Why I’ll Never Go Back to the Classroom as a Teacher

The behind-the-scenes look at education

Mary Gallagher
Feb 16, 2020 · 7 min read
Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

That was when I could read Old Yeller to them because I liked it, not because it was on the list of books required to read.

That was when teaching was about educating eager minds, using teachable moments, pairing students with books of interest, and engaging them in the world around them.

Much has changed in education

Today, I train teachers on a literacy tool aimed at supporting literacy instruction in the elementary grades. I present webinars and several times a year I visit schools and present to them as part of their professional development training.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Constant changes and too much on their plates

Sometimes the tool I am training them on is one of four or five supplemental programs they are expected to learn, master, and use with fidelity in the classroom — that is on top of the curriculum and knowing the standards as well.

Is anybody listening?

When they feel it is safe to do so, some confide in me how overwhelmed they are or how they most likely will never use this wonderful tool that I am training them on because they have too many other things to implement. I can only sigh and wonder how taxpayers and parents would feel if they knew the money being wasted each year on programs and tools that teachers don’t use — not to mention new editions of textbooks and the millions of dollars that go to state testing.

The ongoing pressure and never-ending stress of keeping up with the whims of new administrators, ever-changing standards and expectations, along with learning new curriculum and supplemental tools is only one level of difficulty for school teachers.

The hurdles are many and also include increasing behavior problems that prohibit teachers from spending time on actual teaching, concerns over safety, the political drama around levies and raises, not to mention the busyness of today’s families that has lessened parental involvement and support.

Photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo on Unsplash

When critics and naysayers complain about teachers asking for more money, I shake my head and think, if they only knew what teachers do each day and how hard it has become for teachers to sustain their passion for this undermined profession.

I am grateful that my career has taken me to new opportunities in education but when friends and family ask me if I’d go back to being a classroom teacher, I laugh and shake my head NO emphatically. I am so certain about this that I let my teaching license lapse and have made no effort to renew it despite having a master’s degree in literacy. I also removed my state retirement account and rolled it into an IRA.

  1. Reasons teachers quit include everything from lack of support from administration, lack of resources, discipline issues, challenging work conditions (especially in the inner-city schools), and too much pressure and stress for student performance that has become developmentally inappropriate in recent years. This article from We Are Teachers details these reasons and more. We need to do a better job supporting teachers who are in it to win it!
  2. It's not just new teachers who are leaving!

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Mary Gallagher

Written by

Simplicity guru, nature lover, loyal friend, literacy coach, dreamer. Pick more daisies! https://simplelifesimplefaith.com

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

Mary Gallagher

Written by

Simplicity guru, nature lover, loyal friend, literacy coach, dreamer. Pick more daisies! https://simplelifesimplefaith.com

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

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