The following is a submission from an educator as part of the Your Soapbox feature, which explores the experiences of educators in North Carolina through their own words. Check out more first person stories here, or if you are an educator, submit your own.
Wanting to leave
I came to North Carolina from the California School System where I worked for many years as a substitute and then as a full-time Social Studies teacher.
Each June during the decade of 2000 – 2010, teachers at my school would get a pink slip, then find out one week before school started that we still had a job. The stress was too much, and North Carolina had been actively recruiting me for several years.
I picked the Asheville area and was unable to pick up a contract there, so ended up at a middle school in Pembroke, NC.
I am appalled at the amount of work we have to do besides preparing meaningful lessons, assessments and activities. After the first shock though, I was unprepared for no raise, more hours, illnesses that I have never suffered before, meetings, game duty, lunch duty, hall duty, without a break, all day, every day, PTA nights that make a 15 hour or so day four times a year.
I have a classroom with no windows, no phone and no two way intercom. I am left on my own to break up fights between 13-year-old boys and girls who are hell-bent on beating the cream cheese out of each other.
The state of North Carolina is driving teachers away and, all that will be left will be the people who will be willing to accept the low pay and crazy hours.
The final straw was when I was informed that the State has designated I cannot give a grade lower than 65% in my classes, even if the child has a 30%!
I am applying in places where rent is still low but pay much higher. While I love my kids, NCDPI has no idea what they are doing. These children will be completely unprepared for reality, for college and for life in general where you are not given everything but have to work and earn everything you get.
-Middle School Teacher Robeson County