What I Wish I Could Tell Them About Teaching in a Title I School

Wednesday, April 22, 2015



I’m in my fifth year of teaching English at a Title I middle school. Title I schools are public schools that receive special grants because of their high number of students who have been identified as at-risk. I adore my students and my teaching team. I love teaching. I’m really good at it. I respect my administration and feel valued by them.

But at the end of this year, I’m leaving. I’m not sure if I’ll continue teaching elsewhere or start a new career. If I do leave, I’ll be one of the 40-50% of teachers who leave during their first five years. A drop in the bucket.

To other teachers, I’m sure this isn’t surprising. Without knowing me or where I teach, they can probably easily guess why someone who loves her job and is good at it would be leaving.

But it’s not teachers who need to know what it’s like. It’s everyone else. People who have no idea what it’s like teaching in a Title I school. Some of these people are even making important decisions about education.

There are so many things I would tell them.



I would tell them about the bright bulletin boards, posters, and student work that are either taken down or covered with white butcher paper for most of the spring semester, because the state mandates that there can be no words of any kind on the walls during one of the 14 standardized tests.

I would tell them about the 35 desks I have in my classroom, and how in two of my classes, all the desks are filled.

I would tell them about the hours I’ve spent outside of class time writing grants to get novels because my school doesn’t have the money for them.

I would tell them that I get to school about two hours before the first bell every day, but I still spend less time at school than most of my colleagues.

I would tell them about how I’m not allowed to fail a student without turning in a form to the front office that specifies all instances of parent contact, describing in detail the exact accommodations and extra instruction that the child was given.  I would tell them about how impossible this form is to complete, when leaving a voicemail doesn’t count as contact and many parents’ numbers change or are disconnected during the school year. I would tell them how unrealistic it is to document every time you help a child when you have a hundred of them, and how this results in so many teachers passing students who should be failing.

I would tell them how systems that have been put in place to not leave children behind are allowing them to fall even further behind.

I would tell them that even though I love my job and work harder at it than I’ve ever worked for anything, the loudest voice in my head is the one that is constantly saying you’re not doing enough. I hear it all the time.

I would tell them about the student in one of my classes who in August of last year, flat-out refused to do any work because of how much he hated reading. I would tell them that today, when he found out we weren’t going to be doing book groups, I heard him mutter, “Oh, man. I wanted to keep reading,” and I said, “WHAT DID YOU SAY?” really loud and shook his shoulders jokingly. We laughed together and I had to change the subject quickly because I choked up thinking of how much work it has taken both of us to get to this place, and of how badly I hope that his high school teachers don’t give up on him.

I would tell them that if I could compartmentalize things so that teaching was simply instructing a reasonable number of students and grading and planning lessons and visiting students’ families, I would be a teacher forever. No question.

I would tell them that I teach the honors section of my grade level, but only about 70% of my honors students had even passed the standardized test the year before they came to me. My colleagues who teach the non-honors classes inherit students with a passing rate of 30-40%.

I would tell them that almost all my students passed after being in my class, and that I’ve worked really, really hard to find a way of getting my kids to excel without “teaching to the test,” but that instead of being proud of this, I think of the handful who didn’t pass, and how I could have done more for them.

I would tell them about my pencil cup that I keep filled from donations and out of my own pocket. I don’t ask for collateral or even for students to return them because it would take up too much instructional time. I once had a student refuse to do work because he didn’t have a pencil, and I said, Don’t you know that you’ll have to do the work so that you can go on to the next grade with your friends? And he said, without skipping a beat, I’ve failed almost all my classes since third grade and I always promote. I don’t even go to summer school. I stood there, dumbfounded, knowing he was right, but surprised he’d figured out the system so easily. The next day, I had the pencil cup.

I would tell them about how policies that have been designed to not leave children behind are also teaching them that hard work doesn’t matter.

I would tell them about David, a severely dyslexic student my second year of teaching who made my teaching life miserable early on with his constant defiance and disrespect. I would tell them about the day he came in early before school and asked if I could type out a poem that he’d written and memorized in his head, and as he recited it I started crying, then he started crying too, and I would tell them how everything was different between David and me after that.

I would tell them about how I try to divide my time between everybody when my students are working in groups, but I almost always end up spending more time with my struggling students. I know that my students who are behind need me, but that doesn’t mean that my advanced students don’t need me just as much. I always feel torn. In an effort to not leave five students behind, I’m leaving behind 30 others.

I would tell them about my students’ parents, and about the dreams they have for their children. I would tell them about the single mom whose husband died last year and left behind two children with learning disabilities, and how she’s now working two jobs to make ends meet. I would tell them about how the dad of one of my students who took me aside at Parent Night and said to me, with tears in his eyes, “I didn’t get past the fifth grade. But Carmen, she’s going places. I know it.”

I would tell them that students who break rules at our school often don’t receive consequences. Last year our school had a higher number of office referrals and in-school suspensions, so this year teachers have been “strongly encouraged” to deal with discipline problems themselves. That means that unless the offense is severe or dangerous, students remain in class, whether or not their behavior is blatantly defiant.

I would tell them what a difficult situation this creates for the brand-new teachers, who are learning for the first time how to manage a classroom in an environment with so little disciplinary support. I would tell them how many teachers—good teachers—I know who have walked away during or after their first year because of this.

I would tell them about how a few weeks ago, I told another teacher’s student I would be escorting her to the office for her behavior, and she replied, “Why the f**k would that matter?” This student was back in that teacher’s class five minutes later with candy she received in the office.

I would tell them how hard it is to not feel hopeless when you realize that systems are teaching students that not only does it not matter if you do work at school, but it also doesn’t matter how you behave. 

I would tell them about my quietest student, Isobel, and how, on the day of our poetry slam, she stood up in front of the class and, in a voice that was loud and confident, recited every word of Amy Gerstler’s “Touring the Doll Hospital” by memory, and how all of us gave her a standing ovation and ran to hug her afterwards, and how it made me think of the quote from a character in Wonder by R.J. Palacio, “Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world.” It was one of those weird moments where literature and life and beauty crash into you together at a thousand miles an hour and it knocks the wind out of you, but you look around and you’re alive, more than ever.

I would tell them how my personality has changed under the stress of the past five years. I used to be fun. I used to be a bright and warm person who would go out of her way to help people or make them laugh. Now, if I can manage to act like myself during the school day, the second the bell rings I’m withdrawn, snappish, and moody.

I would tell them how this stress has started to overrun the part of teaching I love so fiercely.

I would tell them that it feels like I have three choices: 1) stay where I am, continue working hard and destroy myself, 2) stay and protect myself by putting in less effort, or 3) leave and abandon a profession and kids I care about.

I would tell them how much I hate all of those choices.

I would tell them that I’m not alone; that my story is all too common, and that I know far too many teachers who have it worse than I do.

I would tell them about when I interviewed recently at a private school on the other side of town, and how it went really well and the interviewer said she wished she could scoop me up right then and there, and how I got back in my car and put my head on the steering wheel and wept.




Why do I want them to know these things?

Certainly not for the glory. If I’ve learned anything in my time as a teacher, it’s that the only heroes in this story are kids who go to school and do their best despite the systems that are keeping them down.

I’m also not writing this for proof or validation that I work hard. I don’t have anything to prove about my work ethic or value as a teacher, to myself or anyone else, and this is not meant to initiate a game of “who has it worse.”

I’m also not writing this to incriminate my school administrators or my district. If I thought the problem was confined to my school, I would not be sharing this publicly. The problem is nation-wide.

No. I’m writing this because I care about what happens to my students, and other children like them in Title I schools across this country whose needs are not being met, and who are learning harmful lessons from the larger systems in place that are supposed to help them. I am writing this to give others a picture of the type of learning and teaching environments that are being created by these systems.  I’m writing because it’s 2015, and far too many children in this country are still receiving a lower quality education because of the neighborhood into which they were born.

I don’t know what to do about it. I have some ideas, but I don’t have nearly enough knowledge of policy to even know where to begin. All I know is what I and others see at the front lines every day, and I just know that it’s not working—for students or their teachers.  


This is what I would tell them. I may have burned out in the process, but I will never stop fighting for these kids, their families, or the teachers who care about them. 

Love,

Teach



(Any names of students have been changed in this post.)

983 comments:

  1. (standing ovation)

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    1. Absolutely, spot on. Certainly, with attitudes and realizations of teachers nation-wide about these issues, we should be forming a grass-roots effort to effect change. What we are doing is clearly not working. I would say I fall in the category of self-protection by putting forth less effort, but I can tell you that the one who pays the price is me. It makes my job 10x more difficult because I am always scrambling to keep up. There aren't enough hours in the day to do this job well under the current circumstances and there certainly isn't enough pay to make it worth the effort. Having said all this, I have my contract sitting next to me with the Retention Bonus attached and I must sign by May 1. With 19 years in, this is probably one of the toughest decisions of my career!!

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    2. Thank you for writing down the thoughts and feelings that so many of us in this profession have. I hope this is read and understood by those beyond the teaching community. Bravo to you.

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    3. I am sharing this article with many of my Title I school colleagues. Thank you very much for sharing your personal experiences as an educator in a Title I school. The connections I was able to make with this article were both enlightening and heartbreaking.

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    4. Take a break for a year, then consider doing substitute teaching in order to get the flavour of different teaching environments. Don't give up hope, and hang in there. It will get better. No other job on earth like teaching....on many fronts.

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    5. In our state, substitute teaching earns minimum wage. I have a Master's degree. I would consider subbing more if it didn't feel like a huge slap in the face to do so.

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    6. This is absolutely true and accurate! I taught in a Title 1 school for years and just decided to switch. Guess what? I love teaching again… my spark is back!

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    7. I have taught at Title One schools for most of my public career in education. Thank you for being so honest with the world. You are so passionate about teaching that I hope you find your way back. We need more teachers like you.

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    8. As a retired teacher I applaud you for your courage and perseverance. My daughter is teaching 7th grade Science in a middle Chapter 1 school. I worry for her all the time because she is in a constant state of high stress and I know it is affecting her health. She has few options because she is a single parent to two children. When I share the current state of environment for teachers with friends and acquaintances they are mostly clueless. We need to get media to be more sympathetic to the teacher's plight instead of only focusing on the teachers who make bad choices.

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    9. You are so right, I quit teaching in a school just like this because of the stress. However, I must say that teaching is stressful no matter where you teach. The toll on my health has turned into constant migraine headaches so this will be my last year.

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    10. I want to thank you for your public thoughts. I am a first year teacher at a title one school and your article brought me to tears. I can relate to many things you wrote about. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in feeling many of the same things you expressed in your article.

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    11. As a teacher who is basically going through the same thing, every word is true. It is a nation wide crisis as I know teachers across the country with the same concerns. Politicians need to pay attention because someday these children will be running our country.

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    12. I'm only anonymous because I am not computer savvy enough to be other. Teach, you are a difference maker and as such there are times that you will have the results you want and at times not. No one ever bats one thousand percent. Where there is effort there is no failure, only a learning experience that makes us better. Unfortunately, there are some who resign themselves to a life that could have been different. Revel in the successes and be accepting of the misses. Continue to be who you are.

