It boils down to this:
I’m not the teacher they want for this position.
My reading table is not immaculate.
Sometimes I’m a minute late picking up my kids from art/music/PE.
I can’t keep up with all of the mandates. I get one form turned in only to find out there are three other things that have to be done too.
I am not a teacher with good data. Never mind that I teach in an urban, low socioeconomic district where most children don’t speak English at home. My test scores aren’t good, which consequently means there is more paperwork. More stress. More justification as to why I do what I do.
Because here’s what I do accomplish:
I help get students in and out of the building safely before and after school.
I plan field trips and conduct meetings with parents and run sessions at open house and parent nights.
I manage a class full of small children, who each demand my attention with things they need to tell and questions they need to ask.
I juggle all of that and so much more.
And sometimes, I get to teach. The obvious thing that is not so obvious anymore.
But just sometimes.
I make children listen to stories and fall in love with reading. I teach math and make it fun, sneak it in in unexpected places. I teach about plants and animals and presidents and all kinds of topics. We write and we draw and we gasp! color and we become a little family.
But that’s not who they want. They want good test scores. They want yes-men.
(I’m not a yes-man. We have issues.)
The teacher they want will not question, will not think independently, will care more about data points than children.
We’re losing good teachers every day because at some point, you have to decide whether it’s worth it or not to continue.
I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore.