Here’s why teachers run away like their ‘hair is on fire,’ former VA educator says

A former Virginia teacher explained on Facebook why people in the profession leave their jobs.
A former Virginia teacher explained on Facebook why people in the profession leave their jobs.

A former teacher says her “mental and physical health was in jeopardy” before she left her job in a Virginia kindergarten classroom.

Facebook user Jessica Gentry explained her thoughts last week in a Facebook post, which received 189,000 shares as of Wednesday.

“I think it’s easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay,” Gentry wrote. “It was easier for my former HR director to believe it was because I found something that I was more passionate about.”

But Gentry says other factors are prompting teachers to get out of their jobs “like their hair is on fire.”

Former teacher Elizabeth Walen describes how a shift in education - away from individualized learning and towards test preparation - made her work as a teacher unpleasant.

Schools increase their demands on teachers at a time when some kids have never been told “no,” she said on Facebook. She said kids are misbehaving while parents focus on their electronics and work commitments.

As a teacher, Gentry said she knew students should have gotten more than their teachers could offer.

“We become emotional eaters,” she said. “We become couch potatoes to zone out. We become so short fused that our families suffer.”

She decided to leave behind her work benefits and her 21 students so she could encourage other moms to be present for their children, her Facebook post said.

“I may have left the classroom... but I am still advocating for those kiddos,” Gentry said. “It just looks different now.”

Gentry made the post after she quit working for Harrisonburg City Public Schools, WHSV reports.

“Many of Ms. Gentry’s concerns have been squarely on my radar for some time,” Michael Richards, district superintendent, told WHSV in a statement. “I have plans to address these and other concerns here in Harrisonburg, where I started as superintendent only a month ago.”