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  2. So, so much love to you. It is so hard to explain to people what we do, but you've done so beautifully.

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  3. I left a Title I school after two years for all these reasons. Thank you so much for this post, because it comforted me that I am not a failure and I am not alone.

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  4. I've been reading your blog for a while now and never commented, but this post was just too perfect to not write.

    I'm in my second year of teaching elementary music in a Title I school. And you have exactly summed up what's been going through my head all year. I love my kids and I love giving them the chance to be successful through music, but I feel like I'm just not doing enough.

    The straw that broke the camel's back occurred when I was informed in my final evaluation that my classroom was going to be moved over spring break. Yeah... I had to come in with no pay over the break and box up everything and write sub plans for the first day back so I could set up an entirely new classroom. It's really taken it's toll on my kids. I've also seen the kids that have been taken out of the room for defiance and disrespect and brought back later with candy or a special treat. It's completely infuriating.

    Between the lack of support and the testing schedule messing with my student's band lesson times, I feel like I'm absolutely drowning and losing my joy in doing what I love. Glad to know there's someone out there who feels the same way I do and that I'm not alone in this struggle to try and change the world for my kids even though everyone seems to be telling me I'm crazy. Thank you for absolutely beautifully summing this up.

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  5. I'm an instrumental music teacher at two Title I schools. I know your pain. It is so, so tough. Please know you are not a failure. You have affected more kids in 5 years than you will ever know. Thank you for sharing this and thank you for all you have done.

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  6. I understand! I will miss your posts. Please let us know where you end up. Hugs.

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  7. This is a perfect blog post on so many levels. Stress was why I left the public classroom for a private school. I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore when several of my private school students say "thank you" to me after class.

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  8. This brought tears to my eyes. I'm in the same boat in elementary. I won Teacher of the Year and on my county application they asked what the biggest issues were in education and I wrote poverty and testing.

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  9. WOW. Spot on. I teach math at a Title 1 public high school. It's my fifth year of teaching overall, but my fourth year at this high school. I can relate so well to this post. Last school year was horrendous to the point where I was seriously considering a career change, but I told myself, "One more year," and this year has been so much better. It breaks my heart to see such a gem of an educator as you have to leave, but I understand you must do what is also best for you. Will you keep loveteachblog updated on your next adventures? I want to shout a huge THANK YOU for your posts. They have been sources of laughter and encouragement many times when I needed it most!

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  10. I am so sorry to see you go, but so understanding of why you have to. This was beautifully expressed.

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  11. I have to assume that I don't see any comments yet because you're so overwhelmed with them your site can't handle the sheer volume.

    Yes. All of it. Even though you've never said where you teach, or even given any clues to your location...I feel like you teach at my school or in my district. THAT is how pervasive these feelings are among teachers. These systems, these feelings of helplessness and working so hard to get not-as-far-as-you-know-you-can-go, like you're always missing a kid, and maybe if I just worked a little harder on -this-...and the paperwork, and the contacts through the numbers that don't work..it's all too familiar.

    I teach music, so I'm much better with sound than with words...so I'm glad that someone could so eloquently write what a lot of us are feeling. You can bet I'll be sharing this one.

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    1. Of course now I see the other comments. :-) Doesn't change the feels.

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    2. I am retiring after 26 wonderful, infuriating, exhausting, fantastic years. Like you, I just can't do it anymore. I love teaching, but I am 62 and just tired of fighting all the extra paperwork, mandates,and a system that is so broken. My heart aches for all my fellow colleagues and the students who are being shortchanged out of a first class education, which they deserve. I know that I will always be teaching someone, somewhere, because that is who I am. But it will be on my terms and not in a public school. Thank you for your most insightful piece, and God bless you in your new endeavor.

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    3. Anonymous above me....I am also 62 and retiring after 29 years. Your paragraph could have been written by me. I've always loved teaching, but this isn't the same job anymore. Dealing with the beauocracy and being asked to do the impossible makes you constantly feel like you are just not good enough no matter how hard you work. This along witht the lack of discipline support with an ever increasing population of dsiruptive and defiant students has put me in a state of constant stress. Not enough time in the day to sqeeze in all that is asked of you. I wish I could stay, I really do, but I can't allow a job to ruin my health anymore.

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  12. Oh my gosh this breaks my heart! Your blog posts, through all of its humor has inspired me and comforted me. I, too, have taught mostly my entire career as a teacher in Title 1 schools (for me, elementary), and I feel your pain. Please reconsider leaving education altogether. I left the classroom this summer, and this year began my first year as School Librarian Media Coordinator. It's so much more than being a librarian and highly rewarding. Many people have asked me throughout the course of this year "Do you miss the classroom?" I feel this is an unfair question. 1) I feel I am still in a classroom - I teach 580 students, K-5 every week. I teach them research skills, making book selections, locating titles, science and technology. I still teach. And 2) I feel if I say "No, I don't miss the classroom", that will make me sound like a horrible teacher! The fact of the matter is, I DON'T miss the classroom. I feel like the "grandmother" of the school - I get to witness their joy for reading and learning and net get stressed out with parent conferences, grading papers, tier plans, report cards, testing (although I do administer), etc. I see them for 30-45 minutes a week, and then send them "home". It's just enough time that we can accomplish something worthwhile, but not enough time for those challenging behaviors to get out of control. I always said as a teacher that I WANT to love my job, but I don't. I can now say, I LOVE my job :) Maybe it's something for you to consider as well. Of course, it is a shame that yet another great educator (and I can tell that you are) has left the classroom where our students need them most, but you can still have your place in education and serve these kids in other ways. Best of luck to you!

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  13. Oh my gosh this breaks my heart! Your blog posts, through all of its humor has inspired me and comforted me. I, too, have taught mostly my entire career as a teacher in Title 1 schools (for me, elementary), and I feel your pain. Please reconsider leaving education altogether. I left the classroom this summer, and this year began my first year as School Librarian Media Coordinator. It's so much more than being a librarian and highly rewarding. Many people have asked me throughout the course of this year "Do you miss the classroom?" I feel this is an unfair question. 1) I feel I am still in a classroom - I teach 580 students, K-5 every week. I teach them research skills, making book selections, locating titles, science and technology. I still teach. And 2) I feel if I say "No, I don't miss the classroom", that will make me sound like a horrible teacher! The fact of the matter is, I DON'T miss the classroom. I feel like the "grandmother" of the school - I get to witness their joy for reading and learning and net get stressed out with parent conferences, grading papers, tier plans, report cards, testing (although I do administer), etc. I see them for 30-45 minutes a week, and then send them "home". It's just enough time that we can accomplish something worthwhile, but not enough time for those challenging behaviors to get out of control. I always said as a teacher that I WANT to love my job, but I don't. I can now say, I LOVE my job :) Maybe it's something for you to consider as well. Of course, it is a shame that yet another great educator (and I can tell that you are) has left the classroom where our students need them most, but you can still have your place in education and serve these kids in other ways. Best of luck to you!

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  14. A friend of mine shared this with me... I'm a middle school teacher too. I feel your pain, I know it too well. I am in my 6th year and I too have thought about walking away. I've shared my struggles too... check them out sometime. You're not alone.

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  15. That's why I'm leaving the public school I'm teaching in after this year to return to private school. It pays less than half of what I make now and doesn't cover BTSA, but it's worth it for less stress! I will actually get to teach instead of spending all my time trying to manage the classroom, and the class sizes are only about 10-15 students per class!

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    1. I started at a Title I private school (it takes a lot of paperwork but the funds are based on the students/families qualifying, not the school). We had a lot more administrative support but many of the problems the students faced were the same.

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  16. AMEN! I'm in tears - this hits so close to home. By the end of my last year of teaching in a Title I school my husband didn't know me anymore because of the stress and weight I carried with me all day, every day. You've beautifully and eloquently illustrated everything that I felt, saw and lived.

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  17. With love and respect, here's my response to your post - one teacher to another:
    https://mysteriesandmanners.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/lost-causes/

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  18. I agree wholeheartedly. Those little moments with your students and their successes can be profound, but it's hard to stay sane under the pressures of a Title I school. I started my teaching career in a Title I school, midyear, with a well-known "difficult class" and no idea what I was getting myself into. I left for a wealthy charter school, where the grass really is greener. But it's hard to accept that there are kids out there in poverty and that the public school system is failing them. Thank you for sharing this.

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  19. I'm in my second year of teaching at a private school...and sometimes, those things pop up in my head, too. It's so hard to love on and fight for your kids when you're told to magically "fix" them. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone.

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  20. This is truly devastating news, but as the comments on here suggest, you are not alone and we understand your pain and guilt and your decision. You've been a source of inspiration ever since I found your blog last year, and I'm so sad to see you go. Please don't beat yourself up because the fact that you care, even once you've left, shows that there are people out there that want change. Thank you for sharing the light and laughter you managed to find in a dark situation and for inspiring us all to care so much we could all burn out. What a shame that this is the point that half of our nation's teachers reach. Hopefully one day soon we will see something change. Good luck with everything in your future. Lots of love and hugs.

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  21. I am 3 days into a "fill till the end of the year" position at a Title 1 school. I have 29 3rd and 4th graders, 13 IEPs and 4 who are ELL with no English ability. In my three days I have broken up fights, had a kid tell me blank faced his dad died last week, another dad is getting out of prison this week and the kid told me he is going to live with him. I have discovered most of the class reads at a first or second grade level -if at all, one student knows how to multiply up to 10. Not sure what I'm going to do with them but I will let them know that they are worthy, they are smart and they are loved!!!

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    1. I have to completely agree. I started this school year (1st year) at a title 1 elementary school teaching a different grade. I then got moved in Feb. to the 3rd/4th position you are in. I have kids who are just now getting IEP's that are in 4th grade. These kids can't even multiply by 2 much less write correctly or read at grade level. I haven't been able to see half of my kids the month of April due to standardized testing for 3 weeks. When I do finally get to see them I have to do my data collecting so I don't even really get to teach them. In May we will be trying to review, but for the kids they aren't in the mind frames to pay attention. I have a student who was having a hard time last week and mid-day finally told me that his dad was back in prison and his grandpa had died that weekend. No wonder why he wasn't paying attention that day. As you said, I'm still not sure of what to do in order to meet the needs of these kids at the level they need, but I do make sure these kids know that they have a teacher who cares about them, loves them, and will do anything she can in order to help them succeed and show the world that they ARE worth something!!

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  22. I left teaching last June for many of the same reasons as Teach describes above. I wanted to continue teaching, but the endless state and county mandates and the mind-numbing accountability that took time away from my students made it impossible. I was a good teacher and able to do what I knew was best for my students until about 5 years ago. I no longer felt I was able to do what I knew I needed to do, so I left.

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  23. This is beautiful. Thank you for writing it. I've taught high school English for 13 out of 14 years in Title I schools, and you've nailed it.

    No matter what you decide, please consider joining us in the fight... badassteacher.org and networkforpubliceducation.org.

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    1. I taught in Title I schools and absolutely loved it. It was very rewarding and even though there are difficulties and hardships I continued to teach and
      have done so for twenty years. The pay is not always good but it is great to see a student several years later as an adult say to you, "Thank you for all you've taught me."


