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A kindergarten class.
A longtime kindergarten teacher explains why she quit:
Each year, I have been required to spend more time attending classes and workshops to learn about new academic demands that smack of 1st and 2nd grade, instead of kindergarten and PreK. I have needed to schedule and attend more and more meetings about increasingly extreme behaviors and emotional needs of children in my classroom; I recognize many of these behaviors as children shouting out to the adults in their world, “I can’t do this!  Look at me!  Know me!  Help me!  See me!” I have changed my practice over the years to allow the necessary time and focus for all the demands coming down from above. Each year there are more. Each year I have had less and less time to teach the children I love in the way I know best—and in the way child development experts recommend. I reached the place last year where I began to feel I was part of a broken system that was causing damage to those very children I was there to serve.

I was trying to survive in a community of colleagues who were struggling to do the same: to adapt and survive, to continue to hold onto what we could, and to affirm what we believe to be quality teaching for an early childhood classroom.  I began to feel a deep sense of loss of integrity. I felt my spirit, my passion as a teacher, slip away. I felt anger rise inside me. I felt I needed to survive by looking elsewhere and leaving the community I love so dearly. I did not feel I was leaving my job. I felt then and feel now that my job left me.

And more:
  • James Rebhorn, one of those actors whose name you probably didn't know but whose face is instantly recognizable, died recently, and he wrote his own, very touching obituary. In addition to sweet testimonials to members of his family, he had this to say:
Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. He was a professional actor. His unions were always there for him, and he will remain forever grateful for the benefits he gained as a result of the union struggle. Without his exceptional teachers and the representation of the best agents in the business, he wouldn't have had much of a career. He was a lucky man in every way.
The full-time job itself is only a fairly recent development in human history, spanning a couple hundred years or so, and the attendant expectation that a job be “good,” paying a living wage and providing healthcare and retirement benefits, with a union and some security, is a peculiar historical development of the New Deal era in the United States—an era that is almost without question over.

Power created that era—the power of organized workers in unions demanding better conditions. But the bosses, it's worth noting, never stopped trying to dismantle the deal. [...]

We should carefully consider what comes next, whether that be high-end freelancers hopping from gig to gig, disdaining a full-time job, or more likely, the further fragmentation into piecework that we see happening in digital spaces like Amazon's Mechanical Turk, and the conversion of formerly full-time union jobs such as port trucking or auto manufacturing into low-security independent contracting or temp labor.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I completely get why she quit (9+ / 0-)

    I am sick and tired of spending time and more time with paperwork that is repetitive. I write the same thing 3 different ways!

    And, honestly? I think as long as I complete the paperwork, I could be sitting and doing practically zilch with my kids and still get a good review.

    I am a speech therapist working for an education agency, and I am considered a teacher. I work with children ages 3-5. I am part of a union. The pay continues to be crappy, and the days get longer. If I could retire, I would--not because I don't love what I do with my little ones; but because I have had it with paperwork and high caseloads and lack of respect and...

    Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

    by mapamp on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:09:47 PM PDT

  •  This is the wrong story to write about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, sajiocity

    A story about one teacher quitting because she feels like she's part of a broken system will do nothing.

    The average new teacher lasts less than five years.  It happens all the time.  

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:31:44 PM PDT

    •  This teacher was a 25-year veteran. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Penny GC, LinSea, otto, fixxit, IamGumby

      Not some young kid who rightly recognizes that the smarter move would be to get the hell out before it's too late to change careers.

      Which, of course, is a devastating comment on the War on Education all by itself.

      •  Oh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sajiocity

        That's totally different.  A 25 year veteran quitting?  

        Listen, it's a good story. It's just not the story that's going to make a difference.  

        People quit jobs all the time for many reasons, any of them related to training requirements.  I can understand that she has a professional issue with the apparent developmental level of the curriculum.  That can happen.  In situations I know of, teachers are required to maintain their teaching certificates by taking additional credits or clock hours.  

        Typically, classes that are training for new curriculum are not only paid for by the district, but they are also allowed to be used as hours towards the new certificate.  

        I am a teacher.  I understand the challenge for teachers in adopting new material.  Some of which they may not like.  

        It is, however, part of the job description.  

        The story that needs to be written is the one about a school district which puts a moratorium on curriculum adoption, and begins to wade out from under the piles of curriculum they've adopted which have sucked.  

        We have a curriculum addiction in this country.  It's not much different from congress.  The people who sell the curriculum are the same people who used to work in the schools.  

        One time, I sat there in this room full of early reading material that was purchased through some federal grants, and I just couldn't even understand why they had just wasted all this money on the books.  There appears to have been almost no thought applied to their selections.  

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:19:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am a retired teacher and as long (0+ / 0-)

          as the professional development and training was relevant and not a waste of time, I looked forward to being exposed to new ideas, some of which were easily adaptable to what and how I teach and some were just plain idiotic, which didn't make me want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  I consider myself a prospector - and if I come home with a nugget of something, it's been successful.
          The complaints about child development may also be questionable.  I always thought children were not challenged enough as toddlers and they would thrive if they were - as I saw my own kids and grandkids did.  My K grand child and her classmates are reading like 1st graders a generation ago. I was always able to challenge kids to work "above their grade" because the standards were pretty damn low.
          But after 25 years, I can understand that there are lots of other factors that lead to burnout and the desire to make changes.
          I wish her well.

          "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

          by sajiocity on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:52:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  And of course (0+ / 0-)

    she has enough money, support and/or another great job lined up so that she can afford to preach her high moral standards to the world.

    Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

    by dov12348 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:49:55 PM PDT

  •  Pay our teachers more than the administrators. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cadillac64, IamGumby

    Then make it the law! Give them the proper tools to do the proper job and get the hell out of their way!
    These are the people we entrust our next generation too.
    I come from a family of teachers (retired)and I don't think they would now because the system is totally broken.
    Glad my kids have teachers in the family to help support them

    “When you victim-blame, be aware that in all likelihood, at least one woman you know and love silently decides she cannot trust you.” ` Steph Guthrie

    by Penny GC on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:41:56 PM PDT

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