A Not So Graceful Exit: Why I Left Teaching

Yesterday, I quit.  In the middle of the school year, I quit.  After fourteen years in education, I quit.  I.  Quit.  Quitting isn’t something I do, particularly when children are involved, so this is still quite difficult to think or talk about.  It might seem an abrupt decision to some, but for those that know me well, you know this is something I have flirted with for a few years now.  I think it started about five years ago…

I was teaching in an inner-city school in Memphis.  I loved my principal.  I loved my kids.  I loved teaching.  Now, of course, there were issues.  Too much paperwork.  Not enough hours in the day.  Uninvolved parents.  Disobedient children.  District mandates that made no sense.  Still, overall, I was happy being a teacher.  I knew that I would either drop dead teaching or they would have to roll me out in a wheelchair.  It was what I wanted to do forever.  Then, the evaluation process for teachers dramatically changed.  Now, our students’ standardized test scores would become part of our evaluation. As I saw this change coming, I decided that I could help this process along by taking more of a teacher leader role.  So, I applied and became the instructional facilitator for the school where I had taught for the past 6 years.  In this role, I hoped to coach, mentor, and support teachers.  After all, that was a large part of that job description.  In reality, very little of my time was able to be spent doing that.  What did take up a large amount of my time was being my school’s test administrator.  I had experience with testing and the strict guidelines that go along with them, as all teachers do.  However, as test administrator, I was now responsible for reporting my teachers if they did not follow those guidelines.  The stress and worry of that prospect was just too much for me.  I had become an enforcer of a practice I didn’t even believe in.  I couldn’t do this to my teachers, so I left the position after two years and went back to the classroom.

I decided to try a different setting.  Middle school math.  My first year back in the classroom was blissful.  I loved my co-workers.  I loved the diversity of the school.  I loved teaching one subject all day.  Then, we started testing.  And the testing was even more frequent last year.  And now, three months into the school year, I’m certain we have tested more so far than we did all last year combined.

So, I quit.  I’m not going to be the messenger that tells my students that they have to take another test.  I am not going to spend another class period telling them I cannot help them get through a test they don’t understand.  They can get someone else to do that.  It will kill my teaching soul to do it even one more time.  Like all teachers, I have kids that read below grade level.  I can’t help them though.  I also have students that have only been in the country a few months.  I can’t help them though.  I even have students who don’t know our alphabet because their language is different than ours.  I can’t help them though.  And bless their hearts, they do it because I ask them to.  Most of them would do absolutely anything I asked.  They trust me and believe that what I am asking them to do is what is best for them.  I mean that’s why I spent weeks building connections with them at the beginning of the year.  I want them to trust me.  I rarely have discipline issues.  We are too busy and engaged in the lesson to get off task.  However, after testing kids for two weeks straight, they were done.  You cannot expect struggling students to engage in an activity that is so above their instructional level for an extended amount of time without eventually seeing their behavior change.  It is too frustrating for them!  I could tell that those two weeks broke the bond that I had built with some of my most challenging students.  They just didn’t trust me anymore.  That goes against every single thing inside me that led me to become a teacher in the first place.  And to be quite honest, it broke my heart.  I recently saw a post where someone described teaching as an abusive relationship.  You love it, but it makes you so unhappy.  I get that.  It does feel that way.

So, I quit.  I wrote a resignation letter giving my 30-day notice and gave it to my principal on a Monday morning.  I told him, both of my assistant principals, and my instructional facilitator that day.  With each time I told my story, I cried.  They didn’t try to stop me.  They didn’t make me feel guilty.  They were kind and understanding.  They know.  I’m sure they feel like quitting sometimes, too.  They aren’t the problem.  I slowly told my co-workers, friends, and family.  Everyone that knows me well said to do it.  Every single educator said they understood and would do it too if they could.  Every.  Single.  One.  I’m not married.  I don’t have kids.  I don’t have a mortgage.  I don’t have a car note.  I have more freedom to do this than most.  Because of that, I can’t be quiet about this.  I need to speak for those that don’t have the option to bow out.

