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Former Elementary School Teacher Lists All Of The Reasons Why She Left The Profession — 'I Came Home Empty'

Photo: @daniellexstyles / TikTok
Danielle teacher who left profession

Being a public school educator comes with a whole slew of struggles and challenges that most people who've never had to work in that profession will never be able to understand. It's the reason why there is a teacher shortage happening in the United States right now, as many people are finding it difficult to keep up with the demands of teaching.

Such was the case for a woman named Danielle, who cleverly put together a PowerPoint presentation to explain to her TikTok followers why she had decided that being a public school teacher wasn't something that served her anymore.

She explained that multiple issues were happening at the school she worked for.

In Danielle's video, she made sure to preface with a disclaimer that her reasons for leaving teaching weren't meant to come off as being disrespectful and that her only goal is to bring awareness to why so many public school educators are feeling stressed and burnt out.

Throughout the eight-minute-long clip, Danielle goes through her PowerPoint presentation with all of the numerous issues that were happening at the elementary school she worked for.

For example, she explained that there were a plethora of instances where students were getting into physical fights with other students and even teachers. To make matters worse, there were no consequences administered for their bad behavior.



Danielle recalled being treated terribly by the school's administration, and even being blamed for the outbursts that would happen in her class from her students. At one point, Danielle was even told that her classroom wasn't a "welcome place" by the higher-ups.

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"When staff asked for support it was often discounted," she said. "Anytime that I asked for support [I was told] it was my fault and I was doing something wrong." 

Danielle was even told that she should stop talking about her mental health on her personal social media accounts for fear that it would make the students' parents see her differently. The former elementary school teacher listed multiple other concerning things that would happen at the school, ranging from students being unruly and not being disciplined to other staff members not being given the proper resources to handle anything.

She admitted that she was often 'scared' for her life every single day that she walked into the elementary school.

One of the biggest reasons why Danielle chose to leave the teaching profession altogether was the amount of fear that she would have just from stepping foot into the school building every morning.

"The biggest thing of all was being on edge every single that I walked into the building. I was scared for my life in case something happened. I was scared for the words of students and administration, and I did not feel safe coming into my work environment, and when I shared that I got dismissed."

Danielle said that after she brought up her feelings and concerns, she was told by the higher-ups at her school that she was only being "dramatic" and it wasn't serious at all. All of the issues she mentioned in her presentation were backed up by the fact that 30% of the staff ended up leaving after the 2022/2023 school year.

"When people say that they're teachers, you do not understand what goes on behind closed doors," Danielle continued. "You think you wake up in the morning, teach kids, and go home. I poured my heart out to my students every day, I loved them every day that they walked in. Working my butt off to promote kindness, to teach the kids how to be good human beings all while we as staff are getting [expletive] on by parents, administration, and other students."

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She pointed out that all of this took a toll on her mental health and she would return back home empty, which wasn't fair to her and all of the energy she was pouring into her students.

"My mental health was awful," she acknowledged. "I love my students, if you know me, you know I love teaching but it's not enough. The reason why I want to share is because this is an issue with education as a whole. Yes, there are good schools. Yes, there is good administration, but at the root of everything, there is a problem and it needs to be fixed.”

Danielle's experience is universal as more teachers continue to leave their professions.

According to a study from the American Educational Research Association, teachers in the U.S. are 40% more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety in comparison with healthcare workers, 20% more likely than office workers, and 30% more likely than workers in other professions like farming and military.

Due to the mental toll that teaching has taken on people, around 55% of educators are thinking about leaving the field earlier than planned, per the National Education Association's survey. Eighty-eight percent of members in the association admitted to seeing more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Danielle's decision to leave the public school education system and the plethora of reasons that sparked the choice in the first place only highlight the pervasive challenges that many other teachers in this country are facing, especially now that another school year has already begun. Her story is not an isolated experience and is incredibly alarming because of how valuable teachers are.

The future of education truly hinges on addressing these fundamental issues and creating an environment where teachers feel safe, welcomed, and valued so that they can in turn provide the best education to children.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.