Teachers may be educating the future of America, but they are often underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked.
Julie Marburger, a sixth-grade teacher at Cedar Creek Intermediate School in Texas, went viral after she aired her frustrations with students, parents and administrators on Facebook with this scathing post:
I left work early today after an incident with a parent left me unable emotionally to continue for the day. I have already made the decision to leave teaching at the end of this year, and today, I don't know if I will make it even that long. Parents have become far too disrespectful, and their children are even worse. Administration always seems to err on the side of keeping the parent happy, which leaves me with no way to do the job I was hired to do...teach kids.
I am including photos that I took in my classroom over the past two days. This is how my classroom regularly looks after my students spend all day there. Keep in mind that many of the items damaged or destroyed by my students are my personal possessions or I purchased myself, because I have NO classroom budget. I have finally had enough of the disregard for personal and school property and am drawing a line in the sand on a myriad of behaviors that I am through tolerating. Unfortunately, one parent today thought it was wrong of me to hold her son accountable for his behavior and decided to very rudely tell me so, in front of her son.
Marburger included these photos of her classroom in disarray, including torn up text books, broken bookshelves and a piece of chewed-up gum stuck to a window.
Report cards come out later this week, and I have nearly half of my students failing due to multiple (8-10) missing assignments. Most of these students and their parents haven't seemed to care about this over the past three months, though weekly reports go out, emails have been sent and phone calls have been attempted. But now I'm probably going to spend my entire week next week fielding calls and emails from irate parents, wanting to know why I failed their kid. My administrator will demand an explanation of why I let so many fail without giving them support, even though I've done practically everything short of doing the work for them. And behavior in my class will deteriorate even more. I am expecting this, because it is what has happened at the end of every other term thus far.
Marburger explained that it was her dream to be a teacher, but in just two short years, the job has beaten her down so much that she is ready to call it quits.
I have never heard of a profession where people put so much of their heart and soul into their job, taking time and resources from their home and family, and getting paid such an insultingly measly amount. Teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met, yet they get treated so disrespectfully from all sides. Most parents can't stand to spend more than a couple hours a day with their kid, but we spend 8 with yours and 140 others just like him. Is it too much to ask for a little common courtesy and civil conversation?
It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to have a classroom of my own, and now my heart is broken to have become so disillusioned in these short two years. This is almost all I hear from other teachers as well, and they are leaving the profession in droves. There is going to be a teacher crisis in this country before too many more years has passed unless the abuse of teachers stops.
In the end, Marburger offered a little advice to parents:
People absolutely HAVE to stop coddling and enabling their children. It's a problem that's going to spread through our society like wildfire. It's not fair to society, and more importantly, is not fair to the children to teach them this is okay. It will not serve them towards a successful and happy life.
Many will say I shouldn't be posting such things on social media...that I should promote education and be positive. But I don't care anymore. Any passion for this work I once had has been wrung completely out of me. Maybe I can be the voice of reason. THIS HAS TO STOP.
At time of publication, Marburger's Facebook post has been shared over 350,000 times, and garnered tons of support from fellow educators who sympathize with her position.
"This is exactly why my wife walked away from finishing her teaching degree. You'll have my respect if you take a stand and tell your administration that you aren't coming back tomorrow or ever again. Someone has to draw the line and start making the statement that spineless administrators are going to have to stop kissing entitled parents asses," wrote one person.
"I’m with you girl. You read my mind. I was in the exact same shoes yesterday. I left in tears too and most kids saw me. Many of them were sympathetic but some cheered and said they were happy i was leaving as I walked by crying. I, like you spend about 20 hours outside my contract time a week doing everything I can to be the best teacher possible and spend hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket every year to have the supplies I need to give these kids the best educational experience possible," posted another. "I thought I could make it another 7 weeks. But after yesterday I’m not sure. I’m taking today and tomorrow off to figure out my options. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Please do the same for me!"
Right now, teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are striking to demand higher pay and increased education funding. According to VOA News, Oklahoma’s largest teachers union has called for a $10,000 pay raise for educators and an increase of $75 million in state education funding. In addition to seeking a pay raise, Kentucky educators were also protesting changes to their pension.
Teachers in Arizona are also demanding a 20% pay raise, and are considering a strike to press their demands.
Last month, teachers in West Virginia walked off the job for about a week to protest. The educators eventually won their demand for a 5% increase in pay.