My first step was sending the following letter home to all my students’ parents:

November 24, 2015

Dear Parents,

I regret to inform you that today is my last day as your child’s math teacher at #####.  I want you to know that this decision was not easy for me.  I will fill you in on why I am leaving, but first I will tell you what absolutely did not have anything to do with me leaving.  First, your children are not why I’m leaving education.  They are, in fact, the only reason I have any apprehension about this decision.  This, of course, will be most difficult for them.  I have talked to them about this and they handled it like rock stars, but please talk to them about it when they get home.  Adult decisions are often hard for anyone to understand, especially children.  Secondly, the administration at ##### is not why I am leaving.  I have felt nothing but supported by my administrative staff this school year.  I believe they have the best interest of your children in mind.  If I was going to teach anywhere, it would absolutely be at #####.  Finally, the teachers at ##### are not why I am leaving.  I have worked with many teachers over the past 15 years.  The teachers at ##### are some of the best I have ever seen.  In a profession where you are often blamed more than revered, I admire their willingness to keep waking up each day and choosing to keep going for their students.  Please continue to support the teachers at #####.  They need it, but more importantly, they deserve it.

Now…here is why I am leaving.  For the past five years, I have seen the testing of our students become more frequent and more frustrating for all those involved.  I absolutely hate having to stand before my kids and tell them they have to take another test.  It kills a little bit of my teaching soul each time I have to do it.  I spend so much time having to test them that I have little time to teach them, much less listen and talk to them.  So far this year, I have given my students the following tests: iStation Diagnostic (this will be given twice more this year), iReady Diagnostic (this will be given twice more this year), MAP Test (given in ELA, Math and Science), and the MIST test (given in ELA, Math, and SS).  These are just the tests that are mandated by the district or state.  We also give pre- and post-Common Formative Assessments at the school level.  Why all the testing these days?  The following is a post I saw online that explains it perfectly.  I’m not sure who posted it originally, so I am unable to give credit.  “The feds require annual testing for accountability. This translates into the BIG test that every state has (In Tennessee this is what we refer to as TCAP, now TNReady…more about that later).  However, the stakes are so high for that test, that states require additional “practice” tests.  But, the results of the state tests are used to threaten districts that are “failing”.  So the districts require “benchmark” tests, to make sure the students are ready for practice tests.  Individual schools and administrators are held accountable for their scores on the benchmarks, so they also impose building-level tests.  The result is non-stop testing.”

Back to TNReady.  This is the new state test that students will be taking this year in place of TCAP.  TNReady is a computer-based test and will be given in February and April.  Because it is taken on the computer, testing schedules will disrupt our regular schedule more than just a week like we were accustomed to under TCAP.  If that isn’t bad enough, the test is just down-right confusing.  You can read a blog post about it and take some practice questions here: http://www.mommabears.org/blog/alarming-info-about-tnready-testing-bomb.  Additionally, the blog post by State Representative Andy Holt shows you exactly how this is being handled by those in power in Tennessee: http://www.andyholt4tn.com/holt-what-tn-teachers-parents-should-know-about-standardized-tests/.  I urge you to become familiar with what is going on in education and make your voice heard about what is best for your child.  You can do this by contacting your school board members, representatives and senator.  And vote every single time.  It does make a difference.

So, back to my leaving.  I have to try to fight this somehow.  I’m not sure how I will go about that yet.  I guess this is my first step.  I do know that I can no longer be the messenger of something that I believe is harmful to my students.  That is exactly the opposite of why I became a teacher in the first place.  I am meant to help, support, empower, and praise children.  Under this current testing culture, I am simply helping to hurt them and that just isn’t who I am.

In closing, I am going to miss my kids so much.  I can barely think of it without crying.  However, I hope they eventually look back at this time and realize that I stood up for something I believed in even though it was a very, very difficult choice.  When they are faced with standing up for something they believe is wrong, I hope they are strong enough to do so.  It isn’t easy, but I think we all need a little more of that in our world.

My next step?  Not sure yet.  I do know that it is a disgrace that we are allowing companies from the testing industry to make millions of dollars off the abuse of our public education system.  Not only are we killing the spirits of students who want to learn, but we are also killing the spirits of teachers that want to make a life-long career of this.  I’m not the first one to give up and I certainly won’t be the last.  In 10-20 years, we are going to look back at this time in education and be very ashamed of what we have allowed to happen.

