It's begun - the annual feelings of wanting to leave teaching

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Pisces_Fish, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Every year around this time I start getting scared and stressed out. The state tests are looming, and spring break is months away. Content is in high-gear and my low students are struggling. I know state test-prep and all its madness is coming soon and I get tired and scared just thinking about it. Around this time of year I start thinking of all the things I could do with an eled degree and wonder why teaching can't be about the kids (who I adore, btw) and not the business of making money from standardized tests.

    Last week these feelings were compounded when my P showed me a report from the state that determined I was NDD (I forget what the NDD stands for), meaning I was 'statistically insignificant' in helping my last year's students show growth on the state test. :unsure:

    However, by the time August rolls around I'm excited to start all over again. But this year feels different - the idea of leaving teaching is stronger than in year's past and I'm scared. :(

    Does anyone else share my sentiments?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Absolutely! I am sooooooo over the way state tests have taken over the world of education. I am teaching one more year (just to get my daughter graduated from college) and then I will retire.

    I find it really hard to understand how all of us adults managed to get through years of schooling, careers, raising families, and everything else involved in adulthood without the benefits that our children have now...test upon test upon test, practice test upon practice test upon practice test, standards, teaching only tested subjects, illnesses caused by testing stress, etc, etc.

    I'm wayyyyyy over the way we are forced to treat our children, and I want out!
     
  4. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Yes. I told BF the other day that I can't separate the hatred of this job and my hatred of teaching right now. I am considering going back to school for something totally different, but I want to try a new teaching job first. I am afraid that because I dislike this job so much, it is affecting my perception of teaching in general.
     
  5. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jan 18, 2011

    The absurdity of over testing for accountability (thank you #$*# and you know who they are) is beyond sanity now. The thumb of
    politicians is now so hard pressed on teachers I wonder why anyone would want to be the automaton that they seem to require now. I understand how industry standards can easily apply to
    inanimate products but to think it can transfer to little kids is beyond me. But I wont leave until they force me out and then its a fight. I feel like my PE class is their time to breathe and
    feel like the world is normal and they can express themselves
    without a bubble to fill in or a word to break into syllables.
    Maybe its just Monday (we had Mon. off so it seems like mon.)
    talking. ;)
     
  6. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Sometimes I think about switching subjects. I feel like teaching something like PE or Art could still be fun for the kids. I love my creative writing class, which is the first elective I have ever taught. But teaching English, with all the literacy standards, reading comprehension, vocab, grammar, and being the most tested subject area is NO FUN anymore. There is so much pressure and I feel responsible for more than 50% of what the kids are tested on, not to mention the workload of grading essays and the fact that most of us as English teachers want to teach LITERATURE but we are stuck teaching reading comprehension and basic composition.

    I am considering trying the Praxis for Family and Consumer Sciences. I would be great at teaching cooking, nutrition, and consumer skills. I am learning to sew now and I think I could learn to be good enough to teach others basic skills. My weakness would be childcare but I think I would be ok with that as long as I don't have to run a preschool program, which a lot of high schools seem to have.
     
  7. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Next year will be my last year (35!), and I always thought I would be so sorry to leave. But I am not. I will miss the children and my friends, but not all the political junk that is taking over the education system. And I teach Kindergarten! Here in Florida, our new govenor wants to give every child in the state a voucher and they (parents) may choose where they want to place their child. I hope I am gone before this big mess begins.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jan 18, 2011

    I know I am done. All this morning I've been looking up grad information. I know I want my masters, but I'm playing around with what I actually want (and what is really needed out there). I'm toying with the idea of accounting. I'm sure every industry (including schools) need an accountant.

    In my heart, I really want to go into science. I really want my masters in natural resources, but it'll be around 6 grand per quarter and I don't know if I can afford that.... Still considering it though.

    Anyways, I got off topic there. Teaching isn't fun anymore. At least where I"m at.
     
  9. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Absolutely! I already have decided not to apply to any regular classroom teacher positions because of everything mentioned here and more.
    It was a tough decision but it would be like playing Russian roulette with my sanity, health, family, and certainly my new little one on the way. I'm hoping they will start eliminating some state tests in the future.

