Right now, it looks like I won't be finding another one. Whether this is the economy, bad timing, or a vast district-wide conspiracy to keep me from teaching I don't know. But right now, I won't be doing group classes.
I not only quit, I don't ever want to walk through that door again. Since that isn't practical I gave my students the option to stick with me at the old rink until the end of the session, and then to follow me to a different rink. No one took me up on it. They are all staying at the old rink, and looking for a new coach.
I actually expected this. I have seen it before, when coaches have gotten fed up and moved to a new place. Sometimes coaches float the threat "give me my way, let me get away with my bullshit, or I will take my toys and go home." One coach tried to move the entire synchro program. They always end up backing down, because in the end, parents are looking for location and convenience, and kids want familiarity--to be with their friends at a place they know.
However much you think your kids and their parents love you (and they do), in the end, they will make the economic choice, and seldom the one from the heart.
As a coach, you have to be able to accept this. People move on. Yes, I wish my kids would follow me, in fact I wish the whole staff would follow me, because nothing will get better there if people don't start voting with their feet and their wallets, but in the end you have to make the choice that works for you and your family. I reached a tipping point where the unprofessional behavior of certain members of staff and management became intolerable. My students were not at that point, and frankly what affects me does not affect them.
Here are some tips if your coach moves to a different rink:
Don't send the coach emails about how upset the kids are. If the coach needs to leave, she needs to leave, and you adding guilt to what is probably already a difficult decision is just pointless and mean. (This is not the same as thoughtful emails or calls explaining what you are going to do. It's the ones that start "Mary just cried and cried when I told her." I can't tell you how helpless that makes me feel.)
Don't talk to another coach without alerting the old coach FIRST. The old coach is going to know you're looking, because the gag rule requires that the new coach tell her. Further, if your coach is leaving, as I am, because of intolerably unprofessional behavior from coaches or management at the old rink, and you know this, don't you think you'd like to know who to avoid?
Don't talk about the change to anyone at the rink. This is how career-damaging rumors get started, particularly if there is bad blood which has forced the coach's hand. If anyone asks what's going on, the correct answer is "she had another opportunity" or "she decided to make a change." Don't feed the gossip mill.
This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I stayed as long as I did because I couldn't bear to leave my students, and because I kept thinking I could effect change from within. This turned out to be an idealistic fantasy.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to have a soft landing at a new facility, or to set up my own mini-skating school through a local home school network. And of course, I'll keep writing. What would you do without your Xanboni?
Have you ever had to leave an intolerable (for you) situation? How did you handle it?