I’ll Tell You Why 

Warning: bad language in this post; it was directed towards me today – not from my mouth. 

                                       *****

It isn’t just young teachers leaving teaching. I’m an old teacher and I am leaving teaching. Today consolidated the decision and has accelerated it; I am motivated more than ever to find something else and build it. 

The hours are insane, the paperwork is ludicrous, but beyond that, teachers just aren’t respected anymore. We are treated like sub-humans. Continuously. 

I was humiliated today. Absolutely humiliated. I wanted to sit on the floor, rock myself and sob. But I couldn’t. I was on class. I was teaching. 

It’s a hard thing to deal with. You know you are worth more, you know that you don’t deserve it, but there are too many kids who don’t value us. 

I started the day positively. I was organised. I love the kids. I was happy to see them again. Happy to be there. The start of the final four days of a block in a faculty I love, run by a great Head Teacher whom I adore. 

One of the kids had other ideas. It started with whining and talking. It became whistling. It developed into tapping with swearing,”Fuck you.” Belligerent refusal to stop, to move, to put the phone away, to complete the work, to stop talking. The phone continued to be out. I confiscated it. I confiscated the pen that was used for the tapping. The child started arguing, loudly proclaiming that they weren’t going to follow my instructions until I gave them the phone back. They then started bullying other kids, pushing the buttons of a student they knew would freak out and react; he didn’t too much because he respects me. The child just kept going and going and going. They were removed by the Head Teacher. 

During Assembly, I politely asked a student if they were in the right line and I copped another mouthful, and when she finished her friend started. I was polite and just doing my job. 

Next two periods and playground duty were fine. 

Last period, the child from the morning banged on the classroom door as I was settling my class. The child then went to the windows, smiling and laughing, raised the middle finger to me and called out, “Fuck you”, “dickhead” and “arsehole.” 

Yep. I just wanted to curl up and bawl. This isn’t the life I want. This isn’t the world I want. 

Were there positives? Sure. A student who usually won’t do anything for me was so mortified that someone (except her) could treat me so badly so worked exceptionally during the lesson. I thanked her. The small windows we get. 

Teachers are leaving because we aren’t validated by our employers and their representatives. My Head Teacher applied for a formal caution. She received it. But I think the Deputy and the Principal should have suspended the child. For three out of the five periods she belittled me. 

I don’t deserve this. 

I left work feeling like a failure, mentally modifying the work that was left to try to mix things up for the kids, to try to engage this child. 

It isn’t right. Kids have license to abuse at least one staff member before they learn that their behaviour is unacceptable. 

And I’ll keep seeing the articles, Teachers leaving the profession, and reading everyone’s shock. Really? Kids have changed and as their behaviour has become worse, Principals and the Department have become softer. 

We need to look after the child’s welfare.

Sure. But who is looking after the teachers? 

I had to see a friend to debrief so I could come home relieved of pain. I’m now taking time out of my life to process it a bit more. And I’m exhausted. My plans for tonight will go by the wayside; my energy is depleted from staying calm and being professional whilst abuse was hurled at me repeatedly. 

Seriously. 

Goodbye teaching. We will be parting ways very soon. You have changed. It is you. And it is me; I know I’m worth more than this, and my life and the people in it deserve better than this. 

13 thoughts on “I’ll Tell You Why 

      • It’s terrible. So often the cons outweigh the pros. And I know firsthand what a loss it will be for you to turn your back on the profession. And yet I 100% understand your reasons. And I wish you well. I work in an SSP and while the challenge there is (usually) a different type of challenge to the type you have written of here, there are similar issues there. And it’s not just the Department and Principals. Federation have turned their back on some of us. How is it OK for students that cannot maintain their place in a Behaviour School to be placed in a school like mine where some of our most vulnerable kids are?? It’s ludicrous. It’s madness. And while I know there is an element of risk associated with the type of work I’ve chosen to do often it is simply too much. Every student has the right to an education. But doesn’t every student also have the right to learn in a safe environment ? And what about the staff? What gives – does the right to an education trump the right to feel safe. Should we accept that feeling anxious is simply a part of our profession? But sadly I have a mortgage to pay…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Man I am hearing you Em. And yes, every child deserves to learn in a safe environment. And I agree about the Union too. I have no answers. I just know I need to leave. Thank you for commenting, and for reading. ❤️

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          • It’s heartbreaking to hear stories like this. Because you are one of those teachers that so many kids respond to. And it’s not always possible to be resilient. It affects our motivation as teachers. You are spot on about the paperwork too. I am expecting my butt to be kicked over that too. I say quality lesson trump paperwork. And yes, we have to be accountable… but the accreditation process is counterproductive when it comes to quality teaching. I’m not sure what else the skills I have will allow me to do in the workforce. I too love the job, love the kids but it not only dominates so much of my life– I feel abused by the system. I often feel unsupported and as though we have no voice as a collective. Especially on those issues that REALLY matter

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  1. You can’t leave teaching. You are the best teacher I have ever had, and I’m certainly not alone when I say that. I had absolutely no respect for you in year 7, but through your teaching I learnt to respect you. You are the most selfless and kind teacher I have ever met, and once again, I am not alone when I say that. You are undoubtedly one of the best teachers to ever live, and your retirement from teaching will be a sad day

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  2. Miss Myer, you have always been and will always be the best teacher I ever had. You do not deserve to be treated like that. The children are a lot different compared to when I was at school. They think they can get away with so much and unfortunately they do. I listen to my 14 year old, the way she talks with her friends and i would of been in so much trouble if I had of spoken to my parents or teachers the way they talk to us. Thank you for all your help over the years. It was an honour to be in your class. Coming from a former student of yours… Dont take their shit!!!! Take care beautiful and remember they always say people make fun of others to take the attention of themselves. Xx

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  3. Reading that cringing the whole time… You shouldnt have to put up with that- no one should and people shouldnt expect you to. I think you have made the right decision in leaving on a good note. You deserve so much better!

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