Finally, please hope and pray that my kids get a qualified teacher quickly. One that isn’t jaded by the system, that loves them in spite of their challenges, and has the strength to withstand the foolishness that educators endure.  I couldn’t be that for them anymore and the grief that causes me is suffocating at times.  I will miss them every day.  This quote helps when the feelings become overwhelming, “Be OK with not knowing for sure what might come next, but know that whatever it is…you will be OK”.   

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428 thoughts on “A Not So Graceful Exit: Why I Left Teaching

  1. I know how you feel, and I have it a lot better than you since I teach in a private, non-profit international overseas school. I also love my kids, my job, my career, my colleagues. That being said, we also have test creep here- MAP now takes up six weeks of our year, and we are adding another based on the fou-fou “every child gets a trophy” method of instruction entitled “Standard’s Based Education”. I’ve had it. I’m tired of meaningless rubrics, test-re-test, no accountability for homework or other assignments (have to separate ‘behaviors’ from ‘learning’), and filling out Atlas Rubicon. I put in a recipe for strawberry jam. It took five years for the curriculum coordinator to find it. Worthwhile program, that Atlas!
    I made it 33 years, but I’m done. Going home, going into homeschool education. This profession has left me, I didn’t leave it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My wife left teaching years ago. She had taught in the Dept. Of Defense schools in Germany. She could set her own curriculum and raise the standards as she felt her students could handle. When she came back stateside, she encountered fellow teachers and administrators who felt she was raising the bar too high and that she should “show more movies” in class to keep the children entertained. These were 6th graders. She was also instructed by the principal not to fail a student who cheated on a final exam stating that it was a behavioral problem, not an academic one. In leaving she really felt that American schools had become not much more than a babysitting service. Of course, here in Oregon, we are now at the very bottom of national graduation rates.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My cousin with over 20 years of teaching experience and his daughter who got her masters to teach ‘like her daddy’ both quit over last year of so for this very same reason. . Sad. . sad.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s so strange you should say that because my niece who has a master’s in education and I who have 25 years in the classroom both quit within the same week and for the very reasons listed by the teacher/writer of this piece. The public is simply unaware of the nightmare that educators live every day in this test crazy country. It is just infuriating because I lived and breathed education and was one of it’s staunchest supporters no matter what but even I had to bow out before I planned to. Something has to change but the thought of what that will entail is frightening as well! I long for the days when I could spend an entire day with my kids working on projects, meeting in peer study groups to help each other, playing learning games, taking an hour to just paint or draw because it was relevant to a unit of study or just go outside for a lesson–because the weather is nice and we feel like it! All gone–replaced by the almighty accountability testing which takes up every minute of the day because you are either testing, or getting them ready to test EVERY DAY. It just makes me sick. I loved to teach when I started, and I still would if I could actually teach and not perform clerical duties like a secretary instead. The paperwork alone is enough to make a newbie quit before they get acclimated. I’ve seen it happen. I wish I had the answers but until someone figures out how to turn this around the profession i love so much will continue to lose phenomenal educators—and that is such a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know of 3 great teachers in my building alone who will either quit before the end of the school year or will not come back after this year. It breaks my heart. They are good teachers, they teach”to the bell”. They inspire and challenge and encourage the kids and the teachers around them. They are leaving because of the kinds of things written about in this article. Sad

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  4. The government is so intent on testing that they forget that TEACHING and LEARNING is more important. They are showing their STUPIDITY. Most of the kids coming out of school today cannot read, write or do simple math skills (like count back change) . With social media (cell phones and texting) most are socially inept at talking to people face to face. Most will not be able to do more than flip burgers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They teach us math skills we will never use and its like the teachers dont even care anymore because of the strandized testing rules so in turn students arent caring then those of us who do we remember what it was like if we are juniors/seniors bc we didnt always have all these tests then tests count as 60% of are grade know I love school but at the same time enough is enough i am so ready to be done and in college and making something of myself. i honestly think hw should count more then anything so more students will actually do it

