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.