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A teacher's confession: Why I quit

Publication Date: 2015-04-12

This is from Citizen Times, April 3, 2015. It provoked 130 comments.

Please note: The very specific list of reasons this teacher gives for quitting do not include the need for more money. She talks of the planned, deliberate assault on students, not school budgets or the need for more money in her own pocket.

Deanna Lyles

Recently, I had to make a tough but necessary decision. As I entered my 23rd year of teaching in North Carolina in traditional public schools as well as a charter school I realized that teaching was not the job I had signed up for.

I want to offer that along with my NC certification for grades K-6 as well as reading grades K-12, I also hold my National Board Certification in literacy as a way to help readers understand I had put my heart and soul into the profession. I was not just sitting stagnant waiting for retirement time.

I did what some think unspeakable.

Yes, I quit half way through this school year to take a job in another field. So, I am a teacher who quit. Quitting and entering another profession was not a decision I took lightly. It took a lot of soul searching, prayer, a pay cut and graduate school. I want to clarify why I quit.

I quit because of the ever increasing role of bureaucracy and red tape involved in our system of education.

I quit because my best was no longer good enough.

I quit because a test score took precedence over a living, breathing student.

I quit because I could not live under the pressure of being off schedule.

I quit because I want to have a positive impact on learning, which cannot be accurately measured through a test score.

I quit because professional judgment was essentially a thing of the past.

I quit because I wanted to be treated as a professional.

I quit because I no longer thought I could speak my mind without fear of being singled out.

I quit because I was no longer a teacher, but someone who had been given a job that was physically impossible to complete.

I quit because of the overuse of assessments, no matter the name they are given.

I quit because we have created students who see reading as a test and not a pathway to learning.

I quit because teaching students became secondary to assessing students.

I quit because I love children and learning and had to find another way to have a positive impact on them.

As a teacher who quit, I want to implore everyone to stand up and be a part of doing what is right for children. Our future depends on it.

Lyles lives in Waynesville with her husband and two teenagers and works as an Outreach Librarian for Fontana Regional Library.

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