Leaving well

Leaving well

21 May 2024

Leaving well

As summer half term approaches, signifying the beginning of the end of another academic year; many of us will be entering into a period of transition. 

That transition might be our own, as we move on to an exciting new role and opportunity (retirement even!). It might be others in our staff team whose next step in their career development takes them to pastures new.

In the ecology of school life, farewells are inevitable. Leaving well however, is not a given. The acronym RAFT, developed by the late sociologist David Pollock, can provide a helpful framework in navigating this process well.

He argues that in order to make a good transition, we need to build a strong RAFT to carry us through to our new destination:

R -Reconciliation

The first log to build into our raft is reconciliation. The goal here isn’t to become best friends with everyone, but to repair relationships where possible by requesting and extending forgiveness where things have gone awry. This helps bring a sense of closure, and ensures we are not carrying unresolved baggage with us into the next stage of our journey.

A -Affirmation

The second important log in our raft is affirmation. Taking the opportunity as we leave to express our appreciation for people we value, who have played a key role in this season of our life and career. This can be done face to face, or in writing. The key is to be intentional and not let the opportunity pass you by without saying thank you. 

F - Farewell

This is perhaps the most obvious log in the raft, but one many of us are keen to avoid: the act of saying goodbye. Doing so is important as it helps us and others accept and acknowledge that this season in our life and work is over. Strange as it may sound, saying goodbye to significant places and things can also be a valuable part of the raft building process as we prepare to move away from the old and familiar towards the new and not yet known.

T - Think Destination

Unsurprisingly, keeping our destination in mind is an important part of leaving well. What are you looking forward to? What will take some getting used to? Expressing future hopes and expectations as we prepare to leave helps integrate the journey, both for ourselves as we prepare to take the next step and for those whom we are leaving behind.

Psychologists note how hard it is to say a good “hello” if you haven’t said a proper “goodbye”. Here at Emmaus, we’re committed to helping church school leaders discern their next steps and supporting them throughout the recruitment process. So, if you’ve said yes to a new challenge and are preparing to leave your role and/or school this summer; congratulations! Amidst all the busyness of moving and handovers, we’d love to encourage you to take the time to build your raft. You’ll thank us for it later!



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