The viral Facebook post follows the same narrative. A teacher leaves her district by and large because of the following:
Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education.
Teachers like myself, especially those in early childhood, have felt the same frustrations, but can’t/won’t simply quit in the middle of the school year. I can also state, with confidence, that developmentally appropriate teaching is possible, even in this reform climate, but with some caveats. You will meet resistance and will get frustrated. Yet, nothing worthwhile comes easy.
I recall during a district wide PD with every K teacher in the city present, I declared, with audible gasps, that my students have almost an hour of free play every school day. We get back from our special class at 2:15. Typically, depending on the day and general mood, we do some silent or partner reading for 15 minutes. I then go over to the board and draw a box, the numbers 1-4 at the top and four or five choices on the left. Yesterday, the choices were tablets (pre-loaded with some good apps), the sand table, playhouse (built with PVC pipes and replete with a kitchen), blocks, and legos. The legos closed quickly because we just got a series of Star Wars figures in the mail. I limit each area to four students, and we draw names at random.
I’m not saying that free play, or choice time, is all that matters for developmentally appropriate practice. What I’ve explained above doesn’t take a lot of effort either, although it does take some additional money on my part to fund these activities. There’s no money in school budgets for dress up clothes, play-doh, and legos. We don’t even have an account from where we can order apps. I have to put my credit information in school iPads.
It does, however, take effort to carve out this time and defend it to the skeptics. It takes effort to push away impositions and mandates, or to retool them so they can take place at other parts of the school day. Most additional mandates or interventions are redundant anyway, so parts of them can be eliminated.
I see friends and colleagues who are teachers struggle online all of the time, posting narratives about the experiences they face in the same reform climate that those who ultimately resign also face. Some are likely more extreme and stressful. Some are excessed or in “rubber rooms,” fighting tooth and nail to get back into the classroom. Again, I am not aware of the specific personal circumstances faced by those that very publicly resign.
These teacher resignation narratives are becoming somewhat regular, which does say something very sad about the teaching profession today. Yet it also indicates that the teacher resignation is a newish and persistent genre in the education reform catalogue.