The following resignation letter was written by Tracey Suits, 10th grade English teacher in Pasco County.
Oftentimes people in social situations ask me about my job. When I answer that I am a teacher, I frequently get a response of: “How do you do it?” or “I could never do that.” Well, the time has come when I have to ask myself “How DO I do it?” The answer is, I cannot.
I cannot continue to teach students to regurgitate information for secretive, high-stakes, standardized tests when it goes against everything I morally stand for. I want my students to be original, innovative thinkers, not a test score. Too much testing leaves no space for autonomy in teaching and creativity in the classroom. Teaching has become education by legislation.
I cannot continue to work afternoons, evenings, and weekends grading papers, typing formal lesson plans, uploading documentation for evaluations, and researching teaching methods to meet the needs of all my students. I am a parent and wife first.
I cannot continue to give up my planning period (when I should be grading and planning) but instead, am spending at duty, parent conferences, in PLC meetings, school staffing meetings, or IEP meetings.
I cannot continue to be cursed at by students, berated by parents, and bullied by politicians. Low morale transfers to the students, and they deserve better.
I cannot work where the library has become a testing center and librarians are undervalued to the point of non-existence.
I cannot ignore anxiety attacks, autoimmune disorders and other health problems that have cropped up these past few years due to the excessive stress.
There is a teacher shortage in our district. It’s not just because of low salaries. Retaining teachers has always been more than that.
Twenty-seven years ago, I started teaching. But now, most of my day is not spent on instruction. I am certainly not the only teacher who feels this way, however, I cannot do it any longer. I am resigning.
Those who can teach, I admire and respect you. Someone once said, “A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Don’t blow our candles out.
18 thoughts on “Pasco County Teacher Resigns”
Go to a private school to teach. Help create special education schools in Florida. Learn to teach reading, writing and math methods that work. Example: Orton reading approaches that are phonics-based multi-sensory reading approaches. Here in Florida school districts are refusing to teach children how to read. I know this from attending IEP meetings at San Jose Elementary School a school run by the Pinellas County School Board. They only do Whole Language reading approaches. The testing you don’t want to do proves the teaching methods the school district is doing are not effective.
San Jose Elementary Accountability Data for 2009-2010 to 2013-2014 school years: http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/default.asp
Reading Math writing standard
years school grade 3rd grade percentage of children not proficient
2014-2015 no data being withheld claiming common core testing not accurate
2013-2014 C FCAT 50% 49% 34%
2012-2013 C FCAT 42% 48% 49%
2011-2012 B FCAT 44% 48% 13%
2010-2011 B FCAT 16% 21% 23%
2009-2010 A FCAT 18% 20% 22%
The reading approach of Whole Language is failing the children. Children with brain damage and dyslexia need phonics-based multi-sensory reading approaches. These children are being denied the right to learn how to read. We need teachers in private schools who want to teach children since our public schools are refusing to teach.
Linda, you seem to have fallen into the trap of assuming that public schools don’t teach. We CAN’T teach because of the things listed in Tracey’s letter. There would be little difference between public and private schools if public schools weren’t legislated into automated testing factories.
Linda, I taught 14 years in Catholic school. In the last 5 or 6 years it became almost as bad as public school to the point I could not do it anymore. The new generation of administrators have been brainwashed by so called “best practices” that have teachers doing so many non teaching activities that the students are suffering and the teachers are burnt out.
Reblogged this on Right Reason and commented:
The only teachers we will have left are the ones just out of college who have been taught to be facilitators and follow a script. This isn’t teaching, this is indoctrination – and child abuse.
Great to be able to recognize u r not able to perform the job. Find something ur good at and enjoy. Why wpuld u foresake ur health for a job that u know u r inable to master. Alllifes consequences r a result of r own personal choices.
She was able to perform the job until the profession was changed so much by lack of funding and teaching to testing. Based on your spelling you sound like a real expert in education.
Tim, the problem with your answer is it sounds like you are placing blame on her. I am sure she is a good teacher and probably would master the job, if the job description had stayed the same. These consequences she is enduring are not the result of her own choices.
I tooo left my job of teaching !!!! due to group bullying and the boss, allowing the others to follow the leader and do the ganging up….lack of disrespect and immature behaviors ..I too walked away sadly feeling heartbroken for the children ….and causing great deal of stress ….love my new found life being a wife and mother is the best …
I resigned last year after only 7 years of teaching for all of the above reasons. On the news in our state a few nights ago there am was a report of possible pay raises for teachers. The reporter got it right when she said ” although studies have shown that’s not the reason a majority of teachers leave the profession”.
