Voices From The Community

Looking For Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Nicolle Fefferman has taken a leave from her role as an LAUSD teacher to recover from burnout and reflects on the status of public education.

Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness
Published in
5 min readDec 17, 2022

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“Many education leaders and politicians want to ‘do what’s best for students’ but instead engage in the most expedient, easiest, convenient, or flashiest actions that always wind up costing money and time.”

- Nicolle Fefferman

Nicolle Fefferman and LAUSD Board Member Dr. Rocio Rivas

The end-of-year holidays are a natural time for reflection on the past year as we try to build up hope for the upcoming year. Nicolle Fefferman, an LAUSD teacher and co-founder of Parents Supporting Teachers expresses her thoughts about education as she prepares to celebrate Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that celebrates how light can prevail in the darkness:

Hanukkah is coming on December 18th and my boys are gearing up for fried food, seeing friends and family, and lighting enough candles to make the kitchen look dangerous. The holiday provides an opportunity to remember that amid winter and darkness, we can make light for ourselves and others. The reminder is necessary as my family pushes through the flu, colds, and, Covid, all while trying to finish the fall semester. We will make it to Hanukkah and we will celebrate, dammit.

I am on leave from teaching this year to recover from almost two decades of burnout. The 2021–2022 school year nearly did me in. It was not until last month that I began to feel like a balanced person again, and even the balanced feeling is a little tenuous. I have sought out therapy to help process how I got to this dark place while doing something that I love so much. While I could have been much better at creating and maintaining boundaries between my work life and personal life, much of what drove me to this crisis can be traced to larger forces within the LAUSD.

My time in the classroom was always spent considering what my students’ needs were and how I could go about addressing those needs. I was constantly assessing and…

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Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com