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  24. I came home tonight in the depths of late-April-teaching-despair and I read through this and completely broke in half. Like the every-emotion-just-invaded-your-body kind. And it's that experience that helps us get clean again and wake up to a new day to do it all over again, harder and stronger. So from the bottom of my broken heart, thank you. Thank you, thank you.

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    1. Same depths of April despair and breaking in half here. Sobbing because someone else has put into words what I've been dealing with for five years.

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  25. Thank you for summarizing what many of us can't find the words to say. I quit after 3, but I wouldn't have made it past my 2nd had I not stumbled upon your blog. I wish I could say when you know more about policy, it makes it possible to change it. Yet, I should be honest and say I'm about to graduate from one of the top education policy programs in the country and I can't promise you this. My professors speak on the hill. They wrote the policies. The truth? Until "they" realize that your story, my story, our stories-aren't simply anecdotal-nothing will change. But maybe this is what we need? Maybe we need people like you who can put it in words? I wish you the best of luck Teach with whatever you decide to pursue. Thank you.

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    1. Beautifully said! We need more classroom teachers in the policy world!

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    2. I couldn't agree more. There is no magic to policy making. Real stories need to be told -- and the beauty of this is your specificity. Please share your ideas!! Those of us in the policy world want to hear them!!

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  26. This is beautiful.

    Thank you for being this teacher.

    Thank you

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  27. This is beautiful.

    Thank you for being this teacher.

    Thank you

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  28. I'm a teacher in a British secondary school and have just made the same heartbreaking decision to walk away from teaching. I loved my job in many, many ways from the tiny breakthroughs with a child to the hilarious and brutally honest comments that teachers actually love to hear! However, we have many of the same problems with no-support discipline systems, crazy amounts of legislation and overworked staff. My decision was, like you say, one of quitting or destroying myself and neither are good decisions. Hopefully, this is a crisis point for education and, in both our countries, we begin to improve. In the meantime, I wish you well with whatever you decide to do, Teach!

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  29. I teach at a Title I elementary school, and after 20 years.....I too am suffering from the burnout and frustration you've so eloquenty written about. On my darkest days, I remember a wise professional development speaker who reminded me......"If you can just reach ONE....help ONE.....touch ONE...child, take heart in that and come back tomorrow." Then I go re-read Patricia Polacco's THANK YOU, MR. FALKER. Thank you for the five years you have been the guiding light in your students' storm. They've been so lucky to know you!
    ~Jennifer
    Stories and Songs in Second

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    1. You made me cry. I taught 4 years as the sole Sped Teacher in a Title 1 School, my first teaching job. I loved the work and the kids, but the hours were impossible (typing IEPs at midnight to get up again at 4 to be at work by 6:30). I had no family life and was missing my grandkids growing up to teach and love others. One 4th grade girl, a non-reader began to read under my care. She has a gift for drawing and wrote stories to accompany her drawings. I bought Patricia Polacco's book for her and taught her to read the first few pages and when I left I gave the book to her, telling her one day I believed she would write her own book. After several months off I am now teaching and loving the students in an after school program and thoroughly enjoying it. Still Title I and much need.

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  30. Your words are very true. I am in year 15 at a title I upper elementary and every year I think "How long can I keep doing this?" I love my kids though and have to make a living so I keep on pushing through...

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  31. This is spot on! Thank you for putting it so succinctly. AND for having the courage to tell it like it is.

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  32. Universally true from my own experiences and from what I gather from colleagues in other T1 schools. All of it. Just yesterday, I finally needed to send a young man to the office, but knew that my credibility and authority would be undermined as soon as they gave him candy, joked around with him, and sent him back to me. He's an athlete, so why hold him accountable for learning English? We have a system that ensures that no one fails, and this really only ensures that we are failing our students. They won't be able to show up half of the time and do little of the work and expect to succeed in college, work, or life in general. There are underlying societal and political issues that need to be addressed before teachers can help students reach their full potential. Schools cannot do it alone. Here's the real question: why isn't anyone listening to the teachers?

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  33. First, this is the first post of yours I've ever read....my three best teacher friends and I all just read it. We're all crying. Separatly. In our classrooms. Then I started reading through all of your old blogs and learned what DEVOLSON is and then laughed out loud in front of my whole class when I read stuff you say during the day....then I told a kid in my class not to ask me any questions right now because I had to do something REALLY important (read more of your blog posts). This is my third year teaching 5th grade at a Title 1 school and I share literally ALL of your opinions, especially popcorn and wine :)

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  34. Thank you for putting into words what I felt during my last few years of teaching. I taught music for seven years, and the three choices you described were mine as well. When others ask why I quit teaching, I don't even know where to begin. There's just too much to say, and I don't have the gift of a writer to express it as beautifully as you have. Thank you.

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  35. This is a tremendous loss - of course for the kids and school you serve, but also for education in general. Your way with words makes us laugh at the all to common situations we all find ourselves in, normalizes so many of all of our feelings about teaching and learning, and is a voice that us teachers - and the general public - need to hear. Thank you for publishing this piece - imagine if all of us professional educators were posting blogs like this - our voices really do need to ring loud and clear, all the way up to the top of capitol hill so "they" might stand a chance to hear us. I'm so sorry to see you leave the classroom, but I understand and hope that you can find something else that bring as much joy as when your kiddo told you he didn't want book clubs to end. That's really one of the best things, right? :-) Best wishes and either way, keep writing!

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  36. This is a tremendous loss - of course for the kids and school you serve, but also for education in general. Your way with words makes us laugh at the all to common situations we all find ourselves in, normalizes so many of all of our feelings about teaching and learning, and is a voice that us teachers - and the general public - need to hear. Thank you for publishing this piece - imagine if all of us professional educators were posting blogs like this - our voices really do need to ring loud and clear, all the way up to the top of capitol hill so "they" might stand a chance to hear us. I'm so sorry to see you leave the classroom, but I understand and hope that you can find something else that bring as much joy as when your kiddo told you he didn't want book clubs to end. That's really one of the best things, right? :-) Best wishes and either way, keep writing!

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  37. Thank you for all you just wrote! It is unfortunately 100% accurate in schools across the country and I wish that the policy-makers up in the sky would actually spend some time in schools beyond a photo opportunity. Enjoy the small moments as the year winds down and please, I would love to hear your thoughts on the insanity of even trying to get one of these glamorous teaching jobs. Thats where I'm at right now, moving back to the states after living overseas and the process is cray-cray. Screening interview, team interview, video taped lessons, sample lesson plans, on and on and on. Good luck to you and please keep writing!

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  38. This resonates so much with my own experience that I kept finding myself wondering which of my colleagues you are. Then I'd read a detail that would remind me that you are at a different, albeit very similar, school. It's definitely not just your school or just your district.

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  39. I am an 11 yr. Title I teacher and just put my name on the transfer list on Tuesday. The past 3 years I've felt as if I was just phoning it in - all my joy in teaching gone. I don't know if changing schools will help or if I am completely done with teaching. We'll see. And it's not the students, its not even the parents who think all teachers are out to get their child who would never do anything wrong. No, for me it's the formulaic teaching we are told to do. The administrators who don't 'just' not listen, but don't even ask your opinion. Being told you can't teach that because it's not a TEK though it is a life lesson. And being told it doesn't matter if the student doesn't do ANY work, they should still pass. Things need to change, unfortunately I can no longer imagine that it will.

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  40. I started crying while I was reading this. I'm a second year teacher, and I left a Title I school in February for many of these same reasons. It was the hardest decision I ever made. I cried for weeks. Sometimes I wish I had been able to stick it out longer for the sake of my kids, but I was miserable. I didn't like the teacher I was becoming. I knew I had to get out to save my career, or I would decide that teaching wasn't for me at all.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  42. Thank you for writing what many of us are feeling about teaching. I hope you continue to write, even though your career is changing. Congrats on your new job! I have been a special education teacher at Title I middle and secondary schools for ten years. Last year, I chose to become a substitute and have more of a work/life balance. I don't cry as much, at least :)

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  43. Thank you for sharing! Your words ring true for so many of us. It's bittersweet to know that we are not alone. I don't teach at a Title 1 school, but am experiencing the same anguish as you. I'm grasping the knot at the end of my rope with my fingertips.

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  44. I'm crying reading this because it's exactly where I am right now and my heart is breaking because of it. Especially because I can't give the kids the help they need with life and who they are because of my job limitations and regulations. I'm tired, I've lost my passion, and I'm an unhappy person. And I hate myself for it. I don't know what to do, but I'm probably leaving because I can't live like this.

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  45. Wow this is my life. Im in my 5th yeat now and have been considering leaving... Great post!

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  46. I am a retired teacher and understand everything you said. No one but a teacher can really identify with your description of being a teacher in the classroom. I'm sure you are a fantastic professional. Thank you for your thoughts. You validate those in the teaching field. Best of luck to you in whatever field you choose.

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  47. Everything you say is true. I have worked in Title 1 elementary schools for more than 25 years. I only stay because the kids need a person who cares. I'm frustrated and soooooo tired at times. I can't fix the system, but I can make a positive impact. This is definitely not what I expected when I wanted to become a teacher. Just know that you have made a positive impact has throughout the teaching community. YOU are making a difference.

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  48. Teach, I've been reading your blog for a while now (often laughing right along with you). Today, I am saddened right along with you. Title I schools are hard. There is no harder job out there. Period. Congratulations on 5 awesome years of impacting lots of lives. Please take comfort in that you've done 5 hard years of good work. Your decision to leave has got to be what is right for YOU and no one else. And you never know...a year or two doing something else and gaining new perspectives may be all you need to come back stronger than ever. Thank you for all of your hard work for every single day of the last 5 years.
    --Lori

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  49. Thank you so much for sharing. I am the Title I math teacher at our school, and I could relate to every part of this post. You put this so much more eloquently than I ever could, so thank you.

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  50. Now I am wondering which of the wonderful teachers in my building are leaving! Just reading through the comments, we are not alone.
    I'm torn. I'm a mother of two in the public school system and I desperately want them to have teachers like you. BUT, I am in my 21st year and my advice to you would be GET OUT before you have my issue with too many years in to feel like leaving is a viable option.

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  51. Wow thank you for so eloquently expressing what I could not, it's uncanny how similar our experiences were. I left the teaching profession all together after working in a Title I school for 7 years. It was one of the hardest decisions and I've had to make, but I had to do what was best for me. I wish you the best and strength to keep fighting!

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  52. It's not just Title 1 schools. Some schools are very close to Title 1 but miss by 2 - 3 % in one area. The problems are the se. After 10 years in the same district I am ready for a change. I've even considered changing careers. Sad but ture.

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  53. I never leave comments, but for this I must. I have tears in my eyes after reading this. Thank you for so eloquently shedding light on what is an unfortunate reality that I am all too familiar with. I'm in my 5th year of teaching at my second school. So much of your words resonate and have moved me. Just wow.

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  54. Simply, thank you. As a mom, I thank you for teaching with devotion and dedication. As a staff member in a Title 1 school, I thank you for teaching with integrity and passion. Best of luck in whatever you choose. You will continue to bless others.