I am not a teacher, I am a nurse, wife, mother and now grandmother. I see the problems that my grandchildren have in school because of all the testing that the schools are giving. A 1st grader begins having anxiety about tests that they have to do in 3rd grade. So for 2 years they are looking toward that test with dread because it is talked about so much, When I was in school we had the 3 r’s and I think that people my age have good professional jobs because we learned to love learning, College was not dreaded because we understood that education was important. In the 7th grade I had a teacher in Pasco middle by the nae of Mrs Denlinger and to this day I give her all the credit for how my education turned out. To this day love to learn. I help my granddaughter with her homework at times and when she was stating multiplying whole numbers I made her a ” times table chart ” to help her learn but was informed by the teacher that it is not important to know the answers but is important to know WHY that is the answer. 10 x 10=100 easy enough but the way they are being taught now it takes 3 or 4 steps to answer this problem. They no longer learn to spell words with tests on Friday, like when I was in school and the reasoning is that computers have spell check. Then you have the children that are so rude and undisciplined that they disrupt class but the parents blame the teachers because their little Johnnie would never do the things he is being accused of in class. Somehow, somebody needs to figure out how to get back to education and not just testing. I am so sorry that this teacher felt the need to quit what she loved ( and to do it for over 20 years, she did love it ). I am done with my rant, this just makes me so sad and mad.
What a shame that our teachers are withheld from teaching because of ignorant restrictions and major stressors from our government’s not understanding or caring of them and our children. Good luck to this teacher, Tracy Suits. 27 years of teaching is such a loss. May you thrive in your decision. There is a place somewhere who will appreciate you and give you the tools to be the teacher you “want” to be rather than the one you are forced to be!
I am not a “professionally” trained teacher. I did complete training as an instructor in the Army. I took that with me into the corporate world and – coupled with an MBA from a Jesuit university – enjoyed many rewarding years. That is until I began to get “backlash” from recent high school graduates who did not demonstrate mastery of basic skills. When I asked a simple question in a class on economics, no one answered. Then an exchange student from India sheepishly raised her hand and gave the correct answer. The comment from the US kid next to her was, “They are smarter than us!” Besides my father spent a lot of money to send me here an he thinks I should get an “A”! Combine this nonsense with a teaching administration load and I was spending 60 hours a week online to support 12 hours of contact time. My colleagues and I were exhausted. I retired. You can only protect yourself. You will find a way.
Reblogged this on adaratrosclair and commented:
As a fellow teacher, this is so sad and so true.
Thank you for saying you’re a wife and mother first! So many people take work home and it cuts in on quality family time, most families don’t get a lot of quality family time! I hope you find passion in your next adventure! Thank you for doing what you do! I was born and raised in pasco, & know how hard it was to get good teachers growing up!
Tim, you appear to be a product of “Whole Language” indoctrination because your writing is close to incoherence except that you are slamming a real teacher who needs to make a change to survive. She must leave a job she loved because of big money politics and their systematic annihilation of a free unhindered public education. Those of you who sit in judgement on teachers would not last a day walking in their shoes and taking their journey.
Unfortunately, mastering the job IS what is causing the decline of our health. To be a master teacher, I have to spend about 40 hours per week outside of my regular work week to create lessons, make and buy materials, grade papers, pour over data, and try to teach creativity and critical thinking in the midst of the crazy testing environment. I also have two part time jobs to help me afford the lab supplies that my students need. I’m not even one of those teachers who teaches in the inner city. I am at one of the best schools in my county. There are others who have it much worse than I do. Those the great teachers who won’t be able to hang on for much longer. Something has to change.
I quit too. I miss the kids but the teaching in Florida is misery and the pay is a joke. There is B.S. paperwork in addition to the huge workload, so much jargon you might as well be in a foreign country, no job security ever for younger teachers and ridiculously high class sizes. My daughter was certified to teach high school Biology and offered $10,000 towards a Masters Degree if she would teach in Duval County. She had no interest in doing so. She’s planning on a Masters in Physical Therapy and working at a Veterinary Hospital, so don’t fool yourselves that young people will take this raw deal either. The smart ones won’t.
This teacher is probably good at teaching. You, Tim are not understanding the whole point that good teachers are leaving the schools because the system and in my opinion, also including administration, are not letting good teachers just teach. It’s all corrupt with inadequate systems that stomp out creativity.