    I used to think I would be a teacher until I couldn't stand anymore and would be one of those little old ladies who doesn't want to retire.

    I used to think and say that if I won the lottery and became a millionaire, I'd still teach Elementary kids. There's no better job in the world, is what I thought.

    Unfortunately the testing craze and nationwide venom has quickly became unprecedented and beyond anything I ever imagined.

    If only teaching, education, and schools were about the kids. If only...
     
  10. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 18, 2011

    I consider us, people who would spend their spare time on a teacher forum, among the more devoted people in the career. I think it is sad and revealing of the current state of affairs that many of US are considering leaving the profession.

    What are the politicians going to do when no one wants the job anymore?
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2011

    This is me! And I've toyed with the idea of getting my principal's certification (I already have my master's) because at least then I can sort of control what goes on in my school!!! But I'm just not sure anymore. :(

    I think I would love to teach PE! Of course that's a lot of kiddos in one gym!

    This was me too, but now I'm thinking more and more of getting out of the education field. I just don't know what else I would do. Besides being a paralegal, I can't see myself doing anything else. And I would really like to stay in until my daughter graduates. She's 7.
     
  12. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2011

    This is the major reason I am so afraid of leaving a private school. We take a completely different test, and our school doesn't purchase any guides to follow it. I know that eventually they will be forced to make changes in how we teach, but for the meantime, we get to actually teach the students and not just to some test. Every year around this time, I prepare my resume and start looking to see if there are any openings, so I can make my transition to a public school. HOwever, I also have the fear that I won't survive a school 5 times the size of where I currently work at, let alone the stress of the tests.

    I keep looking at all the masters degrees, and yet I am afraid if I do follow what I want which is counseling I still end up dealing with standardized tests. I am confused.
     
  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 18, 2011

    I have my principal's certification and if I was in DE, at least in my old district, I would still be striving for that type of job. The pay was great, and the role was primarily coaching teachers - in fact, they had to keep a log that they were in the classroom 75-80% of the time. The problem there was I was too much of a mover and shaker - they wanted yes-men. I doubt I ever would have gotten the position there.

    Here in PA, I don't even want the position. I interviewed for one this summer and I knew about 10 minutes into the interview that I didn't want the job. Here it is much more micromanagement and discipline, and the pay stinks. It's pretty much want I want to avoid in teaching, too.
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2011

    silver~and that's what I'm afraid of as well. And I know I have the years in to become a principal/AP, but many times you have to stay in the classroom at a district for a lot of years before you're considered (at least here in TX). And I know that they'll want someone who knows the school and the policies, and I understand that, but I'm not sure if I want to remain in the classroom for that long.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Wow, I'm sorry things are going so poorly.

    I have to say that, honestly, no, I've never had those feelings. I've had my share of bad days, but that's all they were.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 18, 2011

    Alice, my thoughts are that it is public schools that are feeling the pressure and stress from the educational politics. I know many private school teachers, like you, who are happy with their schools. I used to own a private school and our teachers seemed to enjoy working there.

    kindergarten31, I think you and I are safe from the voucher system (since we will be retiring in a year). It would have to be approved by the legislature and it has already been vetoed once under a previous administration.

    stephenpe, our pe teachers already have to give paper and pencil tests as part of their curriculum. They are already teaching upwards of 100 children at a time (between the three teachers) together in one room so their life is pretty hectic. I think they love it when the weather is better and they can get all those kids outside!
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 18, 2011

    I share your same feelings; I think about leaving frequently. So sorry about the information your principal shared with you. :(
     
  18. Simba

    Simba Comrade

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    Jan 18, 2011

    SWEET JESUS!!!!

    I have to admit this post has REALLY helped me feel like a normal human being. I usually lurk here on the boards and I was pleasantly relieved to find so many other teachers out there feeling the same way I do.

    I sometimes work up to 17 hours a day trying to make ends meet. Between grading the essays and meeting testing requirements, I don't think I want to continue.