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  5. Taken straight from my lips!
    I taught in NC and had the same issues. Four years after University and I was doing no teaching and just testing. All for a whopping $28,000 a year before taxes. I couldn’t even afford to pay my school loans. I know you’d like to bring positive social change and overhaul the education system in the states, and if you can find a way…go for it! Its an uphill battle, but definitely one that needs to be foraged.
    I took the easy way out and came abroad. I have been teaching in Kuwait for the past three years and absolutely love it. The only tests I give are online spelling/phonics tests once a week. There is no standardized testing here, except if you count the pretests we give for reading and math tests at the beginning of the year to find their levels. Its awesome. Check out teaching abroad. http://www.tieonline.com(cheap signup and online coupon available), and http://www.searchassociates.com(a little more expensive but worth it if you’re serious about finding a teaching job abroad).
    Good luck in life! From one single educator to another…the world is your oyster. Go out and live it!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The bottom line is you quit. You left the students you claim to care about. Why not quit at the end of the school year? Get a job where you can teach adults or at a business. All your students will remember you as the teacher who quit. What your students learned was they have to work hard and follow the rules and you quit. Very disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bull. I don’t know if you are a teacher or not but teachers leaveid-year for all kinds of reasons. Districts move teachers if necessary mid year.

      If you are an excellent ducstir, you should have more compassion. I retired before I planned to for the exact respond listed in this letter?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Figures there would be someone who would miss the point of the entire story. How easy it is to condemn and judge when you have never set foot in a classroom and taught. Most people wouldn’t last for a month. I applaud this teacher on her convictions and her actions.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Unfortunately, I agree with you. I was a public school administrator and it is next to impossible to find qualified teaching candidates mid-year. Having said that, I don’t blame her for leaving public ed. Testing, shrinking budgets, and “accountability” (another term for taking money from struggling schools or punishing professionals who dare to teach the most needy) have made teaching (and administration) one of the most stressful of jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a teacher for 18 years – I live in South Africa. Our government’s policies and idiotic ideas killed it for me too. I will not have any part in the destruction of a system that was working. I saw the standard of education drop at the speed of light. I refuse to send uneducated students into the world. Statistics proof year after year that our education system is failing our children big time. The tests here are just as ridiculous as yours. An additional problem I had was the fact that I am white and our black kids culture (mostly the boys) do not respect woman and if their parents are still blaming the whites for everything – including the fact that their children can not read or write – 20 years after Apartheid came to an end. What was the final straw for me? One of my students – a 9 year old girl went home one afternoon and never came back. She died after an asthma attack. I loved her like I always loved all my students. She was black – her parents do not hate whites. They asked me to speak at her funeral. It broke my heart and the hate I saw in some of the other people at the funeral made it worst. I resigned. I miss my kids but I do not miss the hate and the stupid idiotic policies our government is enforcing – simply because they want to wipe any and all influence of whites from the face of the earth. Sad that they are ruining the future of the kids that will one day have to govern this country.

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  8. Mr. Scott, having had you as a teacher in the past for many years I 1. Know what you’re saying when you speak of your love for teaching. Anyone could tell how much joy it brought you/ and how much you truly loved it by your actions you made. You always had a kind, loving, and most importantly a very uplifting attitude everyday! And that’s what made the students enjoy your classes! Because you made it feel like such a fun, and happy, environment to be in! That’s why it’s sad to hear that you’re unhappy with your job because as a teacher you had made so many/ hundreds of students feel so happy and enjoy their day; not just by being a good spirited teacher. But by being more of an actual friend! : you are, without a doubt The teacher that 30-40 years from now there will be students Who are talking to Their own- children/ grandchildren. And telling them about a teacher they had named Mr. Scott who made school/ being in the classroom and learning more of a Joy! And that I promise you. I’ve already experienced that myself while talking to some people at a doctors office I had a guy who heard I went to North and he had told me about a teacher he had namedNed Scott. And I had said yes I had him then the man had the biggest smile on his face while talking about who memories of being in that class!