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  55. The fact that the comments are all so similar is a shame and so so sad. I too am an educator in Title I and just ditto to all of the above. I also wonder what to do about this. For the sake of our kiddos and our sanity we have to make some kind of statement. Then again, I feel so intimidated by all of the policy and bureaucracy that I cannot even begin to imagine where to start. I love my kids with all my heart but I feel like I am being slowly worn down and this is just my first year of teaching. This whole system is backward and incredibly frustrating.

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  56. That school system is losing a gem. And I know what you are saying and how you feel. I am 13 years into the game. And it makes me sicker every single day at what takes place. No, not what takes place in the classroom. The classroom is "My House with My Kids." I love them to death, even the ones who are at this very moment trying to be successful at making a voodoo doll of me. What sickens me is the politics and let's face it, the ones who are sitting in their cushy office chair down the road making county school decisions, who couldn't teach their way out of a wet paper bag; thus, they now tell everybody else how to teach. It sickens me how the teachers who spend more time roaming the hallways, fraternizing in the office and teacher room, not doing half their jobs...they are the ones who get the pat on the back while hard workers like me and some of my awesome colleagues are having panic and anxiety attacks because we are absolutely overwhelming because we are doing our jobs RIGHT! I could go on and on, but you know this already. I have been blessed by your posts. I have taken your ideas, websites, etc. into my own classroom. Go forth and make a change, my friend.

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    1. Sorry, but I had to laugh at the students making a voodoo doll of you. Take heart and hang in there - these are obviously some creative students!

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  57. Thank you for articulating so beautifully what is on so many of our hearts and minds. This is my 8th year of teaching in Title 1 schools (5 years in elementary and now 3 years in middle school), and for some reason this year has been the most challenging yet. Many friends and colleagues around the country are echoing these sentiments.

    With new standardized testing requirements, new programs and initiatives to implement each year/trimester/semester, it seems our kids often get the short end of the stick. It is exhausting and heartbreaking to see districts force administrators and educators to do things and make decisions that we know in our hearts are not best for kids.

    I wish you courage and luck for your next endeavor, whatever that may be. You have my gratitude for being brave enough to share this post with the world.

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  58. Thank you. I've been teaching in a school like this for 3 years and many of your experiences resonated with me perfectly. Thank you for sharing this.

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  59. As a first year teacher at a Title 1 school, I cried my way through this.

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  60. 18 years in title one and everyday I struggle for balance. Hang in there

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  61. I wish that EVERY Education "Reformer" who is obsessed with high-stakes testing could read this (seeing how many have NEVER actually taught). This is 100% CORRECT!!!

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  62. Amen!!!!!! I think we ALL need to get together and head to our state capital AND nation's capital to take a stand for "our kids". We teach, plan, grade, and try to inspire but with STANDARDIZED TESTS hanging over our heads and no funding for materials can we really effectively be and do what they say and want? Not to our fullest potential!!!!! Our kids suffer because of it all AND they are tested and pressured so much with these tests that they burn out and hate school. As do we!!!! We've got to pull together and fight for what we want AND for what we don't want.

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    1. I have been saying this since I started teaching this year. There are a million things my students are doing that they SHOULDN'T be. We need to form an organization, we need to fight!

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  63. Thank you so, so, so much for writing this. It brought me to tears reading this article. We are currently going through state testing and it is god awful. Please keep updating this blog but I'd love to see where you go next. I really do hope you stay in education.

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  64. "If I’ve learned anything in my time as a teacher, it’s that the only heroes in this story are kids who go to school and do their best despite the systems that are keeping them down."

    I totally agree. What an incredible post. We'll never stop fighting.

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  65. While I agree that this is a completely accurate depiction of the Title 1 teaching grind, I would like to point out a few things. When reading this, please keep in mind that the author pursued a career in education because she couldn't get a job. She states the following in her about section:

    "I teach middle school English at a Title I school in a large city. I never wanted to be a teacher, but found myself jobless after graduating with an English degree and thought teaching would be so easy!

    (It wasn't.)"

    I have trouble respecting this post from someone who became a teacher for all the wrong reasons and then feels they can comment on the entire system. What about those of us who choose to pursue a career in K-12 education at age 18? There is no longer a point of majoring in education as an undergraduate because of all of the alternative certification programs that exist--Teach for American, TNTP, fellowships with large charter networks like KIPP etc. For the record, Title 1 funded is determined by the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, not by the number of students who have "been identified as at-risk", though the two often go hand in hand.

    Teachers need to have a better framework for understanding poverty. Then all of this wouldn't come as such a shock. I'm grateful that there is a community of people willing to discuss these ever pressing issues in education.

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    1. Despite the fact that "teach" never wanted to be a teacher, she is perfectly entitled to her opinion and by having taught for the last 5 years, has a VALID opinion. While I cannot speak for the education system in the US (I teach in Canada), your opinion about teachers needing a better framework for poverty isn't really what we need. Understanding poverty has nothing to do with being able to teach students. It almost sounds like you think that if teachers understand poverty, then we just shrug our shoulders and acknowledge that this is the way things are without striving to make a difference.

      There are thousands of teachers who are making a difference every day, and teach is one of them. Do not disrespect her.

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    2. Have you ever read the rest of her blog? This teacher may not have spent her childhood dreaming about becoming a teacher, but she certainly does not look at teaching as a consolation prize, whatever her attitude when she started. I, like you, planned to become a teacher and pursued education as an undergraduate. I, like you, am concerned about the impact of potentially less-than-thorough alternative certification programs. But I know plenty of teachers who decided to pursue education early on, only to become uninspired and uninspiring educators. Where and how you began teaching is, to some extent, irrelevant. What is more important is what happens in your classroom every single day. "Teach" is a glowing example of what happens when someone takes a chance on teaching and inspiring students. She has my wholehearted respect, and she deserves yours.

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    3. I've wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old, and I have more than a decade of experience in Title I schools. What "Teach" wrote still spot on.

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  66. I resigned last April after teaching in the Los Angeles Public schools for over 16 years a ALL of them Title 1. Two Master's, National Board Certification, a billion hours of professional development. I taught 7th grade and one year opened a pilot high school from scratch. Hated it. High school kids were more complacent and apathetic than the worst middle schoolers.

    The only kids I really reached had NOTHING to do with any of this. They were primarily the "gifted" kids, who honestly are just grade-level, at best. They actually read books, had good attitudes for the most part and enjoyed learned despite being raised in the same dismal conditions as their peers.

    I was always burned out, gained weight, relied on anti-depressants and mild tranquilizers (Xanax) and was so exhausted at the end of the day, I could barely grade papers and often fell asleep by 8pm, Passed out was more like it.I was miserable. But the salary and benefits slightly cushioned the blow. Finally, I reached a breaking point. The administrators and counselors coddled the students and there were no real consequences. Never more than 25% of parents ever came to Open Houses and Parent Conferences. Culturally, it "seemed" like education was a very low priority on the totem pole.

    There is so much wrong culturally, systemically, socio-economically...I could go on and on. And having 150+ students per year does nothing but exacerbate the problem. No one teacher can affect change with that many students who have varying levels of knowledge, motivation and parental support.

    Until people start getting HONEST about what's REALLY wrong, teachers will continue to take the blame and sit in meaning less trainings and professional developments until they literally can't see straight.

    I'll still work in education, but I highly doubt I'll ever return to classroom teaching. One nervous breakdown was enough.

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  67. Also leaving a Title I school end of this school year. Reason, Complete "burnout"! Have spent this evening reading notes, letters and looking at artwork given to me by the students who have blessed my life. And trying to forget those students who have generated "my complete burnout'!

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  68. I should add - completing my 27th year teaching in Texas Title I high schools.

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  69. Sadly your experiences are not limited to American or "Title 1" schools - I teach in an UK curriculum international school in Dubai and feel I've never worked so hard, nor felt so unsupported. I am leaving teaching this year for all the same reasons. Thank you for sharing.

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  70. I agree with everything you said. I was nodding the entire time I was reading this. I have a student that has been written up for spitting at students (and a teacher) 4 times this year. He has yet to be suspended. They just keep sending him back to class. I understand how teachers get burned out and have to leave. This is my 11th year in a title 1 school and the only thing that keeps me going is the fact that these kids need me. For some of them I'm the only friendly face they see all day. I'm the only one who will listen to them and smile at them. That fact is what keeps me coming back year after year. I could never teach anywhere else.

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  71. What do teachers do when they can't do the job anymore?
    When I think about quitting, I think about all of my Davids and can't imagine my life without them in it... So, I keep going to work even though it's hard and I'm tired.

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  72. I am not a teacher, but I have friends who are and I see this in their lives. Having an inside view of the school system makes me look back on my education and see how spoiled I was- my parental support, my suburban public schools, my supportive teachers- and then it makes me feel for those who don't have the same opportunities. There is so much wrong with the education system- school is just not valued enough by the government. It makes me feel for my teacher friends- hearing about how they try to help their kids and make a difference in their lives. I just hope that they don't burn-out too. But if they do, I hope they can find a way to help themselves, and just like you, that they realize it's not their fault! Xoxo to you and good luck with your future endeavors!

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  73. I don't think anyone who has never been a teacher really understands how hard it really is. I lasted 8 years. I STILL have nightmares about it at times.

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  74. I'm a first year teacher at a Title-I school. I thought to myself too often "Am I doing anything right?" Thank you for sharing your experiences and giving me some peace of mind. I had 5 David's at the beginning of the year and some have left and been replaced with new ones. They drive me crazy but they receive so much of my heart, but they need so much more.

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  75. It may shock you to hear this, but there are some teachers who are in your circumstances that stay for 30 years without burning out or working less hard. Where do they get the strength? Same as you said : they "...will never stop fighting for these kids, their families, or the teachers who care about them."

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    1. Thank you for saying this! Here's to the lifers!

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  76. First of all, keep writing. You are brilliant.

    You are me 40 years ago. My solution? I took the job at the private school, and rediscovered the love of learning and teaching. I became a tireless advocate for school choice, and together with other like-minded teachers we put pressure on the local district and state to lessen the bureaucracy and improve results. Competition has actually improved the local schools, but I still love the freedom of the private sector, which has afforded me the time to get graduate degrees, become a teacher trainer, write curriculum, and (best of all) work part time for a scholarship agency which empowers the kids in the failing schools to afford private schools.

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  77. I am an 8 year art teacher and I feel exactly how you feel, it is a nation wide problem.. I have been teaching all my 8 years in a Title 1 schools and worked for communities in schools program for a year.. Communities in schools was such a rewarding job with a pay that would make McDonald employees happy they worked at McDonald and that's with my bachelors! But she didn't mention much about the money that goes into teaching but it is important to point out what we earn doesn't cover much after all we invest which doesn't hurt us because it's for the kids, kids that are not ours but they become ours after the week of getting to know them... And not to mention as art teachers in elementary, music teachers, PE teachers, computer teachers or any other elective in elementary we get the whole school.. So we not only have 25 kids per year so we just don't sharpen 25 pencils per 2 weeks.. As an art teacher I have lessons that require beans, balloons, soil, tissue paper, toilet roles, foil paper etc., and it's not because I want the project to be cute it's so my students can get excited about school and get out of the routin of testing, it's do the kids want to come to school.. Because when I was a kid I was not the smartest at math but you know what kept me in school besides some amazing, big hearted, warm teachers, my elective Art! When I was in high school I had never felt like such a failure when I would take the TAAS test.. I almost didn't graduate because of it! Did it make me feel stupid yes, did it make me feel stressed, yes, did it make me feel as if there in no chance in hell I would be able to even try to get into a university? Yes! But because I had amazing teachers I was able to over come my struggles... Now as a teacher I understand every time I see a student throw up, I understand a student who blocks themselves during the test because of all the pressure that is out in them... I understand ! But I also understand that I have to live my life and cannot be consumed by the politics of it.. I cannot change them, first I don't have time to understand them! I don't have time to argue ! I don't have time to breath because I breath is spent on making sure my students want to stay in school and enjoy coming to school so our future middle school/high school drop out rate in low.. We are more than teachers, we are tomorrow's hope for our a bright future... Without great teachers we will not have great leaders...