    On top of all that, we are REALLY laying off teachers in the state I live in. It's become so frustrating.

    I just don't know what else I can do. It's the fear of transitioning into another career. I don't have the funds to go back to school for something else. I'm having a hard time coming up with my list of skills that will transfer into another career.

    Thank you for your honesty...Thank you for letting me feel as though I'm not alone.

    Good Luck everyone...and please let me know if you have any ideas of where to go from here.
     
  19. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 19, 2011

    For all the talk about teaching "critical thinking," the emphasis on testing has created a generation of kids who can't think deeply, IMHO. Yesterday I gave a semester final--normally I would have kids write an essay, but we lost a prep day between semesters and I didn't want to have to grade over 100 essays in a couple of days (it was always tight as it was) so I gave a multiple-choice, open notes test that required quite a bit of reading in order to determine the answers. In my first class, the highest score was a 64 out of a possible 84. I'm planning to teach for another nine years or so, but man...I'm not happy with the trends I'm seeing in student performance and attitude.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 19, 2011

    I feel the same way, Alice!!!

    I am so incredibly fortunate to be a tenured teacher. Here in my part of California, teachers are fearful that their jobs will be given to somoene with more seniority, or that they will be "bumped" out of their current school/grade-level. I have countless friends who are fully credentialed and JOBLESS (and they've been that way for a couple of years).

    Even though I'm almost certain that I am not going to be at my current school next year if class sizes are increased again (we are currently at 25 students in K-3), I know that I will have a job in my district, which is a comforting feeling.

    Anyway, I love my 2nd graders and can't imagine myself doing anything else.
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 19, 2011

    Today we were told we have to keep our doors closed and locked at all times as a security measure. Except that my school has no air conditioning and sometimes the cross breeze with the doors open is all the relief we get. When we mentioned this, we were basically told to get over it. It was over 95 in my room earlier this year, and that was with the door open.

    It's just indicative of the way I feel treated every day. I am so sick of it.
     
  22. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jan 20, 2011

    My posts may come across as negative about public ed. but
    I love my job and the kids I am so lucky to work with. I just
    feel sorry for the front line classroom teachers who I see dumped on constantly by stupid politicians and hate mongers in the media.
    If I hear failing public school one more time I may get drunk.
    In many ways our entire society is failing. We are spoiled, feel entitled to always more and focused too often on the wrong things. We focus on things instead of people and relationships.
    We let politicians lie and then carry on business as usual. Sometimes I think our political system is so entrenched in
    giving out $$ that it cannot be corrected by the politicians that
    really want to change it. We need to pay as we go instead of borrowing more and more. But the reality is we are a country of pointing blame instead of looking for real solutions. Someone said once that in Japan if they have a problem they counter with "how can we solve it" but in America the answer is "who can we sue?
     
  23. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 20, 2011

    Yesterday we had a meeting about tightening up security and at one point they were talking about having walkie talkies if you take the kids outside, in case someone or something is approaching the school and we need to get them back in the building. It just made me think that if I spontaneously took the kids outside to write a poem or something one day, and I didn't get a walkie talkie and some mad man came up and attacked us, someone would probably sue me or the school instead of the mad man. It baffles me. My Comparative Education professor who is from Ghana always said litigation, litigation, litigation, is what will ruin American education.
     
  24. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jan 20, 2011

    I love everything about what teaching should be. I'm disillusioned with what teaching has been in the schools I've taught in. I've invested time, energy, money, my everything. And I am exhausted. Not 'Wow, I put a great deal of effort into that and now I'm tired but it was worth it'. More 'I've poured my heart and soul into schools that have stomped on it and handed it back to me with a form for unemployment.'

    I long for a job where I can wear shoes-slippers were a cool idea at first, but I'm ready for arch support again. I long to use an adult bathroom that is clean when I need it. I long to drink a diet Coke and eat a snack when I need them. I long to wear nice outfits to work and not worry about random marker or paint stains on them, even when I've not written it into our lessons. I long to have adult conversations with co-workers that use their brain and come up with creative ideas for projects that further the business' mission. I long to use my own brain for more each day than mental subtraction problems and correcting basic grammar. I long to work for a business that values it's employees and communicates plans to them (I do not appreciate a 2 day notice for a Yosemite camping trip). I long to kiss recess duty good-bye and use my degree for more than 1.5 hours of babysitting each day.

