April 6, 2021

Whitney Ballard: We Can Prevent Good Teachers From Leaving the Classroom and It Starts With Respect

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Whitney Ballard is a writer, teacher, and mom advocate in Alabama. In this post from BoredTeachers.com, she offers her own solution to the loss of teachers in schools across the US. It’s not complicated:

I love my job. I do. I love greeting my students each morning at my classroom door. I love seeing the lightbulb moments when they seem to grasp a new concept. I love what I do. I love who I do it for—but there’s something that has made me question whether I will return to this classroom I love next school year.

It’s the lack of respect. I’ve tried to ignore it. I’ve tried to simply wish it would get better and pray about it. However, at some point, I started realizing that it may never get better. In the four years I’ve been a teacher, I haven’t witnessed the lack of respect improve in the slightest; instead, it’s been a steady decline. I’m just not sure I am capable of coping with it for the next 26 years, so I’ve been forced to consider other options.

I’ve had this ongoing list in my head of all the things that could be done to drastically improve the situation and convince amazing, qualified teachers on the brink of leaving to stay. If those making the rules and dishing out the respect (or lack thereof) would listen to me, I’d tell them:

1. Respect our time.

Many of us have kids of our own; we’d like to spend our evenings with them instead of grading the papers we couldn’t grade during our “planning” periods because we had to watch someone else’s class last minute. Then, are we paid for those hours? Of course not. It hurts to see employees in other jobs being paid for working overtime when it’s expected teachers should often work for free.

You can read the rest of her list here. The post is not a new one, but the message is well worth revisiting. 

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