Deciding to resign from teaching and writing that heart-wrenching teacher resignation letter is a very large and difficult decision. Many teachers spend years pondering whether they should leave teaching or stick it out. In fact, Teacher Misery has talked about The Guilt and Stigma of Leaving Teaching on this very blog.
After a teacher suffered severe brain damage after being attacked by a student, the district told her to come right back to work or quit.
The following is a real teacher resignation letter (with names and locations redacted) sent by a public school teacher to district personnel.
Teacher Resignation Letter
Dear District Personnel,
Please accept this as an official notice of my resignation. As you know, following my assault by a student, I have been undergoing continued medical complications. Contrary to the worker’s comp assessment, my physician does not believe returning to a full-time position such as the one offered to me would be in my best interest. I am disappointed by the way (the district) has supported me after this life-changing injury and I was hoping to return to work. Yet the options you presented during our previous meeting included: returning to work without any accommodation due to my injury, my resignation, or termination.
As you know, on October 2, 2019, I was assaulted by a student while teaching. Those words are startling to me, even this many months later. I hold no animosity towards the student but I do believe as an employee, I should have been protected during the course of my duties. I sustained a cervical sprain that was so severe the physician at urgent care initially believed my neck was broken. The violent nature of the student shaking my head caused a severe concussion with damage to both sides of my brain. This injury created a catastrophic loss of my physical, mental, personal, and financial independence.
Prior to this injury, I was a teacher who could be depended on for extra duty, to monitor after-school activities, community service, or an after-school club. I served on multiple committees, as a mentor to new teachers, and for many years I was the lead teacher on my campuses. I was able to maintain all of these responsibilities in combination with my regular teaching duties and outside commitments. During my time as a teacher, I have earned two Master’s Degrees in both Educational Psychology and Counseling/Psychology. They required taking classes at night and on weekends. In order to better support myself and my family, throughout my career, I have also maintained a variety of second jobs.
I have proudly worked in special education for 19 years. Throughout most of my career, I have chosen to work with the most challenging students. I have felt honored to be part of a special journey for so many students and their families in my community. I believe my record speaks for itself. I have always powered through, even on my most challenging days, since the children I work with have challenges every day.
Physically, the pain level I normally experience never drops below a 7 and often increases to 10. I experience very severe nausea and vomiting on a frequent basis, there is a constant ringing in my ears and a permanent sense of dizziness. I am so sensitive to sounds and light that I cannot do simple tasks that I once enjoyed such as watching television or listening to music. Unfortunately, even with medications, the only way I feel any sense of relief is by lying down, which I was encouraged to do by my medical providers. This recommended treatment led to the unfortunate side effect of being diagnosed with pulmonary embolism six months after the attack. Due to the assault, I have started on a variety of new medications, all with varying price tags and side effects. These add to my feelings of grogginess and lethargy.
Mentally, I am often confused, unable to track even simple situations, and I have significant memory impairment and depression. I am unable to complete simple tasks that require sustained mental focus, even those I previously enjoyed such as crocheting, crafting, movie watching, writing, or reading. Something as simple as writing this letter had to be done using software so I didn’t have to look at the computer screen and it had to be done in 5- to 10-minute increments.
I cannot stress enough the isolation of this experience. It takes so much effort for me to try to communicate with the outside world by screen (texting/email) or the cognitive load of a conversation: the attention, responsiveness, emotional regulation, and thought formulation are so difficult when you have limited stamina. Sometimes a phone call can take away all the energy I need to get through the day.
Friends and co-workers have described me as a high-energy, active, and extremely articulate person. Now I struggle in conversation to find the words that were once so easily attainable. Prior to the injury, I was a fearless traveler, often driving across the country by myself. Now, I can barely drive to and from medical appointments in town independently. I am completely dependent on others for out-of-town medical appointments and I have completely abandoned any form of recreational travel.
Financially, I am my sole provider. As I mentioned previously, I also routinely worked multiple jobs. These have all stopped. I also have mountains of medical debt that has not been covered but are related to this claim. I am terrified of what the future holds as I am confined to my dark, quiet house alone instead of being a contributing member of society.
I have the training and experience to have taken a number of different career paths. I chose to return to the classroom. I chose to return to the district I grew up in. I chose to work with the students who I know in the community and love. These choices were made based on the foolish idea that my community would support me as well. The hardships I face are directly related to the student assault that happened while doing my job. A job that I love. A job that was my identity. A job that was stolen from me due to poor choices from my supervisors. This entire situation was preventable. I spoke up, my colleagues spoke up, nothing was done. Now, instead of addressing the issue, you are choosing to dismiss the problem.
I am disappointed by the way this district has supported me during this life-changing injury and hopeful return to work. Given the “choices” I was offered, I have no alternative other than to offer my resignation at this time.
Resignation Letter From a Teacher
Have you written a teacher resignation letter to your admin recently? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below, or sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share it with the Teacher Misery team.
This letter was submitted to Teacher Misery, but the author has requested to remain anonymous.
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