The System Is Not Built for Teachers to Have an Opinion

Built for Teachers

I’m a teacher in the UK. I used to teach in a school that had many problems. The school was oversubscribed, and the parents of students that attended the school were frustrated by the lack of facilities and opportunities for their children. I witnessed this first hand. The parents of students at my school were frustrated by the school’s poor performance and the lack of opportunities for their children. I was frustrated by the poor performance, and the lack of opportunities. We all have opinions about the school, and the teachers, and the system.

All teachers are meant to be impartial, but it’s easy to see how teachers sometimes do stray from that notion. When it comes to the new standards-based testing system, the idea of the teacher “opinion” needs to be taken seriously. The new system is a set of standards that outline what students should know by the end of the year. The state has tested each grade level since 2006, and this year marks the first time the test is tied to the new standards.

Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed that illustrated the lengths to which teachers are pushed to give up their personal opinions in the classroom. The op-ed was written by a teacher at a private school in New York City and it discussed a New York state law that requires teachers to follow a uniform curriculum, which states that teachers are not allowed to teach “subjects that state or federal law specifically authorizes a teacher to teach.” The law has been in place since 1998, but was only recently enforced in New York City.. Read more about what makes a good teacher and let us know what you think.

At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I experienced the most significant divorce of my life. Here’s my unexpected departure from teaching …..

The expensive profession of teacher,

Je ne sais pas quoi dire, alors je pense que je vais parler avec mon coeur. I’ve tried to ignore the signs, but I can say with certainty that it’s time to move on. Please, let me explain…

We have had a wonderful journey over the past 13 years, but there are things in our relationship that I can no longer ignore. I would like to say: It’s not you, it’s me. But that would be a lie.

But that’s not really up to you either. It’s literally everything else that makes our relationship far more complicated than it needs to be – politicians, society, a collective disrespect for our profession, an unfair system, attacks on anti-racist educators, etc.

I never thought this day would come. I thought we were going to make it, I really did. There was a time when I would have done anything for you – that I would have compromised and sacrificed every other aspect of my life to stay, including my personal life and my sanity. But over the past year, the problems in our relationship have worsened, and I feel like I’ve lost my voice.

To be painfully honest, I have admitted to being judgmental when other educators have decided to end their relationship with their own teaching careers by leaving their classrooms. I never thought I’d be one of them. But here I am, cleaning up room 26, turning off the lights and closing the door one last time.

This decision was not easy for me. It’s one of the three hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, surpassed only by the decision of whether or not to have kids and whether or not to get a PhD (note: kids – no. PhD – yes).

I experienced an overwhelming sense of indecision, followed by tears and ambivalence. If I were older, closer to retirement, would I consider staying? Maybe I can hold on. I mean, who wants to start over?

And just so we’re clear: We are not alone. Many relationships face similar challenges at the end of this school year.

In a recent EdWeek survey, 54% of teachers said they were likely or very likely to leave their classroom in the next two years, and 84% said teaching had become more stressful since the pandemic.

In the end, I had to ask myself the following questions:

  • What do you want my legacy to be? Most of all, I want to empower the next generation of teachers to have their collective voice heard so that they are better prepared to stand up for our profession and our students and not have to experience the heartbreak that I experienced this year.
  • Where can I have the most effect? Most people think I have the most influence in my class, and there is no denying the irony of my leaving. But to achieve the above goals, it seems necessary to get out of the classroom.

I know this makes no sense to you, but I also know that I can no longer defend our profession loud and clear within the walls of my classroom. The system is not designed for teachers to have opinions that challenge the status quo, and there is a reason why so many teachers feel they have to leave their classrooms to defend education. You’re right, it’s not fair. But that’s how it has to be now.

In the spirit of transparency, I have met someone else and am going to work in a field where I can advocate for education without fear of retribution or punishment. But don’t take this rejection to heart.

The time we have spent together has been wonderful and we should be proud of that. Still, this will be my last letter – the sense of closure I need to officially move on to the next phase of my professional life.

We will always have fond memories of it, especially the relationships we built with the students. And just to be clear, I’m not leaving because I don’t like my students. Absolutely, yes, absolutely. In fact, it’s because of them that I’ve lasted this long.

It’s not that I don’t love you. I truly believe with all my heart. My life is richer because you are here and I will always love you. I’m devastated, but I have to change course now to better defend our profession.

I will never forget you and I will always cherish the time we spent together. De bien des façons, tu seras toujours le plus grand amour de ma vie. Until we meet again… Bye-bye.

 

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