Forced to resign - what to say in interviews?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Davidfizix, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Davidfizix

    Davidfizix Rookie

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    Oct 5, 2010

    During the '09-'10 school year, I taught German at a high school in TX. However, in early February, I was called to the office and someone from the central office spoke to me. He said (in summary): "There's been some concerns over some websites you've been going to. You're talking about suicide! And you have much more to offer to this world than to go that way. Therefore, this [paid] administrative leave time is for you to get better. It's also for the students - we need to keep the students safe."

    Then, he helped me clean out my classroom and then quite literally, dumped me out on the streets. During our talk, he gave me two choices: either be terminated or resign to avoid termination. He said that a resignation looks better on my record than a termination. So, in that sense, I was forced to resign. I made the resignation effective at the end of the school year.

    Now, I do feel that I was treated unfairly just for being depressed and suicidal, and I really should have hired a lawyer to help me get back in the classroom, but that's another story. My question is, how do I explain this on job applications and/or interviews, especially since I plan on becoming an ESL teacher abroad and this issue may come up? I asked the career center director at my university and she said I can simply state that it was for "medical reasons" because depression is a medical condition that needs to be treated, but also said not to go into details. Is she right? I'd like to hear particularly from principals and administrators who interview teachers (if you type of people even visit this site!) or teachers who have been in a similar situation.

    I do NOT want to hear, "I don't think you'll ever be teaching again" or "You'll never have a career in education again". Positive comments only. It's just that I had a bad first year, and the students drove me over the edge because I lacked proper classroom management skills, that's all. Other than that, I had a lot of good and rewarding times in that classroom!
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 5, 2010

    I've suffered with depression since I was in 6th or 7th grade and I've had serious anxiety issues for awhile. And I've had some really supportive and wonderful faculty helping me during those rough patches that the depression comes and goes. I do choose who I tell wisely--- but I have had two mini break downs (major crying) in school in front of some faculty members (both in private situations--- students never saw me).

    I honestly think you will have a GOOD chance of finding a teaching position if you are able to turn this around and make it look like its a good thing. Hopefully you were able to seek some professional help and have turned things around. Should the topic come up, you can always prove to schools that you're healthier now and looking for a good opportunity to help others as well. If you've completed some programs, you may want to ask a counselor or worker there to write you recommendation letters.

    The depression topic was never shared with my new school and I'm doing my best to keep my online identity private: I'm at a site where I'm able to talk to others with depression and anxiety and have shared my background with people (all of this is public). And hopefully you've learned to do a better job of keeping your online and private life separate from your professional life. :)

    Here's to happier new beginnings for you!

    (Feel free to drop me a line anytime--- my inbox is always open if you want to chat)
     
  4. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Oct 5, 2010

    I plan to say, "Medical issues that have been resolved." I've been told that they legally can't inquire any further. I was in the same situation as you (suicidal and I kept that secret from my coworkers. Once I did tell a coworker she basically dismissed it and said it was my fault for letting the devil win, so it's a good thing I didn't reach out to anyone else. No one understands).

    I've taken a year off, and have lots of techniques of what I plan to do differently next time. (Ie, put myself first and take better care of myself)

    If your depression is as severe as mine, there's no job that would ever be simple, so I also don't agree with 'leave the field' or 'teaching isn't for the faint of heart etc.'

    Bipolars and schizophrenics teach and work all types of jobs. With the right healthcare and in the right environment and by making many other adjustments, you can too, despite your mental health struggles.
     
  5. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Oct 5, 2010

    I certainly hope you were able to find some help in gaining control over this situation. If this is true, I would go with the advice given to you and just mention medical reasons and don't go into detail. Remember, HEPA is there to protect you therefore no one has to divulge the details of your medical issues.
     
  6. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2010

    I don't really have any advice, but I know you can conquer your issues and be a wonderful teacher. Take it one step at the time. :hugs:
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oct 5, 2010

    Just a question, how did they find out it was you on the websites? Was it on here?

    I don't think your future is written. You can do what you choose with the help you deserve. Keep your head up.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 7, 2010

    I'm sorry that you were put in this position. I agree to simply state "medical issues that have been resolved' and go no further.

    As far as how they found out, if the OP posted from a school computer, they can easily track that down.
     
  9. Momma C

    Momma C Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2010

    Who of us in the teaching field doesn't get depressed. Thank goodness for meds. I never had the suicidal feelings, but depression -- oh, yea. Actually, I was honest with my principal. I'm not saying to volunteer information. I have been at the same school for 14 years, so my principal had noticed the change in me. Anyway, long story short - you took a medical leave! The rest is actually none of their business. Hopefully, you have seeked help and are better now. You will be in my prayers.
     
  10. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Many school districts are required to keep all emails and network activity archived - our district keeps every single email for 2 years for legal purposes. It's instantly uploaded to a secure, offsite archiving facility. If I take my computer home and surf the internet, all my internet activity is archived when I log back on at school.

    Regarding your response to why you left your school - medical reasons is good enough and we're not supposed to ask anything beyond that (although some candidates keep talking - not advised). Some districts will not hire candidates who have not been rehired during their probationary period, so resigning is much better.

    Hope everything goes well for you!
    David
     
  11. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Oct 12, 2010

    I agree with the medical leave statement. People won't assume it was depression, I had a para leave because of severe asthma. I was off for a full month because of complications from a miscarriage. People were understanding but the admin really didn't care why we were out, they were just mad that we were. But things happen and they happen to everyone. The first year is the worst. Not that it gets easy, but for me, it's seldom as bad as the first year.
     
  12. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oct 12, 2010

    I'd say, "private medical issue--all resolved now!" and smile brightly. I doubt they'll say anything more, and I also doubt it's written down anywhere. If anyone ever did ask, I'd just say, "Oh, my! I'd prefer to keep that private!" and smile again, and then ask a redirecting question. Something like, "And you? How are your medical issues?" (No. I guess you can't ask that. But wouldn't you like to say that to people who ask you about private issues?)

    Seriously, I just don't think they'll go beyond "Why did you resign?" unless you open the door for them.
     

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