     
  24. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 31, 2014

    If OP does want to move, I can't imagine that her required notice is more than 60 days, which makes this a moot point. It isn't that you can't move, quit, etc., but there is just this length of notice thing. If this department head wants to move with her husband, all she has to do is give notice now, and she will be fine. My take was that this was more a concern about her responsibility and concern for her department and students. If she gives notice now, she is free to go without worrying about her recommendation. I know that my comments, however, were about how impressive her dedication and loyalty would be to a potential new employer, since she will be seeking a new job. I would not be at all concerned about precedent - any teacher can only be held to the terms in the contract, and they all say something about the amount of notice that is expected. I know in NJ 60 days has become the norm, and if you are replaced sooner, so be it.
     
  25. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I've never heard of a 60 day notice. I think in many, if not most states, you are obligated until the end of the school year unless they release you. If you leave without being released, they can suspend your credential to prevent you from teaching anywhere.

    But it's up to the school district whether or not they do that.

    I think the OP's district would likely release her under her circumstances. My concern is with teachers being guilted into staying or threatened with getting a bad reference.

    The OP should be allowed to leave her district and move with her family without any fear of damage to her career or professional reputation regardless of any legal issues.
     
  26. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    This is from a contract in the Lee School District in SC. I believe that OP is covered should she choose to leave, but obviously there is a sense that the sooner her resignation is given in writing, with the fact that the spouse is moving for a job, the better it is for everyone concerned. It comes down to an expectation of adequate notice in writing, and the understanding that in extreme cases the departure "may" be delayed if no suitable replacement can be acquired. OP is a department head and probably well liked and respected. If her inclination is to go, I believe that the district will make every attempt to accommodate her request. The bottom line is that there should be an honest and frank conversation with admin, a timeline spelled out in writing, and a written resignation that specifically mentions the spouse moving for his job. I doubt that the district will give her grief, but they will appreciate as much notice as possible. I don't know what the contract for her district says, but this is pretty standard language regarding these situations. If the district is remote or some other odd factor, I could see a slight delay as a replacement was found, but I don't see a long term problem if this is what OP wants or chooses to do. The language of OP's contract is probably fairly similar. Hope that thelps.
     

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