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  9. I know exactly how you fill. Each year was being interrupted with more and more testing. The final blow came when Iwas told that I had to teach math related lesson in my French class. I thought exchanging currency would be a good lesson. Well the students could not do it without calculators…big flop. Next I I thought a map lesson using rulers for measuring distances from Paris to other world capitals. Well the students couldn’t use rulers. Another flop. Finally someone game me a a pack of cards with math problems. I put the problem on the board. Whoever came to the board and did the math got extra credit. That was my last year teaching. I had to leave for health reasons due to stress. I still miss teaching French.

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  10. As a teacher in the UK, I can sympathise. I’m not at the breaking point you have reached and I’ve only been in the job 4 years, but I can sympathise. A favourite quote of mine that is quite clearly ignored by our education system at a government level (and clearly yours at a state level) is as follows:
    If you judge a fish by his ability to climb a tree, he will live his life forever thinking he is stupid” – Einstein.
    Chin up and good luck with your future.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. …and I resigned my teaching position this past Wednesday. I have a hard time being evaluated on how successful students are in ELA and Math when I teach Science.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good luck with what’s next. As someone who left high school 6 years ago, I can say that it really has become all about the testing. I left not knowing how to do the basics in life – apply for a loan, use a debit card, navigate a train map… And while parents play a role in teaching their kids some of these things, most parents themselves don’t have time for that. I always wished they taught more life-skills at school, but that’s pretty hard to do when teachers are hesitant to even take questions about their lessons because of time constraints related to testing. Sad state.

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  13. This person is saying what I’ve bn saying for awhile & especially this yr. it is ridiculous, something must be done, our children are not learning the way they should be, my granddaughters have the map testing every Thurs. they are tested on stuff they have not even been taught yet! They are bribed & promised certain things if they make a certain score. I think I would have to do what this person did, if I was a teacher, I would quit, because it is so wrong & it is getting worse all the time & tested more & more.

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  14. I understand that we are being required to do a lot of state-mandated question and I hear a lot of complaints about that. If we as a profession want to be taken seriously about this subject then we need to make sure that our own assessments are at the level they should be and that we aren’t wasting time reviewing all day prior to our own test and then having students sit with nothing to do for the remaining class time after taking our test. By far the greatest time spent on testing is still the teacher produced and given tests.

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  15. I also started teaching in year 2000.
    I knew that I was going to change the atmosphere of learn one student at a time!
    For the first few years I did! It was magical!
    Then came standardized testing! I did ok the first few years!
    I understood the process and procedures, I taught the content and included the test take strategy!
    They started telling principals to brow beat teachers into these robotic beings with scripted, TelePrompTer lessons (smart boards) and never having the time to insure that student received the retention of the material to be taught in 3 days WOW, yep 3 days top! Then move on!
    When I started being harassed by my principal! And then a student, when I was threatened by a parent ( she told me she would see me in the street! And I was told that I did not understand how to write lesson plans ( a procedures that I have taught to other teacher and given awards because of the accuracy of my lesson plans).
    I walkout and I never went back! I have been in therapy every since!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is my 25th year to teach. Some days I think I could do it forever,but those days are few and far between. I think about quitting every single day. Several times a day. It’s not the kids. It’s every stupid hoop we have to jump through, every single meaningless meeting we have just so we can document that we had a meeting about some issue that wouldn’t exist if there were any common sense left in education. It’s about being held responsible to make kids care about a test as much the people who are financially profiting from it do. Never doubt that this isn’t also about money. I teach awesome kids. They are bright, funny, energetic, and resourceful. Test time makes them tense, resentful, and angry. I don’t blame them.

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  17. Rise up!! Wake up!! Teachers are no longer allowed to teach in an exciting way!! They teach to the test and education is longer fun for the teachers who have no time to engage students and help them learn to think for themselves which should be the purpose of an education. Teaching or learning is no longer exciting for teachers or students!! Wake up America we are gallung behind other nations and who is going to lead if education is a drudge for everyone and students aren’t prepared For life. We are going to be raising a generation of robots who may be able to split facts but do not understand reasoning!!

