The Children are Being Left Behind

After graduating college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My mother, being deep in the know at Ohio State, advised me to go to Career Services. So, I scheduled a meeting to plan life after college. The meeting went super well. The woman that I talked to told me several options for my English degree. Teach for America, AmeriCorps, the Kipp Fellowship and many more. After the meeting, I did my own research and fell in love with one of the opportunities. The mission, the values and most of all, the opportunity for growth.

My initial interview was on my birthday. Feb 16th, 2023. By March, I had gladly accepted the position as 3rd Grade Fellow. The Fellowship is an opportunity to shadow a lead teacher and learn the ropes. When August came around, it was time to start professional development. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I waltzed right in ready to learn and lead.

Since the beginning, I took my role seriously. I would internalize lessons and meet with other fellows to make sure we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing. Not shortly after, I began to see the underbelly.

The pandemic really did some damage. The kids that I work with were in pre-k when the pandemic started. Pre-k is the time where kids learn social skills, fine motor skills, listening skills, cognitive development and more. All of these skills were either taught at home or not at all. Over the next three years, these babies were neglected by the government and the education system. Now, when it’s time to be in a classroom setting with other students, they struggle. They struggle to pay attention, get along and get work done.

Teachers did and are doing everything they can. Teachers are calling home, no one is answering. Teachers are staying after school, no one is coming. Teachers are screaming, and no one is listening.

Second graders are telling their teachers to “fuck off”, third graders are throwing desks, chairs and pencils, students are talking back to teachers, kids are throwing tantrums and ripping signs off walls. 

Of course, it's not every student. There are some children who want to learn and who are giving it their all. My heart deflates for them because I can't imagine trying to learn in such a chaotic environment. Similarly, I am deflated because it is difficult to teach and lead in such a chaotic environment. 

That is why I am saddened to say that my last day teaching will be this Thursday.

I did all I could. I gave all I had. 

I have some personal stuff going on so maybe I’m just being overly sensitive but with there only being 25 days left of the school year, that should be enough to tell that I have nothing left to give. 

These students deserve the world, even the ones that struggle, and I can’t give it to them when my own world is shattering into pieces. 

A gazillion kudos to the teachers who have done this for several years and who will continue to thrive in this profession. I pray that the burden becomes lighter and the light becomes brighter, for the students, teachers and everyone in between. 

Love and Light Always,

J <3

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