Why I Am Giving Up Teaching
Eddie Barnes
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My experience teaching was in many ways different, and in some important ways quite similar, and the end result was, as it is for most, the same… I quit.

I was certified to teach high school science, and so there was almost competition for me — I never had the experience of a job hunt as a teacher. I did, however, experience the trivial parental complaints, each of which my administration took quite seriously. I was often dragged in to give my “version of events” as though a 14 year old and I were equivalent in credibility and they couldn’t possibly be fibbing about whether or not they turned in an assignment.

District representatives would dash through my class and count how many vocabulary words were on my walls, and use that to measure my teaching. They never stayed to watch me teach, or cared that my pass rate on standardized tests was exceptional, or that my students turned in creative, funny, exceptional projects about science. I didn’t have enough words, so I was bad at teaching.

I stayed late to tutor, to decorate for school dances, to call parents, to write rubrics… and I would go home and work until bedtime grading and writing new labs and everything else… but if I took a sick day, my commitment was questioned. If I didn’t want to cover another teacher’s class during my single planning period (our district was short on subs), my commitment was questioned.

I left because I never gained a tiny bit of ground. I never had a shred more credit, a shred more benefit of the doubt, no one on my side even a little from the administration. I gave my students my heart, my mind, and my time, and my administration couldn’t even have my back in the tiniest of ways.

I work in tech now… I’m happier, better paid, and more respected, but I do miss the moments in the classroom when I could really connect with kids. I totally feel you there. I’m truly SORRY this happened to you, and I can only encourage you to find casual outlets to help those kids (mentor, do afterschool programs, volunteer) that don’t eat away at your spirit. Best of luck.

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