DSM: I Quit!


Tammy Inman (tammyinman@hotmail.com)
Wed, 28 Mar 2001 13:59:29 -0500


Several years ago I decided to become a teacher in public schools. These
were my reasons:

1. I thought I could find the problems in public schools and then come up
with solutions. I would reform public education in America!

2. I thought that I would run my classroom differently so that my students
would have a taste of the freedom they would normally never get in public
school.

3. Having been in the school system all my life, leaving it seemed too
frightening, despite all its faults.

This is what I found out:

1. I found that most problems in public schools are instrinsic parts of the
system. I also found that school reform in the public arena requires so
many compromises that it is doomed to failure before it begins.

2. I wanted to run my classroom differently but since my salary and job
depended upon students taking and passing tests, I felt pressured to teach
to those tests. Besides, how can you realistically give freedom to thirty
five students trapped in your class without losing your sanity (or at least
your hearing)? I tried to rationalize that at least they had more freedom
in my class in others but I wasn't fooling myself and I especially wasn't
fooling them.

3. Staying in the school system now frightens me more than leaving. More
and more I find myself behaving in the same conrolling manner as other
teachers. An example is when I tell a student he can't use the bathroom and
realize that my only reason is because I don't think he has to go badly
enough.

So I'm finally going to do what I should have done four years ago. I'll
look for a position at a school I believe in, or I'll do something else
altogether.

I share this because I know that there are some prospective teachers on this
list, and I think they should have fair warning about what they are getting
into. Also, most of my friends and family are sad that I am "giving up" on
such a noble profession, and I figure I probably won't get that reaction
from most of you.

Tammy
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