34-year-old's Facebook post on why she quit teaching goes viral: 'The filter comes off now'

As teachers across the country have quit their professions, one former Virginia educator set the record straight about her job — unfiltered.
“I think it's easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay,” wrote Jessica Gentry in a June 13th Facebook post. “...That ain't me. Let me tell you why those who ooze passion for teaching are leaving the occupation like their hair is on fire...”

Of her kindergarten students, Gentry tells Yahoo Lifestyle she loved “seeing their faces light up when they came into the classroom and hearing their excited chatter and watching new friendships form.”
When the 34-year-old got into teaching, she hoped to create a safe space for her students to make mistakes, learn, and grow. But, she didn’t realize that would come at a cost to herself— and her 6-year-old daughter.
“When kids are struggling with home life, poverty, abuse... the things they do and say— it takes a toll on you mentally. I carried all of that home with me,” Gentry tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She became short-fused and checked out at home and had to temporarily take medication for depression and anxiety due to the stress of her job.
“My daughter deserved better. I was causing her trauma by taking on theirs,” she says. “I knew I couldn't keep bringing the worst ‘me’ home to the ones I loved.”
After 12 years of teaching, Gentry recently put in her resignation with the Harrisonburg City Public Schools. But Gentry made sure she wasn’t going quietly.
In her raw Facebook post with more than 249,000 likes and 204,000 shares, Gentry explained that large class sizes made it difficult to give students proper attention, and cited inadequate parenting, an over-emphasis on technology, a “customer service mindset,” and little support for teachers. Seeing her 21 students come to school in dirty clothes, some from chaotic homes, was tough.
“I finally realized... you can't save them all. You can't even help 21 [students] if you aren't healthy yourself,” she wrote. “If your mental and physical health aren't a focus, you aren't even good for the 21.”
While Gentry says her school understood her decision to leave, the district superintendent has “taken issue with the notion that teachers are leaving the profession as if their hair is on fire.”
“Ms. Gentry may have her own reasons for making that assertion. Teaching is the noblest profession in the world, and the vast majority of teachers are dedicated to the vital work of empowering the next generation,” superintendent Michael Richards tells Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement. “Teaching is definitely a very challenging profession, and it is not for everyone.”
The president of Harrisonburg Education Association tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while educators know that it is a challenging district, due to children experiencing language barriers, and for some, trauma, “most of my colleagues and I love it here.”
Gentry tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “We wipe children’s tears, apply bandages to their wounds, and guide them to become successful members of society. Mistakes will be made, but we lead from our hearts. So respect us, partner with us, communicate with us...we are all working toward a common goal.”
34-year-old's Facebook post on why she quit teaching goes viral: 'The filter comes off now' 34-year-old's Facebook post on why she quit teaching goes viral: 'The filter comes off now' Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on June 23, 2019 Rating: 5

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