    I KNOW there are great schools out there that provide all of this for their teachers. If you work at one, you are very lucky and I give your administration 3 cheers. Sadly, I've not found it since leaving Michigan. After this, I'm out.
     
  25. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2011


    The last 3 to 5 years of teaching I felt just the same way
    Being under the thumb
    Non Educators running the state department of Ed.
    (When I say Non Educators I also mean Educators who have spent less than 5 years in a classroom.)
    Bean counters trying to fit education in to a square hole when it is oblong (thought I'd round didn't you)

    I started teaching in the 1970s so far back that we used swats (this is just for time line reference)
    Teaching has become an exercise in herding cats

    When I was in school (1956 to 1969):
    We used to have parents who were involved
    We had principals who got out of the office once in a while.
    We had support staff that were "teachers" in their own right, Janitors, Lunch ladies, school aids.
    We had different educational tracks (secondary) College, Trade school, Business and Home Economics
    Not everyone was pushed to go to college.
    In Fact getting into College was something that took a concerted effort, you were not expected to go to college automatically
    Teachers were looked up to by the community.
    Parents and church taught sex ed, tolerance, morals and grandparents taught "history" and respect
    I know this sounds like "back in the good old days" but the society has changed in my opinion to being less desirable.
    I felt safer (even with duck and cover) then.
    I had to be home when the street lights came on.
    If I got a bad grade my parents would be at the school the next day with me in tow (or the teacher called home before I got home)
    I knew where most of my teachers lived because they were neighbors, went to the same church, belonged to the same fraternal clubs as my parents or had kids in the school with me.​

    What I have seen is pay hasn't improved as much as I would like it to but the big thing is the lost respect that teachers endured.
    Teachers have become bookkeepers we are not allowed to work at our ART, the teaching of children.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Wow, guys.

    My sincere sympathies.

    I simply do not live the life you're describing.

    Yes, it's work. There are times when I would rather be elsewhere, or when dealing with teenagers makes me a little nuts. And it would be nice to be able to grab a drink when I'm thirsty or go to the bathroom the moment I decide I would like to. But that's not the nature of the job.

    But never for a minute have I considered posting the kinds of things I read here.
     
  27. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2011

    :agreed:
    Sad sad sad
     
  28. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2011

    Alice you happen to be a good fit in your school, and it fits you well.

    As I stated in another thread I do think Private schools ARE different than public schools

    The basic thought process seems to be different
    Private schools: how much learning can we get out of this Money
    Public schools: how cheaply can we do it.

    BTW Alice What time do you get up I am just going to bed :lol:
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2011

    :) Dave.

    I get up at 5, shower and change, and get half an hour or so on the computer before I have to get the kids rolling.

    Brian's bus comes just after 7, so I usually drop him off at the bus stop on my way to school.

    With the 2 or so inches of snow we've gotten already (it's still falling) the kids will be disappointed to see that the schools are all open. (Seriously. It's two inches of snow, not the foot and half we got on December 26.)

    Sweet dreams!
     
  30. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2011

    I love teaching but I dislike scripted teaching and this is the way we are going with the certain curriculums. I am no longer allowed to teach certain things the way I would like but only the way my manual says.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    jem, I have what you are looking for yet at the same time there is always increasing expectations on test grades, more content added to the curriculum, and more expected from those who are exemplary at what they do...I love my school, yet it is becoming harder all the time to love...I'm working on balancing the 'noise' of what doesn't matter with what does...or really tuning out, to the extent that I can, that which doesn't matter...unfortunately, it's not always up to teachers to determine what matters...
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2011

    I love the hours I spend teaching and interacting with the kids.

    I love the fact that I have a supportive administration and awesome coworkers, ALL of whom are there for the kids.

