Former Teacher Explains Why She Quit Teaching

2 min


Teachers are leaving the classroom in droves, but why?

One former teacher shared just that in a viral post on Facebook after deciding her time in the classroom was over.

Jessica Gentry shared why the insurance, retirement, and summers off weren’t enough to counteract the mental toll that teaching took on herself and her family.

“Kids haven’t changed; parents have.”

The filter comes off now..I think it's easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay. …

Posted by Jessica Gentry on Thursday, June 13, 2019

The old excuse “the kids have changed” isn’t cutting it anymore. Year after year, we declare the problem is that the kids are becoming harder to teach; they’re becoming more disrespectful and argumentative. They have more emotional and social issues that make it harder to focus on teaching. Somehow, as a culture, we’ve collectively decided to blame the kids. It’s the easy way out, but it doesn’t seem to be fixing anything.

“Kids haven’t changed. No. Kids are kids. PARENTING has changed. SOCIETY has changed. The kids are just the innocent victims of that. Parents are working crazy hours, consumed by their devices, leaving kids in unstable parenting/co-parenting situations, terrible media influences… and we are going to give the excuse that the KIDS have changed?”

There’s something broken in our society. Children don’t always feel safest at home, so they “act out” at school, where they feel most comfortable. In many cases, school is where they eat their best meals, receive their most love, and feel most comfortable to be themselves. 

When there’s turmoil or trauma at home, kids will act out in a place where life is constant. When they are ignored at home, they will seek the attention they so desperately need from a teacher or a friend; they will seek negatively if need be, through a disruptive comment or an ugly note.

While teachers hope to create a safe space for their students, this has become one of education’s biggest problem. Teachers are asked to be so much more. Teachers are asked and expected to parent their students.

As students begin to carry more emotional weight, they bring more to school each morning. With selfless, giving hearts, teachers volunteer to help carry that load. They become counselors and peacemakers. They give away pieces of their sanity in exchange for their students’ well-being. They do five jobs in one. They give and give and give until they break; by then, it’s usually too late.

This is how we lose them—the teachers. We are so concerned with losing our students, and rightfully so, but somehow the blame for our “change in society” gets added to our teachers’ already-heavy load. 

“The filter comes off now,” Gentry writes.

The filter the education system wears is made of paperwork and test scores. It hides behind credentials and smiles at Open House. The filter can only stay on for so long. There’s just too much nitty-gritty, one-on-one work to be done in our schools to spend time making it all look pretty.

It isn’t a lack of passion in teachers. It’s not the kids who are changing. It’s not the uniforms or the schedule. It’s using a band-aid called “technology” to fix any problem.

It’s more training and forms and screen time when really teachers just need us to stop taking away valuable instructional time. It’s a finger constantly pointing at teachers when they’re the ones putting in so much daily work.

It’s a “customer service mindset” when teachers should be partnering with parents. It’s putting teachers’ mental health in jeopardy to continue making sure things look pretty. It’s not the kids who’ve changed. It’s everything else.

Former Teacher Explains Why She Quit Teaching

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WhitneyBallard

Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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