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  78. I almost simultaneously cried and vomited reading this at my desk because as a former teacher you describe the school I worked in. It's both comforting and troubling to know that there is a certain universality to my experiences.

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  79. I'm a mom of 5 from a title 1 school district, first off, Thank you to all the amazing teachers like you. Unfortunately, it's not the teachers that are "failing" to try & educate our children but the system that is failing! Many of you have stated how many student in your class have IEP's... The sad thing is, that in my state kindergarten is not mandated, therefore a child must be 2 grade levels behind in ALL subjects before they are even considered for accommodation. Which means a 4th grade student would need to be at a 2nd grade level before anything is done. Then there is a long list of "interventions" that will need to be tried before anything really happens (student study team- give that about 3 months. RSP- give that about 3 months as well.) Then if and when you get pass all of that, finally an IEP. Once that is completed, your almost at the end of another school year. Student is passed on to the next grade, " Ms. Jones is a great 5th grade teacher, we are sure she'll have a great influence on "Johnny". Repeat, repeat, repeat!! Now you're at high school graduation, knowing your child reads at a 5th grade level ( if he's lucky) & can't even get a job at "brick-mart" because he can't do simple math ( thank God for calculators). So, teachers please know, we appreciate everything you do for EVER child. No child left behind is by far the worst thing to ever happen to our children. I will never give up on my children & I know deep down inside, you won't either. Thank you from Mom of 5.

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  80. I would tell them about the time I received a death threat from a student, and when I reported this to administration, I was laughed at.

    I would tell them about the many stories I have heard from young children about crossing the border with their parents. About how scared they were. About the time they watched a young man drown in the Rio Grande.

    I would tell them about the 15 year old who crossed by himself after his mother threw him out of his home in El Salvador. About the journey he took to get here, about getting kidnapped by a Mexican gang and being held captive for 6 months before he risked his life and ran for it. About how he wrote me a letter in amazing English at the end of his first year here, telling me that I was like a mother to him.

    I would tell them about the 5th grade student who was required to take End of Grade tests, but was given the accommodation of extended time due to his disability. He sat in my freezing windowless room (we have no control over the temperature, that power is held by district) for 8 hours, asking me if he was doing a good job every 5 minutes. He completed fewer than 30 questions that day. I was reprimanded for taking him outside into the sunny day for a 5 minute break.

    I would tell them about all of the hugs I get, every single day.

    I would tell them that in my district, there is no school for newcomer immigrants. They are required to do the same level of work that a native English speaker is required to do, no matter what grade they are in. I would ask them, those that make these laws, to write a 5-paragraph essay in Japanese. Tomorrow.

    Every teacher in a Title I school has these stories. Perhaps if we share them, like you have, people will start to wake up and realize what is happening in our schools. We are failing our kids.

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  81. I implore you all to take this quiz http://blackpublicmedia.org/180daysgame/. This further brings to light the decisions that educators have to grapple with every day. I would love to know what you think.

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  82. One does not have to be in a Title I school to experience Teach's experiences. A regular public school shares the same. I taught 31 years and have a name for every gray hair on my head. The lack of administrative support, the clicks among teachers and parents, and the kissing up to administrators made teaching so political. I had an administrator tell me once that I was "just about insubordinate" for informing her that I just received child number 28 in my class and the teacher next to me had 20 students. This was first grade.

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  83. Aw, so sad. Takes me right back to my classroom days. I left teaching after 18 years at a Title 1 school. Yes, Yay for the lifers, but there's no shame for the leavers either. There are many places we can contribute to the lives of children in need, not just ina Title 1 school building. It takes its toll. I'm blessed to be able to pour into the lives of children in a way that has much healthier boundaries for me now too. Each of us has just one life to live. Live it well, for as long as you can, even if it means leaving teaching because you won't subscribe to the way education to our most needy children is being mis-managed. You'll be ok, TEACH. We hear your heart, and you're not alone.

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    1. Thank you for your years serving our children. Although things were quite different 18, or even 10, years ago. What teachers today have to do is madness.

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  84. What's going to happen when all the teachers are gone?

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  85. Ditto. Good for you and your students will always remember how awesome you are.

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  86. I left a title I school after 6 years without another job. I was having heart palpitations, my hair was falling out. I got jury duty for 8 weeks and was amazed at how different I was at home. I wasn't exhausted all of the time, I felt healthier, and my wife even said that I was happier and more mellow. I decided that although it pained me, I had to leave. I had a 2 hour exit meeting and cried so much. I left students that represent who I was as a child. Children of immigrants, children that live in poverty, children that deserve a chaBnce to succeed. They get very little of that because they system fails them in so many ways that I can't begin to list them in this space. The system also fails its teachers in numerous ways. I am in a private school now and my life and health have changed drastically. I love teaching again. But I wish things were different.

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  87. Thanks for sharing your heart! I left public education to teach at a private school for some of the same reasons you mentioned and I'm in such a better place; I love teaching again although I still have struggling students and work long hours. At least I'm not fighting the system anymore. The sad thing is all the students who are left in public education and have so much stacked against them. Something needs to change. I have so enjoyed reading your blog and I hope you have some clarity for your future. You have blessed so many kids already!

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  88. I'm leaving a Title 1 elementary school after 10 years at the same school with it being Title 1..I have 20 days left..I am leaving to stay at home and be with my kids..I just need a break..I need a break to rediscover who I am..I have cried and lamented to my co-workers that I feel like I'm letting the kids and the system down..I feel down because I caved, I just "can't hack it" anymore..but...I need a break..I need the chance to be a smiling mommy not uptight stressed mommy. I need the chance to be a loving wife who puts her husbands needs above her own instead of being strung so thin..because..my husband too is at a Title 1 school..high school..

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  89. Well said and completely on point.

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  90. My husband asked what I was reading that was making him cry. I told him a teacher is leaving and I'm reading her blog and feeling like somehow she wrote exactly what I felt. I left after my 5th year. My heart breaks for the students who are trapped in this system.

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  91. I see all the amazing teachers out there agreeing . . . why won't the "powers that be" listen? So frustrating :( We only want what is best for the kids

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    1. The powers that be won't listen because if they did it would mean they would have to get off their duff and do something instead of scapegoating the teachers. It's too hard to do what really needs to be done, but it's easy to ignore it and make more evaluation measures to punish teachers.

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  92. So sad that this is happening in more schools than just mine. I hate that younger, talented teachers are being forced out of the profession. Why is our society allowing this to happen?!! We are letting down a so many children, but not enough people see these children as the valuable resources that they are.

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  93. Yes. All of this. I have lasted 9 years but am totally burnt out right now. I have 27 fourth graders. 7 of them are in and out of the room at different times for special ed, 3 are ESL students, 8 receive Title 1 reading services, 5 receive speech services. I have numerous behavior problems. My room is like a three ring circus.

    I am tired of feeling like I'm not doing enough. This year my district implemented an initiative of not allowing students to raise their hands to answer questions. The purpose was to increase student engagement because of the chance on being called on at any time. While I can agree with this logic, it was taken to a ridiculous extreme. I implemented this in my classroom, but there were certain occasions I would allow my students to raise their hands. One day, all of the administrators from the district were in our building to observe classrooms. They all came into my room during a reading lesson. I was doing a read aloud that included the word "arithmetic." Knowing that my students would not know what this was, I asked if anyone knew what arithmetic was. And called on a few students with raised hands. GOD FORBID. Of course the administrators left before our amazing conversation about the inferences the students made from the text. The feedback I got back? "You called on students with their hands raised." My principal was disappointed in me. He told me he had brought them to my room because he considered me to be one of his best teachers. And I called on students with their hands raised. Seriously?! I was soooo frustrated.

    My students are currently taking a Smarter Balanced state assessment, which is way too hard for them even though they have come leaps and bounds this year. But I know most of my class will be labeled "Below Basic." All I can do is encourage them to try their best.

    Thank you for writing this. We are not alone.

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  94. 100 Students? I had close to 200 hundred students each year and every classes was over 35. 44 in one class. I left after 4 years after being accused of being a racists for calling the parent of an American student who was failing 5 out of 6 classes. I figured out why many teachers stopped calling parents. Incidentally, I was accused of being a racist at my first parent conference for asking a Hispanic student to stop talking. Her parents didn't speak English.

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  95. I'm a first year teacher in a very similar situation - huge classes, little behavioral accountability for students, and I have so many classes to prep for every day that I feel like I never get to spend time with the students that need the most help because I'm always trying to prep for the next thing. I spend 3-4 extra hours at school every day and nearly every day, I come home and I feel like I'm not doing enough. There is so much need to fill, and I'm not sure there is enough in me to keep filling it for the next 30 years.

    I also will not be going back in the fall. I may find another district, a district with (I hate to say it) more money, where I can teach a manageable load and have time to actually spend with my students. I love teaching, and I love my subject, but I am not my best self at school. My students don't get to know the warm and generous and kind person that I have always been, because there is too much for me to do and no support in doing it.

    Thank you for writing to remind me that I am not alone. Perhaps if enough of us quit, things will start to change.

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  96. Thank you so much for this post. Your work is noble and burn out is far too real. I had a roommate who was a Title 1 teacher and I watched her unravel and her spirit deteriorate over the course of a year for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I remember being horrified by even the notion that she had to provide all of the paper and pencils/markers/crayons/glue/EVERYTHING for her students because the school didn't even have copy paper for the teachers to print lesson sheets on. I watched her hair fall out from stress; she cried and was angry and drank a little too much in the evenings, as she dreaded the next morning and what it would bring. In her suffering, the consistent motivation was the love she had for the kids, and the guilt she felt for not being able to do enough. In the end, she quit after 2 years.

    I am now a children's mental health therapist working in a low-income community mental health agency. I see many of these "problem kids" individually and with their families. I realize, now, how many of these children living in poverty and in "bad neighborhoods" who attend these Title 1 schools are living in instability and chaos, and so much of their behaviors are trauma reactions to their environment. There are so many factors that come to play that the whole community needs to step up and help these children and their families heal to have the foundational ability to sit and learn. Many children misdiagnosed with "ADHD" are actually anxious, depressed or have posttraumatic stress disorder, and these symptoms prevent them from being able to sit still, focus, follow even simple directions for a prolonged period of time, contemplate long term consequences for short term decisions, and cause aggression (the "fight" impulse of "fight, flight or freeze" that accompanies a triggered trauma reaction).

