I have given notice to the school. It’s now official. But in a way, my notice was forced from me. I hate being forced, and this “twisting of my arms” just affirms my decision to leave the teaching service.
The Departure Chronicles has a nice ring to it. Since young, I have always been a fan of fantasy literature. It allows me to escape to a different world of heroes and villains, good and evil, black and white. Things are clearer and we always know who the bad guys are. In fantasy, it is possible for a normal commoner to be a prince in disguise, or a hero in the making. Immersing myself in such a world allowed me to escape my harsh childhood for a while.
My Departure Chronicles will detail my journey of leaving my current employment. It will serve as a diary for me, so that I may re-read how I was, how I felt and how my last attempt at paid employment went.
I was called to the P’s office on the first day of the June holidays. I had nothing on in school, so I had to make a trip down to see him. I was on time, but he was busy with a parent, so our meeting was delayed for 30 mins. I managed to enter his office at 3:30 pm.
He asked me for my plans. Last he heard, he thinks I am leaving end of July to attend the Olympics. He wants to know my plans so that he can fix the manpower deployment for the rest of the year.
I told him my plans had changed. I am not going for the Olympics in August and will work for the whole of Term 3 till the end of August. I said that I had already informed my RO (reporting officer) that things will be as per normal until I give notice. My RO had texted me for my status while attending a deployment meeting 2 weeks ago. Then, I had already informed him I was not leaving.
So, not yet, till I was ready to give notice.
My P’s face turned darker. He started to make accusations of why I didn’t inform or update him on my new status. He said that by not informing the school of my new plans, I was causing disruptions and inconvenience to my colleagues! Imagine that! Being an ordinary teacher in school, I didn’t expect that my departure will affect the staff deployment so drastically that I have to keep P updated about my very latest plans.
I wanted to leave service amicably. So I spoke to P nicely and informed that barring unforeseen scenarios, my last day in school will be 12 Sept. That is the last day of the Sept school holidays. I will not start Term 4 of school.
Officially, I have given notice. 3 months ahead.
So now P has a date. In my opinion, he seems to feel better knowing an exact date, so that he can plan with certainty*.
The conversation turned to more general matters. I asked if this was an exit interview, and he says it can be part of the exit procedures. We started chatting about my work performance and unexpectedly, accusations started to fly again.
He said that he noticed a drop in my recent performance and asked if it was because I am leaving and therefore not putting effort into my work. He mentioned matters like evading official duties, wayang-ing (working only when management is around), not pulling my weight in CCA duties. He even mentioned a lesson that he observed me doing, asking me why I didn’t follow the lesson plan. I was astounded by what he asked. I explained myself on the matters, but it was plain that he didn’t really buy my perspectives.
So I was in a lousy situation. I am leaving service, and management is not pleased with my performance.
The “exit interview”lasted longer than I wanted. I had planned to stay for a hour at most. I guessed it was the explanations I had to do. I always thought that I am an above average, sometimes even good, performer in school. My PB has always hovered around that range. So I wanted to explain myself to my P on the matters he bought up.
But what for? I am leaving, and people’s opinions are hard to change. When I left P’s office, I told him 2 things:
- the opinions of other people doesn’t matter to me, if that person doesn’t matter
- the truth will always surface. It may be a while later, but truth will prevail
So I shook his hand and left his office. Surprisingly, or maybe not, I didn’t feel disturbed or affected too much. A few years ago, if I had gotten a negative review, my hackles will be up. But not this time round. It is really time to leave this job, when what people say about how I perform at the job no longer affects me.
Time: 5pm. Giving notice took me 2 hours.
I went for my usual game after the meeting. I was late, but didn’t feel too disturbed about it. I was more bemused at my own sense of indiffernce about the meeting with P.
In the evening, I texted my 2 ROs about my notice. I have put down my final departure date. I will not be starting the new school term on 13 Sept. This is it. I am leaving.
* I have observed my P’s need to maintain control in many events I worked in school. It doesn’t matter what the event managers decide, in the end, as long as P says it’s approved, then it’s ok. You can plan all you want, but he must know and he must agree.
Update 22/6: I checked my email after 3 weeks of school hols. Not surprisingly, I saw an email from P, detailing his version of what happened in the meeting. Guess I now have a version of his perspective.
I shall keep it to amuse myself in years to come, of my last attempt at gainful employment 🙂