How many does this make? I may be intentionally not keeping track, but here is the latest viral resignation post by a teacher. When I read these I understand more facets of the argument than I am proud of. I wonder what other teachers think when they read through those viral resignation letters? Do new teachers become discouraged? Do veteran teachers do a math problem to calculate years to retirement?
June 2019 updated with two more heartbreakers: Michelle Maile and Jessica Gentry.
I understand that as a teacher past the middle of my career I have a different view as well. I have already conquered starting out in teaching, starting over (and over) again teaching in new states, and I feel resilient as a teacher.
I guess there is a place between where I am right now where these teachers find themselves. They have already been successful in teaching, but they have opted out of having to survive more. It is not just the count-down to retirement which retains me. And we all know that the bureaucracy of public education does not encourage teachers who feed on student growth and enthusiasm. So why haven’t I resigned from teaching yet?
Probably for the same reason YOU have not resigned from teaching yet.
I like short people. The inverse relationship between your height on your attitude toward learning is interesting. I like introducing ideas, exploring concepts, and testing things out with people who are genuinely interested. Any learner can have that time when s/he is not prepared to learn, but children seem to have fewer of them. Students seem interested in learning about the patterns of the world. I also enjoy teaching adults who display these qualities, but it just seems adults come with more issues blocking their openness to real learning.
The upside of the bureaucracy of public education is that we have experience focusing on the long game. We are not opposed to working diligently on small components and bring them together to make a larger whole by the end of the year. Public education accepts small chunks, slow progress, and as long as you are being successful by the outside metrics de jour – is often willing to let you close your door or work with your team to accomplish that incremental growth as you deem fit.
Mostly, I am not ready to give up yet.
I still can justify my daily efforts by the number of those I am able to help.
That is what keeps me coming back day after day, year in and year out. When that goes away so will I, but luckily that has not happened yet. I am surrounded by colleagues who remind me of how we impact classrooms. For my part I want to remind you that you are in this for the long game too. You are making a small, gradual, yet undeniable difference! I respect those who share their resignation stories with us so that everyone can weigh our contribution to the daily burden of being an educator in the public school system at this time. I value those resigning to a mass media audience as the canaries in our coal mine who should let the public know that our public school system is in a crisis. I want to be here to pick up the pieces and make it better when the current socio-political experiment concludes.
When the public asks why you think these teachers are resigning – tell them why you are not resigning yet.
2015-11-18 at 11:30 am
Well put Penny. It’s so tempting to jump on a ban-wagon and soak up the positive social media feedback for making such a “brave” stand or choice. The problem is that the actual choice being made in such a public manner does nothing to fix the problem for current and future teachers. I wonder about the depths of their inevitable regret and am saddened that they choose to shock people with such a choice rather than lean on their peers for support and pressure their administrators for change.
2015-11-18 at 10:50 pm
This is a very interesting post and worth talking about.
2016-02-06 at 9:49 am
Well stated. I also believe that all great teachers quitting is exactly what the system wants. It is all by design to push out the strong and educated and bring in the newbies that will just follow the only system they’ve ever known and collect a low paycheck. I know from experience that an education in the education field is highly frowned upon. Working toward my doctorate in education, I’ve had to keep most of my studies a secret, as while going through my CAGS, my administrator became very angry and retaliative towards me if she found out I was taking any more coursework. I cannot wait to see her glimmer of joy when I graduate with the doctorate.
Public schools only want young, inexperienced teachers to take rock bottom pay , not ask questions, blindly follow what doesn’t work, and dumb children down. I am thankful my own children are finally graduating from high school (a charter school…thank God!). I would be horrified if I were a parent of a kindergarten child having to go through the broken education system today.
Meanwhile, I will continue on my mission of helping as many children through as I can and helping families. It is their education that matters and they deserve the best. All of the politics have no merit and I remain optimistic that what comes around goes around for all these policy makers. Some of them must be parents too. Hopefully they’ll see whats important at some point and start putting children first. We are the front liners right now. If we give up….they win…..children lose. Sad.
2016-02-06 at 9:53 am
Good for you Mrs. B! I know so much of what you have experienced is shared with many other educators. For my part, I cannot give up on public education – at least not yet – I have a 8 & 4 YO!
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
2020-03-13 at 12:20 am
Even the best teachers get put in situations that are physically and mentally exhausting. Feeling like you want to quit does not mean that you were not cut out for the job, or are a bad person. The position you’re in just may not be the best one for you, or you may just be having an exceptionally tough year.