    Bravo to you for all that you did for those children in your classrooms... you were right when you said it is so much about what homes/families/neighborhoods they were born into. That really predicts so much of the outcomes... :(

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  97. I read this the first time with amusement. The second time, I cried. You are going through the very same thing I am. I went into my Title I school on fire to make changes. Now I'm worn out by the lack of student accountability, both academic and behavioral. The lack of trust for those of us who have made teaching our career (not just a job). The influx of individuals who enter because they need a job or think they want to "try out" teaching. This influx the result of the administration driving out good teachers because they don't teach to the test and not trusted to teach in the ways that students learn best. Helping a struggling student is putting them in front of a computer. I love my students and don't want to leave them, but I have changed as a teacher. I am not as creative, happy or innovative as I have been in the past and I want to be the best, so I have to go. I was feeling very guilty thinking it was just me. Thank you for helping me gain the strength to continue teaching - but in a different environment.

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  98. I am leaving a Title 1 school after 8 years at the end of May. I have seen the decay of the larger American social contract play out in the microcosm of my students. These kids are the poorest, most underprivileged people in my city, and the recession has NOT sprung back, despite what we are told. The economics curriculum I am supposed to teach is designed to make them feel ashamed of being the victims of the grotesque under-utilization of our vast resources, ashamed of being on SNAP, ashamed of receiving free lunch. Many of the teachers in my district love teaching them that "hard work" will get them "good jobs", and a pathway out of the crushing poverty they experience. The disservice done to these kids cannot be over-exaggerated. They are trained to hate themselves, to worship cheap material objects, and to prepare for a life of unemployment and ill-health. I have spent 8 years teaching them class-consciousness, working-class pride, and small kernels of critical theory. It has been extremely difficult. The public school I teach in has been so under the radar that I have gotten away with it. But hidden forms of privatization, and the constant underfunding takes an increasing toll. Standardized testing creeps into the regular classroom curriculum, designed by giant, for-profit corporations, and penetrating deep into the public schools. The functionaries in the district have begun to notice us. Some of them moonlight for the corporations mentioned above. The conflicts of interest go unmentioned. They promote for-profit colleges on our campuses. They lie, they manipulate, and they creep in, installing their minions among us, using language like "good for our students". Expensive software of all kinds is promoted and forced upon us. (I have kept those stupid Promethean "clickers" in the box for 3 years. If I could get away with it, I would ceremonially destroy them in front of the entire student body). Paper and pencil is abandoned for the latest whiz-bang goodies that teach our kids to rely on screens and technology, rather than critical thinking and sentence construction.

    I feel your pain, and my best, most progressive colleagues do as well. It is time to go. I will miss my kids terribly, and will probably cry when I give the keynote at the graduation this May. But I will not be a martyr. I am too young. My 14-month old daughter needs me. My wife and I are off to teach in Europe, to the opposite end of the economic spectrum. It will be an interesting experiment.

    Thank you for posting this and allowing us to share with you. It helps. Our education system is a reflection of the state of our society, to wit, quiet social war. These are the front lines.

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  99. I too felt this way last year, after 14 years in a Title I high school. If only the ones who really can make a difference would read your blog. Best of luck to you!

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  100. I teach in one of the wealthiest districts in our state and I still feel that most of these apply to me and my classroom. Our whole education system is so broken.

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  101. I read this post and thought - Gee, at least it's not just me. Then, thought but if it's everywhere why is no one seeing this as a problem? Every single word is true. I love my job and the kids, but I it never feels like the kids are getting what the really need. Unfortunately, I am at a point in my career where starting over just doesn't seem to be an option. Having so much time vested would be a waste, but with each passing year the toll gets worse and it always leaves me wondering. Too bad my the 3 degrees and 2 certifications I hold couldn't offer me something other. Maybe someone will figure this all out before I'm set to retire.

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  102. I taught preschool for many years and finallt left when the personality change you talked about took over. I wish you all the best!

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  103. Like you I finally reached a point at which I just could not do this anymore. I have 2 graduate degrees, and so moved on to Higher Ed. Unfortunately, the fact that I had such an extensive education background was not supported or honored by administration. They were in fact intimidated by the fact that I had many ideas they could never have conceived of to help solve some of these problems inherent in Title I schools. Because of the chip they had on their shoulder they largely ignored the contributions I tried to make. Every time something went wrong because of administrations' poor management strategies, or just simple laziness in not wanting to deal with the matter and ignore it instead, the teachers would be blamed and scapegoated continuously over and over again. This resulted in teachers talking behind their administrators backs about how terrible they were at their roles and then in staff meetings these same teachers blatantly lying during staff meetings and completely pandoring in a disingenuous manner. I got tired of watching my colleagues lie to their superiors to keep their jobs because I felt like this disfunctional environment meant no one really had anyone else's back in any of this. I am so thankful to be in a place now, where I feel very supported, and when things go wrong no one holds back the truth, they tell it like it is, and work to improve it. The disfunctional nature of Title I schools is a set up for failure or burnout or both of most teachers. It is inhumane, and has nothing to do with accountability, and everything to do with administrators that won't do their job because it's too hard, so they dump on the teachers.

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    1. I've seen that sick work environment too

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  104. BUT also add zero english language learners & violent Extended Resource Room students as well (not in a self-contained portable) to the mix. The ERR kids run in the halls, scream, injure other students and come at staff with sharp implements. But they are still in the building. As an elementary librarian in a title one school I deal with it all of this, with ALL the students. It is a SLOW process in getting kids behaviors documented that they are risking their own, other students, and staff safety. The districts don't want to be sued so they bend over backwards to allow students free rein at school until the documentation is done. Then we get the new kids :( Start all over again. I have to write grants for things like library books (yes), iPads (everyone else has & I'm supposed to teach technology). Why? Because the district doesn't think we "need" it. I'm a very well respected classified librarian & I'm supposed to be supporting literacy. Oh yes- reading, what a good basic skill. Why not support it, giving me more money for books? The new district curriculum/library person is the tech person, and has no library background. I do what I can but am thinking about totally changing positions. It would break my heart, but what other options do I have? Work off the clock, spend my own money or see my library sink like a ship in a storm. No one else seems to care...

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  105. I want to give a special thanks to Dr KPELEDE that helped me got my partner back. my name is Mcqueen Joy, early this year, i and my wife started having some issues and she left me and the kids even when i loved her so much. I was fustrated to the extent that i started looking for links on the internet on how to get her back. One day i came accross a testimony in which a lady was testifying of how this Dr KPELEDE helped her got her man back i was able to contact this Dr KPELEDE and helped me put everything in order and my wife came back to me just as i wanted. this Dr KPELEDE is great if you know you have any problem here is his email address kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com Tel:+2347038111854

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  106. For all of you who are struggling in your educational careers, please do NOT give up on the teaching profession. I am just finishing my 12th year of teaching at a rural Title 1 school. Over the years, I have felt such a range of emotions--many of those discussed in the article. I know that the educational system seems rife with problems--class size, standardized testing, discipline, lack of administrative support, etc.--the list goes on and on.
    It took me 10 years teaching to finally reach rock bottom. Listening to MANY of my colleagues openly talk about how they take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicine is sobering. I, myself, was having trouble sleeping, was always stressed about school, my work load, the administration, etc. I told my husband one evening that I was thinking about getting a prescription from the doctor for something.
    At that point, he gave me some of the best advice I've ever gotten. He said, "If it gets to the point that you need medicated to do your job and be happy, that is the day you quit! Nothing is worth that."
    You do what you can to help EVERY one of those kids, but at the end of the day, don't let your failures (your inability to reach every kid & your inability to 'fix' the system) overshadow your SUCCESSES. For too many years I focused on the failures and negatives, and little by little, they wore me down.
    I knew that something needed to "give" if I was going to continue teaching. So, I set "hard limits" on my work load and have focused on the most important part of teaching--the kids and forming meaningful relationships with them while teaching them the content. Setting limits included learning how to say "no" to committees and projects that in the past had just stretched me too many directions, streamlining some of my work, etc. For example, I teach at the high school level, and I had to come to the realization that I could not continue to keep up with the paperwork load of 125+ kids per day when everything I gave out had to be hand-checked. I had to say, "It's okay to give out scantron multiple choice quizzes sometimes."
    If you are unhappy with your job, PLEASE don't give up! The kids need you. Change schools (for example, if you teach in an urban, city school, consider getting a job in a rural district), change your methods, change your outlook, but please try to push through!!
    In addition to setting limits, I told myself last year that I was going to do my BEST for the kids! I REFUSED to stress about the state tests, my end of the year evaluation, my colleagues down the hall, etc. In fact, I have yet to read my teaching evaluation from a year ago--other than to see that overall I was marked as "effective".
    It has taken me over 10 years to erect a shield of indifference to the "stuff" that doesn't matter. This is my best year ever, and I can truly say that I love my job, because even though there are many problems with the educational system today, I refuse to give up. I refuse to become a cynical teacher (you know who I'm talking about, every school has one). I refuse to abandon all those kids whose lives I have positively influenced! I refuse to become a teacher drop-out statistic!

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  107. Thank you. I retired after 33 years at the same school district, but would have continued on if the job hadn't become so stressful. We were not allowed to fail students unless we showed documentation of all that had been done to help the student and even then it was discouraged. This resulted in students realizing they didn't have to actually do anything and they would still get passed on to the next grade. I had never given a failing grade before this policy was put into effect because my students did their work. After this policy was put into effect, a majority of the students quit doing any work. Class sizes were larger, paperwork kept increasing and parental and administrative support was mostly lacking. The principal and upper administration added requirements teachers had to complete before a student could be failed. Students were promoted even though they lacked knowledge and skills needed to be successful at the next grade level. I loved being a teacher, but the last couple of years were too stressful. I chose to leave the profession because I realized I didn't enjoy it anymore.

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  108. "if I could compartmentalize things so that teaching was simply instructing a reasonable number of students and grading and planning lessons and visiting students’ families, I would be a teacher forever. No question."
    Teach at an international school, where teaching is a respected and well-paying position. You'll still love the kids, I promise.
    Whatever you do, keep writing. You are a star.

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  109. I have been in for 8 years Title1. I know exactly how you feel. I recently decided to throw caution to the wind and made the decision to teach internationally. I think it's going to be the best decision. Even before I started my passion is being renewed by my school abroad. The things being done in American international schools is quite interesting. Try the ISS! International School System. There are some are amazing opportunities to reignite that passion as a teacher. You can follow my journey at www.lifemeant.com

    PS. Thank you for writing this. I know you're not the only one feeling that way.

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  110. Wow, I've read and even written many blog posts on the plight of teachers in this country, and this is by far the most inspiring and touching piece of writing I've see to date. I have mostly worked in Title 1 schools during my 8 years as an elementary teacher (with the exception and BIG mistake of the one year at a start-up charter), and your experiences are very familiar to me. More impressive, is the fact that you have tackled the most difficult years, the middle school years. I find many middle school teachers I've met to be a "burnt out" and jaded bunch, but I think just as many are so very brave. It is a truly heart-breaking world, the world of education...but your dedication, and determination to rise above, reminds me yet again why I continue. Whatever you decide to do, I think you will persevere, and someone will be the better for it. Even if that someone is you for awhile. Don't give in, or give up. Just keep thinking, keep writing, and keep on keeping on. Good luck to you!

