As a teacher, do you ever feel that you’ll one day reach a breaking point with red tape? For one Massachusetts kindergarten teacher, that day arrived last February, when she realized her passion for the job had been swallowed up by the waves of paperwork and assessment training that seemed to grow every year. After 20 years at the same school district, she sent a resignation letter that regretfully explained the difficulty she faced in increasing testing and data collection while still focusing on truly useful early childhood education.
As a veteran teacher, Susan Sluyter had seen her fair share of new training programs, assessments and teaching methods. Eventually, though, she felt the increasingly rigorous kindergarten standards and the requirements for endless teacher development became too much. In her words, “I reached the place last year where I began to feel I was part of a broken system that was causing damage to those very children I was there to serve.” With two decades of experience behind her, it’s easy to see how Ms. Sluyter viewed the constant movement towards more data and measurable progress as obscuring the kids’ education, the true point of the job.
If you’re a teacher who works in a school system where it feels like you’re running in circles, you should certainly read Sluyter’s full resignation letter and explanation over at The Washington Post‘s website. Even if you’re not in a situation like hers, the letter still offers great insight into the world of early education and the ways schools may be failing their students, even as they strive harder than ever to measure their success.