As I entered my 23rd year of teaching in North Carolina – in traditional public schools as well as a charter school and in all regions of our great state – I realized that teaching was not the job I had signed up for.
Along with my N.C. certification for grades K-6 as well as reading grades K-12, I also hold my National Board Certification in Literacy, so I had put my heart and soul into the profession. I was not just sitting stagnant waiting for retirement.
But I did what some think unspeakable. Yes, I quit halfway 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. But here’s 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 felt 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 North Carolinians to stand up and be a part of doing what is right for children. Our future depends on it.
Deanna Lyles lives in Waynesville.