    I do not love the fact that I lose my planning period at least three mornings a week for conferences and then another couple of meetings/conferences after school.

    I do not love the fact that in order to get my grading, planning, emails, phone calls, and data analysis done, I'm often at work four hours after my duty time has ended.

    I do not love the fact that my county requires me to follow a scope & sequence & gives me a syllabus for each quarter, then handed me a "routine" dictating how much time I could spend teaching each area each week... and that none of these are aligned to each other but all must be followed.

    I do not love that in addition to state testing, my county tests each quarter to measure progress. These tests are supposed to be aligned to the scope & sequence. They are not. The 1st quarter test included questions and passages that aren't taught until the 2nd & 3rd quarter.

    I do not love that when questioning district officials about these matters, the only answer I've received is "I don't know." Really? You're the person who designed and wrote ALL of these things!

    I do not love that when I call home with concerns about a child, I go straight to voicemail, never hear back from the parent and then am required to attend a conference after report cards come out and told it's my fault the child did poorly (by the parent).

    I do not love reading comments in the online newspaper about how worthless the teachers in my community are and how they need to hire quality people to teach the kids, people who CARE and CAN TEACH.

    I do not love being told in October that if I don't take two classes for ESOL by the end of the school year, I'll be let go (district-wide announcement). I now have approximately 20 hours of reading & homework every week to get done AFTER I get everything done for my job. At some point, I might get some laundry done.

    All I know is that it wasn't very long ago that I was in school - in this same county - and I never had the kind of pressure on me that these children have today. And I and my classmates managed to learn just fine without someone testing us every other minute.

    (Also, can I note? When I was in school, the teacher turnover rate was NIL. The same teachers were at the school year after year. Now there seem to be 10-15 new teachers every year.)
     
  33. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Jan 22, 2011

    These last two weeks were great. I spend time and effort developing my lessons to create full understanding on a topic that most students really strugle with. I paced it, I created hands-on activities, we practiced and I saw the best results I've seen. My students felt happy, confident, and the best part was that the ones who normally don't get it were excited and engaged.

    Of course, to be able to accomplish this I need to dedicate more time on certain topics. This is a big mistake since I'm supposed to follow a pacing guide in order to cover ALL these things in order to prepare for state testing.

    I want to teach for mastery. I want my students to learn very well what I teach them and make them feel confident. I don't want to go fast just because I still have to cover about 100 topics that need to be covered.

    If people who create and mandate these tests can come and see the difference in the students learning when we actually slow down and take time to go deeper to make sure they understand, they would agree that these tests need a lot of improvement.

    It's ridicoulus that I'm expected to teach following a pacing guide created for "at level" students who will be tested "at grade-level", when three fourths of my students are below grade level.
     
  34. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 22, 2011

    This bothers me as well. I think at first I was able to brush this commentary off, but now, it's so frequent and so hateful. If I may be honest, so often the parents posting these things online are ignorant about education (among other issues) and clearly less than stellar parents. So I should be able to easily ignore them. But it is personal, and I just can't. It gets me down. I want to throw my hands up and scream, "Why bother?! I quit". Of course, I continue to "bother" for the students, but the students are hearing these things from their parents and adopting their attitudes...so we get these attacks from all sides.
     
  35. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2011

    There was actually a letter to the editor in our paper about how the person thought the salaries of teachers and teacher aides should be frozen because they do not think they deserve the money they do get. :(
     
  36. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Oh geez. You've got to be kidding me.
     
  37. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    If you were to offer to these people to come in and sub for you a day they wouldn't do it. It takes a special kind of person to be able to teach and handle children. I spend the day with 25 5 year olds and most people couldn't imagine doing that, but they still give teachers a hard time.
     
  38. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Tami~I wish I was!

    AMK~The letter said, "her school district" so I'm hoping that it's a parent with a child in the district, and I bet they wouldn't set foot in the classroom to teach.
     
  39. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
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    Jan 22, 2011

    I'm sorry you no longer longer feel the passion for teaching. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!
     

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