On Facebook, a teacher named Wendy Bradshaw took to the social network on October 23 at 12:51 p.m. to explain why the woman out of Willow Oak, Florida, was resigning from the school district. It’s a Facebook post that gained more than 71,000 likes in that time, and has gained national attention.
As noted on Today, more than 11,000 comments have flowed in on Facebook beneath Wendy’s viral “I quit” manifesto, with folks weighing in on Bradshaw’s thoughts about the school system. Written to the school board of Polk County, Florida, Wendy’s resignation letter first and foremost explains how much the teacher loves teaching. Bradshaw writes that although she loves how much her students eyes come alive when they learn something new, Wendy hates it when they cry and slump in defeat at concepts that are too difficult for them to learn.
“I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.”
The problem comes into play, explains Wendy, when misguided educational reforms rob students of the correct level of education. Early childhood education should be based on age-appropriate learning, not other political aims. These aims aren’t only ineffective, but they can be harmful for the learning process, writes Bradshaw. Wendy tells about watching her students cry trying to figure out poorly written tests and trying to use old computer equipment.
Some of those kids don’t just cry, but they act up as well. They’d rather be labeled as bad instead of stupid, writes the teacher whose Facebook post has struck a chord with teachers everywhere. Giving such kids a five-minute break to get away from a difficult learning concept could result in disciplinary action for the teacher, writes Wendy.
Most of all, Bradshaw writes that becoming a mother on June 8, 2015, changed her life when Wendy gave birth to her daughter and realized she didn’t want to bring her little girl into the same school system when it was time for her to enter kindergarten in five years.
Wendy’s letter has folks talking about the things Bradshaw wrote, with the Ph.D. urged not to give up the good fight, but to fight against Common Core and other factors that can make education difficult for teachers.
Meanwhile, Bradshaw is being applauded for speaking her mind, and opening a dialogue that could help improve the conditions about which she writes. Already, President Obama announced educational changes for 2016.
[Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]