Why Our Education System Must Change, From a Teacher Who is Leaving

I left work early today after an incident with a parent left me unable emotionally to continue for the day. I have already made the decision to leave teaching at the end of this year, and today, I don’t know if I will make it even that long. Parents have become far too disrespectful, and their children are even worse. Administration always seems to err on the side of keeping the parents happy, which leaves me with no way to do the job I was hired to do…teach kids.

My classroom regularly looks destroyed after my students spend all day there. Keep in mind that many of the items damaged or destroyed by my students are my personal possessions or I purchased myself, because I have NO classroom budget. I have finally had enough of the disregard for personal and school property and am drawing a line in the sand on a myriad of behaviors that I am through tolerating. Unfortunately, one parent today thought it was wrong of me to hold her son accountable for his behavior and decided to very rudely tell me so, in front of her son. 

Report cards come out later this week, and I have nearly half of my students failing due to multiple (8-10) missing assignments. Most of these students and their parents haven’t seemed to care about this over the past three months, though weekly reports go out, emails have been sent and phone calls have been attempted. But now I’m probably going to spend my entire week next week fielding calls and emails from irate parents, wanting to know why I failed their kid. My administrator will demand an explanation of why I let so many fail without giving them support, even though I’ve done practically everything short of doing the work for them. And behavior in my class will deteriorate even more. I am expecting this, because it is what has happened at the end of every other term thus far.

I have never heard of a profession where people put so much of their heart and soul into their job, taking time and resources from their home and family, and getting paid such an insultingly measly amount. Teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met, yet they get treated so disrespectfully from all sides.

I have many amazing, hard-working, respectful students who show up every day and give their best and also many supportive, loving parents. For them I am thankful, but unfortunately, the negative experiences I have had are far too many. 

It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to have a classroom of my own, and now my heart is broken to have become so disillusioned in these short two years. This is almost all I hear from other teachers as well, and they are leaving the profession in droves. There is going to be a teacher crisis in this country before too many more years have passed unless the abuse of teachers stops. 

There are three main issues we must address as a society:

First, the education system as we know it needs reform. It is broken and inadequate for our children.

Second, we absolutely have to hold our children to a higher standard of accountability in all areas. Inflating their success doesn’t raise self-esteem. If it did, we wouldn’t have the highest teen suicide rates in history right now.

Third, we as a society have to get back to treating one another with manners and respect. We are only going downhill with hatred and name-calling. No one wins when kindness dies. 

If we all work together, we can make the changes we need for our collective success.

1 reply
  1. Candida Kyle
    Candida Kyle says:

    I am heart broken. I am grateful that during my 36yrs of teaching, there was some respect and some creative license in my lesson planning. These last 5 years have been horrific and after retirement, I was subbing and am no longer doing so.
    What can we do to turn things around?
    Better pay isn’t enough.
    Being treated as PROFESSIONALS with knowledge that goes beyond “glorified babysitter” is the beginning of respect.
    Resources, autonomy, respect, smaller class sizes. additional support staff and better salary is the answer.
    How do we get there?

    Reply

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