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  18. I am considering the same move. I teach Self Contained higher level students. I teach them to read, to do math, social studies, science, social skills etc. my parents and students r amazing and the faculty of my middle school are of the highest level. Their expectations are high for their students and mine are also high. I have now been told by administration that my students should not need to be working toward such high expectations as I have set. That sorting is really all they need. They have also loaded the classrooms of our reg Ed teachers with classes exceeding 35 students and taken away all the extra things the teachers did in the past to improve THE SCORES and increased the testing. I am done with my teaching soul being torn apart also. Hoping To be able to make the move soon. I know many more who r joining the same path.

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  19. I did the very same thing this year about 3 weeks ago after 32 years of teaching. Ethically, I cannot and will not put any child through this miserable mess. On top of all the testing, I was told to “Make it fun!” How can constant pressure on student and teacher “Make it fun”.? I loved teaching beyond a passion up until the past two years. Lord help the new teachers. They have no idea how rewarding teaching can be!

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  20. When I read these comments from all over the world it is clear that governments everywhere is interfering in a system / industry they know nothing about. They are not interested in the input of the people working in it every day – the real experts. I am also sad to see that they are chasing away the dedicated teachers. I was one – that is for sure. I loved it with all my heart and it did not feel like a job. It was a Privilege – then it became punishment. Good luck to all of you out there and respect to those of you still hanging in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I read this blog while we were out for Thanksgiving. It was written by one of my former colleagues. She was a fantastic, motivating, energetic, young teacher in the public school system. Before Thanksgiving she quit teaching… Just like I did in 2014… she quit! I was heartbroken to hear this! She was the 4th phenomenal teacher I have worked with to quit teaching within the last two years! These wonderful teachers left the profession in the very beginning or middle of the year!
    As my former colleague described, if your every child in a public school in Tennessee is being taught using Common Core Standards and tested to the brink of exhaustion weekly or even daily in some cases. This egregious method of so-called education is dangerous to our children and our society for many reasons! Not only does it hinder students academic achievement, it’s detrimental to their ability to understanding the need for “thinking” abstractly. How can they learn to “think” critically if they are not given opportunities for creativity, or expression? When do they have time to learn how to “speak” to an audience, or “think” of responses to oral questions quickly or formally? Where are the future medical school students? Who are the future med students capable of providing detailed information in critical situations? When do children learn how to use language, or create science projects in class with their peers? These poor misguided children are being taught the value of a mechanical education. Students are being encouraged to use limited information to pass a test of minimal significance. In other words, when schools regurgitate statistical facts needed to pass standardized tests to students in the form of meaningful or purposeful lessons… this educational premise is indeed a fallacy or an illusion. In fact, most school districts have a pacing guide and standards that have to be taught and assessed by a certain time. ( Ex. Three weeks to teach nouns, 2 weeks to teach verbs, 2 weeks to teach subtraction, and so on…) Hummm??? Do all students learn at this rate? Will all students need the same teaching methods? If a teacher has 25-30 students in the class, and practicing for standardized testing is the priority… How much time is actually spent re-teaching a difficult skill to struggling students, or providing more advanced learners with additional higher level assignments? Please tell me Mr. or Mrs. John Q. Public, what is to be done to keep good teachers motivated? Why should they choose to stay in a system that sets the children up for failure… And an evaluation process that has the potential to impact teacher salary and threaten job sec. Yes, I quit… it had nothing to do with the children, I was no longer concerned about the money or bills! I was not happy with a system, that compromised my love for the profession. I was no longer comfortable looking at myself in the mirror… I no longer believed my purpose was to do what was best for children… “educate them”… In good conscious, I could not stay. I knew it was time for me to step away for myself and my children.
    I don’t know how to help repair this broken system, but I do know we need to open our eyes… Children are the future, and education has a serious problem… AND it starts much higher up the food chain than teachers…

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  22. Best of luck with your career change/move. Having taught three years in a very urban school, I can relate. I can only hope that not all schools are the same and that teaching goes back to what it “used” to be… focusing on pupils learning!

