This is the time of year in education when some teachers, colleagues, maybe some of your friends are getting fired. You might be getting fired. I hope not, but someone reading this potentially could be. Total transparency. I have been fired more than once in my life in education. The first time was around this time of year 17 years ago from my first teaching job. In retrospect, I totally deserved to get fired. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut at meetings. I would sit at faculty meetings and raise my hand and say things in front of the entire staff to my administrator like “Why are we doing that way? That doesn’t make any sense?” I was a bull in a China shop. I yelled at kids. I was manipulative with colleagues. The other time was from a coaching position. Same type of situation. I yelled at kids. I was mean at times to others. I was disorganized. It was bad stuff.
This is not a “when one door closes another one opens” post. It’s more like a “when one door closes, what the hell are you going to do about it?” If you can get over the emotional part of being fired, which is clearly not easy to do, and get introspective about it, what can you learn from it? Think about this for a second. How often do you think teachers get fired for NO REASON AT ALL? Pretty rarely to never. How often do teachers get fired because of personality conflict with administrators. Probably more than the latter, but again, not a huge number. The most important question to ask if you are getting “Let go” or told you can “reapply for your job” (Education speak for “Your’re Fired!”); is to ask yourself the question “What role did I play in getting fired?”
The majority of the time, if you are honest, you will see that you certainly played a role in it some how. It rarely/never is for no part you played in it. It might be as simple as your administration feels like they can find someone better than you. You might disagree, but they might be right.
Here are 5 things to do if you get fired this spring… (pretty positive thought, huh?)
- Look at what role you played in it. What could you have done to be better at your job? What could you have done better with students? Where could you have improved in all areas?
- Whatever you do, DO NOT disparage and/or talk negatively about the situation on social media, to students or parents in the community and colleagues. Unfortunately, sometimes the person that let’s you go, can also be the only one that will recommend you to someone else. Don’t like that? Well, that’s how education works sometimes.
- Cry. Drink. Go for a run. Play the banjo all day. Whatever you need to do to mourn it. Then, gather yourself together. Put your resume together. Look at some of the positives you accomplished in your job. Highlight that in your resume and get busy applying for a new job.
- Reach out to colleagues you had a positive experience with and ask them to write a letter of recommendation for you. Have them talk about the professional colleagueship you had with them and how you may have played a positive role in school culture.
- Learn from this. When you get another job, ask yourself how you will learn from this experience of being let go and what you are going to do differently so this does NOT happen again.
While getting fired is not your goal, obviously, it might end up being the best thing for you. Personally, the 2 firings I told you about at the beginning changed my life for the much better. I have been in the school I’m teaching at now for 15 years. I was able to start my professional speaking business as a result losing one of those other jobs. I am so grateful that I was fired. I hope you will be too.