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  111. You talk about your three choices... I've been choosing option 1 until this year. This year I've gone for option 2. And it kills me every day. It is making me hate myself, to know that I'm not giving my all to my students. And so, because options 1 & 2 are unhealthy, I am left with only option 3.

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  112. I'm in the same situation, only at a 100% free and reduced lunch high school and my max seating is 33 instead of 35, but for two classes they're all filled. We even teach the same subject.

    I have an interview for a curriculum position on Wednesday at my school, and even with more pay and the carrot of getting me out of the classroom, I am not sure if I want to stay. I think I'd rather teach elsewhere and really enjoy teaching again...

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  113. This is so accurate! I find myself thinking about retirement even though it's still years away. And my current school is "better" than others I've been in. I'm in NC which no longer gives additional pay for getting an advanced degree. Talk about a slap in the face to those who did not meet the cut-off date!

    I love teaching and knew I would be a teacher very, very early in my life. I overcame the very odds many of our Title 1 students encounter on a daily basis. I want to show them that they can be achievers in spite of their circumstances. I'm saddened by those who have the attitude of I can do whatever I want, say whatever I want, disrespect whomever I want and still pass. Life holds some miserable lessons for them "in the real world."

    My choice is to stay where I am and thank God for the opportunity to help those I can. I can do no less than my best as that is my work ethic and my belief system. I will strive to encourage my colleagues as well as myself. I stand on God's promises. I believe that I AM making a difference in spite of all the negativity.

    I AM A TEACHER! And I thank God for my profession every day.

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  114. These are the letters that the governor, the mayors and representatives need to see. I have worked in Title I all 10 of my years and I am absolutely drained. This year I have done no paperwork because I'm tired. I thought I would make it 20 years and I want to make it 20 years but if I don't find another job in a school that is not Title I, I'm done after next year as well. I took a year off and came back but this time when I leave I'm done. I will continue in education but it will be in an office somewhere doing professional development. I love my children but them babies have more issues than me. The mountains of paperwork is absolutely ridiculous. We would all need para or personal assistance to keep up with it. It would be ok if it was 1 or 2 students failing but when 12 out of 26 of your 1st graders are below grade level the paper work is more than I can handle.

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  115. I also teach in a Title 1 school-mine is in a rural area not far from the suburbs. The poverty rate is above 60% at my school but we do not face the same issues with administration. I know many Title 1 schools have poverty rates of 90% and higher but not all Title 1 schools are the same and I feel frustrated when we are lumped together. You are obviously a dedicated teacher who needs to be elsewhere and that is okay. But no matter where you go, I think all teachers feel as if they can never do enough. I wish you the best of luck in your future-you obviously have a gift for teaching and need to find out where you fit best.

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  116. This really resonated with me:

    "I would tell them that students who break rules at our school often don’t receive consequences. Last year our school had a higher number of office referrals and in-school suspensions, so this year teachers have been “strongly encouraged” to deal with discipline problems themselves. That means that unless the offense is severe or dangerous, students remain in class, whether or not their behavior is blatantly defiant.

    I would tell them what a difficult situation this creates for the brand-new teachers, who are learning for the first time how to manage a classroom in an environment with so little disciplinary support. I would tell them how many teachers—good teachers—I know who have walked away during or after their first year because of this."

    I am sitting on my couch nearly in tears because I feel...relief. This is my first year teaching, and I am employed at a school with a 92% free/reduced lunch eligible student body. There's a new principal in charge this year, and since the number of referrals last year was astronomical, we, too, have been "strongly encouraged" to handle problems ourselves in the classroom. If we send a student to the office for defiance, he/she is sent back to class, because we are supposed to take care of that ourselves.

    I'm also furious. We have all essentially been gag-ordered - there are so many anonymous comments here, my own included. We cannot speak out about the absurdities that occur in our schools for fear of being fired and blacklisted. To those of you fortunate enough to have administrators who support you and help hold students accountable, I am happy for you. Appreciate it. Because too many of us seem to be in a place where the opposite is true.

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  117. Thank you for this.It had me in tears. I started in January in a vacant position, and this was all true for our school, which was NOT a Title school. I only made it until this past Friday, when I chose your choice 3 above because the stress was causing health issues, due mostly to lack of sleep. I love those kids, but I felt my hands were tied. I couldn't help those who wanted to learn because the disruption of the others was too overpowering. SIGH! I'm SOOOO sad.

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  118. I only managed 4 years at my high-poverty urban school. I cared about my students and felt like I was making a difference (at least some of the time), but the toll it took on my health and relationships was too much. By the end I was depressed, anxious, and felt like I had a mild form of PTSD from dealing with the behavior issues, violence, lack of resources, and overwhelming problems the kids faced. I am now at a wealthy suburban school and while I love my job, I feel guilty every day for abandoning a school with so many needs. I was not the first to leave -- turnover was about 1/3 of the staff every year -- but I still feel like I gave up. I look at the school where I work now and get angry over the vast differences in resources and opportunities. It's so unfair that public schools are not equal, and that the disadvantaged in our country get worse off every year. I wish "work hard and you'll succeed" was a true statement, but I'm not sure I believe it.

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  119. I am crying after reading this during my second year of teaching way too many things at a Title 1 middle school in Hartford. Every single thing you wrote hit the nail right on the head. Especially with the battle within myself of the choices I have for my own future, and for the future of the students I teach.

    I hope that teachers like us can do something to fix all of this, not just the little things, but the big issues in the country. I know we are already making a small difference, in the lives of students like your David, and that is so important, but the bigger things that are not being taken care of will affect these students in the future, and it won't be fair to them. All we can do is teach them to continue advocating for their own education as much as they can, and as respectfully, yet strongly, as they can.

    Thank you for this.

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  120. I think every school would have benefited from a teacher like yourself. Hopefully you will miss it and return and I'm sure the pupils do too but good luck in whatever you decide to do. Keep us updated!

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  121. I think every school would have benefited from a teacher like yourself. Hopefully you will miss it and return and I'm sure the pupils do too but good luck in whatever you decide to do. Keep us updated!

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  122. First year teacher at a Title 1 school. This resonates more than anything else I've read about education. Thank you.

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  123. My blog post - a response to a different article. But related, to the amazing thoughts you have composed above.

    #workyourproperdutyday

    http://strength-serenity-wisdom.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-response-are-teachers-bleeding-hearts.html

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  124. I could not make myself stop crying during this post. I'm a second-year teacher who is quitting after this year. And yes, I feel like an absolute failure. Teaching is my passion and my gift, but I can't do it. Since I've started teaching I've been on depression meds, anxiety meds, and seen 2-3 different counselors. Students, I love you... But I choose my sanity.

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  125. After being in relationship with morgan for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email:allmightbazulartemple@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL
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  126. So heart breaking to read all of these posts. I have begun to follow Dave Stewart's blog - www.teachingthecore.com. His posts have really helped me. Maybe they can rekindle a spark for you.

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  127. I'm a long time reader, and third year teacher in the Australian public high school system. Many of your posts, both funny and tragic have resonated with me, and I am sad to say that many of the issues you've raised in this post also apply over here. Education seems to be in an international state of crisis, and ultimately it is this generation of students who are paying the price.
    I sincerely hope that the movement you seem to have given voice to gains momentum and is a catalyst for change. I sincerely hope that the Australian system (which has similar stats for teacher burnout, etc) can also turn itself around while I still have the energy to be a part of that change.
    I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and hope this is not the end of your blog, which has provided me many hours of solace and giggles. :)

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  128. I couldn't read all of the comments left on this eloquently stated blog, however, I read enough to realize this: the problems teach presented are nation wide. I myself am an English teacher in a high needs high school. We are four years down on the accountability clock, meaning we may get shut down, turned into a charter, or innovate. I'm scared. I'm scared because I don't want to leave these students, but our system may force me out. While there are definitely teachers who are still at our school because they are counting down the days untill retirement, there are also teachers who walk in our doors everyday and try to change our student's lives for the better. What worried me most about the comments I read is so many people responded saying that working in a high risk, title I school was too much to handle, and eventually decided to leave. This is BAD. While it is completely understandable, good, caring, respectable teachers need to stay in these schools. However, we can't just sacrifice our own sanity and families for the cause. Something must be done so we are noticed and our students have voices. Our students are just as important as everyone else's. What is it saying to our students when we tell them, "It's not you, it's the system"? Where does that leave them? There is so much talk going on here, but what are we all going to do about it? I don't have the answers, but I would definitely like to be part of a solution...

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    Replies
    1. I can't figure out how to edit this post, so sorry for the grammatical errors...I was heated.

      Delete
  129. This resonates with me as well, especially about the effects of stress and burn out. I am in a similar situation: this is my 5th year teaching, and also at a Title I school (with a high EL population as well). I love my students, and by all measurements/observations am told I am a great teacher. And I am at the point where I am looking at other options because I can't give any more. I've become dried out, used up, and there's nothing left to give. I've dipped into the reserves, and when those were gone, reached in further and found more to give. But there's nothing left. It hurts that, no matter how hard I try, it's not enough. I can't fix the world for these kids. It hurts that, no matter how many success cases, there's always those few that I feel I've failed because I couldn't do enough. And, not to mention that the focus (by the public, by administration, etc.) seems to always be how we as teachers aren't doing enough and are failing our students. There's new initiatives with so much extra effort put in-- but when that proves to not be the magic cure, it is abandoned and a new initiative takes place. A good teacher cares and gives his or her best. Ambivalence and cynicism would not allow me to be the teacher that these students need-- and as I feel myself slipping more and more down that road, with stress and burn out being my constant companions, I have to take myself out of the picture. They need someone, and I just can't be that person any more.

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  130. Please don't give up on teaching until you have taught at another school. Go to that private school that wants to scoop you up. I am now teaching as a library media specialist in a Title ! school. We are 98% free and reduced lunch and 60% ELL. It is a much harder position than my earlier positions, but I have been laid off twice and had no other offers when i took this position. It has been three years and still no other offers. I am considering retiring, but I have 8 years until Medicare and can't afford private health insurance.

    I agree with the post just above mine ( also anonymous) that nothing seems to be enough. Children enter school already behind those from affluent neighborhoods and can't seem to catch up; no matter what we try. I don't know what the cause is -- genetics, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lead poisoning....it's difficult to teach these children.

    ReplyDelete
  131. This is a great post that highlights many of the pressures and issues so many of us feel as Title I teachers. You need to get to a school site where you have administrative support. I can not tell you the type of difference this makes. Yes, the student baggage and struggles are the same, but the support from admin and teacher leaders makes a world of difference. Better yet, do what I did and get into an administrative credential program and learn to be an impactful leader in your own right.

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  132. Thank you for the post! You have put words to my thoughts. Like you and many others, my 8 years have been dedicated to a title 1 network school in an urban area. Your statement about the 3 choices are exactly what I'm going through right now.

    I've been toying with the 3 choices for the past 2 years. I know deep down I may need to leave, but I'm scared and sad to admit it. I've lost control of almost every part of my life because of this career. I'm not how I use to be. I'm moody with the kids and snap at the littlest things!