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  23. I understand. I was supposed to teach another three years and gave up a sizeable amount of retirement benefits, however I could not go in every day to students who trusted me and not be permitted to discipline those who got out of line or who stopped the teaching process. I could not stop the relentless testing that they could not understand or pass. I could not justify to these students why they were being passed over (I taught students with IEP’s in high school) and ignored by clubs, other teachers. I could not continue to complete paperwork claiming that students had bet minimum state requirements to graduate with a regular diploma when I know it was not true, but we had to make the school look good or keep a parent happy or make sure a student got into the 3rd rate college that offered him a football scholarship. I miss teaching so much, but what we do today is not teaching. We manage educational material. We do not teach children how to learn nor do we teach them a love of learning. We teach them to pass a test. I now tutor part time. The money is not enough to by food for the month, but I am back to teaching, back to loving what I do. So you go girl. There is a position out there, it won’t give you the money the public school did, but it will give you the joy of actual teaching you so want and should have.

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  24. I am so sorry! I’m a retired teacher — elementary music, so I saw myself as an oasis of relief for the students in the midst of the testing desert. You, your administrators, colleagues, and most of all, your students are the victims of a broken system.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I am saddened to read this account because it elicits strong memories of my teaching years. I was removed from implementing a highly effective early reading intervention program and was made into a test administrator. I couldn’t tolerate the ineffectiveness of my new position; the contrast between the sense that I was saving lives in my former job with spending my days prepping children for tests was too tragically great. I exited teaching 7 years short of full retirement age and wrote a novel about my teaching experiences called The Children Are Tender.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Not just in academic setting, but in India, mental health care has also become all about testing the masses, segregating the students on that bases, and making those kids live with those labels most of their lives. It’s really disturbing the way this epidemic of testing has spread throughout. Really disturbing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I think what needs to happen is a country wide close the classroom door and teach. And refuse to give tests that have no merit. In isolation this won’t work. En mass it would a force to be reckoned. with.
    I teach art and am called upon to “sub” in regular classes and even there the scripted lessons are so poorly done I can’t teach from them.
    I can only imagine how awful it is to see it day after day.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I really do understand that so many dedicated and loving teachers are leaving the classroom at a rapid pace over these last few years. I did early retirement in 2014 from Shelby County Schools /MCS. There were 750 teachers to retire last year and over 500 this year. Looks like a plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Sounds like a book contract to me. McGraw Hill, Harcourt, and other major publishers collected $2 billion off Common Core and other standardized tests last year. With all the support you’re getting on this blog, maybe you teachers could pool stories and self-publish with crowd funding. That might cause McGraw Hill and Harcourt to sit up and take notice.

    The September/October, 2015 issue of Mother Jones has a good article on this subject, entitled “Sorry, I’m Not Taking This Test,” by Kristina Rizga. Would recommend it to anyone with common sense.

    KCO

    Liked by 1 person

  30. We have already lost one teacher this school year, and have 1 or 2 more who will leave by Christmas. True – they all waited until retirement, but if things weren’t so test-crazy in NC, they might have stayed until the end of the school year. And of the new teachers we got this year, half will not make it 5 years. Between all the testing and the low pay/low respect for educators in our state, there is no incentive for good teachers to stay.
    I think every person (Mom of 3 girls, this means you too) should be required to work in a school for a year – anyone who runs for public office where they will make decisions about education should be required to work there for 5 years. Maybe then people would understand what teachers go through.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Ms. Reeves,
    I hope it is okay to repost your blog on my Facebook page. If not, let me know and I will delete it. I also teach in TN- Shelby county area. This is my 20th year and your blog was written as if you had reached inside my brain and extracted my thoughts. I am only 57, so not yet able to truly retire, but also cannot face the thought of another 8-10 years of having my soul sucked out of me bit by bit. I have been struggling with the same issues that you and others commenters here have described and truly do not know how much longer my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health can hold up under all the daily stress of this vocation. I have pretty much made the decision that this will be my final year of teaching. I know that I will miss the kids and my wonderful colleagues, but that is probably all that I will miss. The only reason I have not quit teaching sooner was the fear of not being able to meet my financial obligations and being too old/overqualified/underqualified to get a new job in a different field. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written post. With your talent for writing and passion for justice I am certain that you will find yourself in a new job soon -if that is something you need or want. I know that it is hard to make the plunge into the unknown and leave behind all that is familiar. Please don’t second-guess yourself, you made the right decision, so have faith for a better tomorrow. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

    Liked by 2 people

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