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Why a Kindergarten Teacher Quit Mid-Year

Why a Kindergarten Teacher Quit Mid-Year


Written by an anonymous kindergarten teacher

A hand goes up across the classroom, fingers wiggling while one of my kindergarteners waits for me to call on them.

“ I need a glue stick.”

I smile and nod as I walk across the classroom to the carefully divided drawers of supplies. Three drawers down, a lone glue stick rolls with the opening drawer. I test it out but it’s dry.

“Sorry, buddy. You’ll have to wait for a friend to finish.”

“You have to go to the store again?”

“No, not this time,” I respond as I look around the room.

One glue stick for every five kids.

26 days to go. Most years, this would mean the start of the alphabet countdown, which involves fun activities and crafts corresponding to the letters of the alphabet that we have worked to learn meticulously this year. This meant constant trips to Target and Michael’s for more construction paper, prizes, and, of course, glue stickers. Not this year.

“We’re in it for the outcome, not the income,” teachers have claimed over the years as they poured their paychecks back into the classroom in order to give their students the best chance at success. Themed decorations were painstakingly made, funds desperately raised for adaptive seating or more books, and garage sales were picked through to make a classroom a home for the little humans who walk through the doors each August.

As the pandemic raged, kids struggled, and demands climbed, but I pushed through. With each demand given to me, I carefully stacked them onto the pile and kept climbing. Teachers banded together to support each other as students’ emotional health plummeted, and they took it out on us.

They ripped down bulletin boards that were purchased from the store just a few days prior. They broke toys from the new Melissa & Doug set that I shamefully begged my friends and family to support on DonorsChoose. I tried desperately to close the gaps left by uninvolved or exhausted parents and two years of virtual school. Homework never came back completed or sat in their take-home folders for days or weeks. Phone calls went unanswered, and voicemails weren’t returned.

The standardized testing came back even though no one was ready for it. And teachers continued to pour their hearts, energy, and wallets into their classrooms.

Yesterday, something in me finally broke under the mountain that had been building for years. It started with a trash can, knocked over in anger by a small child who has been struggling to learn how to manage their emotions all year. I looked at the half-eaten yogurt and warm lunch milk spilled out over the floor.

Next, the student kicked a bin of materials on their way out the door to stomp down the hall. I watched as the liquid mess from the trash seeped into the materials I had just finished creating that morning. A month’s worth of lesson plans and materials were destroyed just like that. Cardstock, laminate, printer ink, Velcro, and binders – all were purchased with my own money and were now destroyed. At that moment, I realized it was over for me.

I stayed an extra three hours after school, and the next morning, I was there two hours early. Every single item that had been purchased with my own money or created in my free time went into the bed of my truck. Nothing else that belonged to me would be broken by a student.

The education system is broken. The students are broken. The teachers are breaking. And after so many years doing the job that I love and worked so hard for, I am walking away. I am worth too much to continue having my heart broken every day.

If you are thinking about leaving mid-year, here are three steps you should take before walking out the door. And if you need help crafting your resignation letter, we can help with that too!

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Jane Morris

Jane Morris is the pen name of an ex-teacher who would really like to tell you more about herself but is worried awful administrators will come after her for spilling their dirty little secrets. Jane has taught English for over 15 years in a major American city. She received her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from a well-known university and her M.A. in Writing and Literature from an even fancier (and more expensive) university. As a professional queen of commiseration turned published author, Jane’s foremost passion in life is to make people laugh through the tears.

She has written several highly acclaimed books unpacking the reality of teaching and life inside the school system. You can view her full library of works here.