    My biggest fear is that I don't even know what to do if I leave teaching?! Like some others, I went to school to be a teacher and that is what my degree is in. What other jobs / careers are there to use with an education degree? For those of you have left, what did you end up doing? I'm scared to stay... scared to leave...

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  133. I'm a school counselor in a title 1 school. also a sleep deprived mom. striving to do my best but tired and burnt out. thank you for this piece. every word resonates with me.

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  134. YES, YES, YES!!! In order to transform teaching into a profession, teachers must be at the forefront of policy. We have debilitated an entire generation by attempting to leave no one behind, demolishing their work ethic by teaching them that it is the teacher's fault when they fail. The students have learned this lesson all too well. Thank you for this post!!!

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  135. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  136. I'm CLIFFORD MARY by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. ALLI the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I'm so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and always there to answer you question giving you the good advice that you need. his email is ALLISPELLHELP@GMAIL.COM or you call +2348149158514

    ReplyDelete
  137. I have a BA in Illustration but have been an Emergency Substitute teacher in the same district for about 4 years now and this describes an almost scarily accurate description of my situation!!!

    Thanks for putting this to words, God BLESS you and all true caring teachers!!

    ReplyDelete
  138. My name is Annold Nutall from North Carolina and my ex-boyfriend dumped me 8 months ago after I caught him having an affair with some other girl and i insulted him and told him never to come close to him again. But i later discovered that i love him so much and cannot do without him and I want him back in my life but he refused to have any contact with me. I was so confused and don't know what to do, so I visited the INTERNET for help and I saw a testimony on how a spell caster helped them to get their ex back so I contacted the spell caster and explained my problems to him... He cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise, the 3rd day my Joy came knocking on my door and begged for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Dr. Laco of Laco SHRINE & SOLUTION HOME, you are truly talented and gifted, please if you have a similar problem just like the one i was facing before i met with Dr. Laco then, you have to contact him through his email at: (lacopowerfulspellcaster@yahoo.com) for your spell. All thanks to the source of my happiness{ Dr Laco}

    ReplyDelete
  139. I'm CLIFFORD MARY by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. ALLI the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I'm so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and always there to answer you question giving you the good advice that you need. his email is ALLISPELLHELP@GMAIL.COM or you call +2348149158514

    ReplyDelete
  140. A GREAT SPELL CASTER( DR EMUA)THAT HELP BRING MY EX BOY FRIEND NOW MY HUSBAND BACK TO ME. My name is Terry jenny i want to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost. I broke up with my ex boyfriend with just little misunderstanding hoping we will get back shortly,but things was growing worse until i contacted Dr Emua who help me with his powers to bring him back, i have never believed in a spell caster until i come across Dr Emua, Who brought him back within three days, we are now happily married, Well it will be of great sin if i should go out from here without dropping the contact of this great spell caster,in case you need the help of this great spell caster you can contact him through his email address:dremuahelphome@outlook.com or dremuahelphome@gmail.com you can also call him on his mobile number +2347063628174, once you contact him all your problems will be over, once again i say very big thanks to you sir for helping me to recover my ex boyfriend now my husband back to me, and please sir keep your good work cause people may need your help.

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    ReplyDelete
  141. Sadly this is not just in Title 1 schools. It's happening everywhere!!

    ReplyDelete
  142. I just finished my 16th year teaching, and I feel this. I especially loved your three choices and how you hate them all. That's me!

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  143. This is true and, for me personally, timely. I could have written this myself. After 5 years teaching English in Title 1 schools, I also made the decision to "take a break" from teaching. Tomorrow is my last day. I can connect so deeply with the three choices presented to us as educators re: continuing our careers. I also love teaching and am good at it. It's a heartbreaking situation.

    ReplyDelete
  144. I am happy to make this comment , my wife and I are now happily back together. I have to say it was effortlessly done! Within 2 days, My wife left me a year ago.with my one kid The longer she’s gone, the more I see what a coward I was. At first, I blamed her for leaving. I told her she was ‘wrong’. In fact, I slapped Scripture on her, trying to guilt-induce her any way I could. My anger make me only to pushed her farther away. I can’t believe the way I acted. My wife gave me chance after chance, and I ignored her. I contacted Dr Osauyi and within a few hours of speaking with him, I realized that Dr Osauyi was the person whom I could completely trust. I just wanted to thank you for all your magic spell and commitment ! and I will always be using Dr.Osauyi for further work in the future because he really put unity and smile on my family again. We are now blissfully celebrating our thrid year anivessary together. Thank you so much!!! For those who might also want to give him a try. Email him on Osauyilovespell@gmail.com. you will never regret ever contacting him i wish all that will contact him best of luck you can call his cell phone on +2347064294395 Rob Simpson form USA

    ReplyDelete
  145. I am happy to make this comment , my wife and I are now happily back together. I have to say it was effortlessly done! Within 2 days, My wife left me a year ago.with my one kid The longer she’s gone, the more I see what a coward I was. At first, I blamed her for leaving. I told her she was ‘wrong’. In fact, I slapped Scripture on her, trying to guilt-induce her any way I could. My anger make me only to pushed her farther away. I can’t believe the way I acted. My wife gave me chance after chance, and I ignored her. I contacted Dr Osauyi and within a few hours of speaking with him, I realized that Dr Osauyi was the person whom I could completely trust. I just wanted to thank you for all your magic spell and commitment ! and I will always be using Dr.Osauyi for further work in the future because he really put unity and smile on my family again. We are now blissfully celebrating our thrid year anivessary together. Thank you so much!!! For those who might also want to give him a try. Email him on Osauyilovespell@gmail.com. you will never regret ever contacting him i wish all that will contact him best of luck you can call his cell phone on +2347064294395 Rob Simpson form USA

    ReplyDelete
  146. My name is Patrica Edward i am very grateful sharing this great
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    ReplyDelete
  147. Thank you for writing this. I am a second year teacher, and as the school year comes to an end, I have decided that I am going to leave. It's not because I am a bad teacher, or because I do not love teaching, but because of all the things you mentioned. These two years have been the hardest of my life, and I've had to deal with behavioral issues in the classroom that no teacher should ever have to face. I agree with most everything you said, but one part hit me like a bus:

    "I would tell them how my personality has changed under the stress of the past five years. I used to be fun. I used to be a bright and warm person who would go out of her way to help people or make them laugh. Now, if I can manage to act like myself during the school day, the second the bell rings I’m withdrawn, snappish, and moody."

    THIS. I have noticed this change in myself in two short years, and it's the thing I hate most of all.
    I have accepted a position to teach abroad next school year, and am excited about this new journey.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Hey are you crying that your lover has left you and the kids for another woman, you don't have to cry anymore because i was in the same position till i heard about Dr. Ekpen of Ekpen Temple how he has help so many people in there are relationship, today i can boldly recommend Dr. Ekpen Of Ekpen Temple to someone for help. He did not fail me i also believe he can not fail you too contact him at ((((ekpentemple@gmail .com)))) or you can add him on viber +2347050270218 goodluck.

    ReplyDelete

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    ReplyDelete
  150. It is Dr.ONIHA, you can email if you need their help in their relationship,
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    ReplyDelete
  151. "It was one of those weird moments where literature and life and beauty crash into you together at a thousand miles an hour and it knocks the wind out of you, but you look around and you’re alive, more than ever." Your best line yet. How beautiful. I hope you find peace in whatever you decide.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Hello to the people of this forum< Am Brooke Campbell from Texas and i can say that am the happiest person on earth since last week with what DR ABULU has done for me , it all started last year October when my fiance left me in Texas and travel to see his parents in Ohio at first him was still calling me and show love even when him was away , but it gets to a point when he no longer gives a shit about me , and i noticed it so when i tried to confront him , he told me that he dose not love me again that he feel like being alone i was shocked and heartbroken when i tried talking he will hang the phone on me i was so heart broken and i was frustrated about this , but on a second thought i was not convince that he was on his right senses so i discuss this with my elder sister who lives in California and she directed me to DR abulu of abuluspiritualtemple@yahoo.com saying that the man has helped her friend in such case before so i said to my self let me tried i contacted this man and explain everything to him and behold dr abulu said to me what am to do and i did exactly what he and he said after three days my fiance will call me and once he calls me i should pick the calls and he gave some other instructions . so i said okay , but to my best surprise on the 7th of November my fiancee called me and started saying on the phone am sorry it was like a dream to me , with this i said i will tell the world of his dr abulu goodness in my life , so if any one is out there and needs help in his or her relationship can also contact him today via

    email abuluspiritualtemple@yahoo.com
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    ReplyDelete
  153. I never knew people still have powers and make things happen this way. I am Micheal Lisa from USA. my husband left me and my child for another girl three years ago, ever since then my life have been filled with pains, sorrow and trauma because he was my first love and we have been together for years and couldn't imagine my life without him. I saw some testimonies about a great spell caster Dr Ogudugu and how he helps people around the world, that he can bring back lover within some few days, initially I laughed it off and said I am not interested but due to the love I have for my man I consulted the great spell caster and to my greatest surprise after two days my husband called me for the very first time after three years that he is missing me and that he is so sorry for every thing he made me went through, that he wants me back, we are going to spend our life together and promise never to leave me and my child again. I still can't believe my very eyes, because it's highly unbelievable, it's just too good to be true. All I can say is thank you Dr Ogudugu for bringing back my husband to me and my child and for anyone who might need the help of this great spell caster please permit me to drop his mail here GREATOGUDUGU@GMAIL.COM OR you can call the great man on 0092348057266712.

    ReplyDelete
  154. "HOW I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK"
    Infuse your life with action Don't wait for it to happen Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated Either I will find a way, or I will make one these were the words that kept me going after my husband was snatched away from me until i met Dr Zadson of eduduzadsontemple@yahoo.com who promised to help me regain joy and happiness in 48 hours and am grateful to him that i was not disappointed he kept his word and today i live happily with my husband. Contact Dr Zadson on (eduduzadsontemple@yahoo.com) or call +2347050269626 its a life changing experience

    ReplyDelete
  155. "HOW I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK"
    Infuse your life with action Don't wait for it to happen Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated Either I will find a way, or I will make one these were the words that kept me going after my husband was snatched away from me until i met Dr Zadson of eduduzadsontemple@yahoo.com who promised to help me regain joy and happiness in 48 hours and am grateful to him that i was not disappointed he kept his word and today i live happily with my husband. Contact Dr Zadson on (eduduzadsontemple@yahoo.com) or call +2347050269626 its a life changing experience

    ReplyDelete
  156. Life is good when you have your love ones around you, I am saying this because when i had issues with my lover i never seen life as a good thing but thanks to Dr. AGBAZARA of AGBAZARA TEMPLE, for helping me to cast a spell that brought my lover back to me within the space of 48hours. My husband left me for another woman after 7YEARS of marriage,but Dr.AGBAZARA help me cast a spell that brought him back to me within 48hours. I am not going to tell you more details about myself rather i will only advise those who are having issues in there relationship or marriages to contact Dr.AGBAZARA TEMPLE through these details via;
    (agbazara@gmail.com) or call him on (+2348104102662).

    ReplyDelete

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