DeKalb teacher: If you want good teachers to stay in your school, please let them know

Mike Ritter/AJC

Mike Ritter/AJC

A DeKalb teacher sent me this note, which I thought was worth sharing here:

I am an occasional commenter on your blog “Get Schooled,” but a frequent reader. Many, many parents and teachers I know follow it as well. Since I teach in DeKalb, you realize how I cannot use my real name…I sure wish that could change. I’m counting down the number of teaching days I have left until I can escape. The decline in morale is crushing and this has been a crushing week. I’m not sure how you select what letters you print, but I wrote this up after waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep.

There is a lot of griping and hand wringing by parents and teachers alike on this blog, as well as an ample supply of teacher bashing. However, the suggestions of constructive positive actions to be taken are few and far between. It’s no secret that teacher morale is low and, in DeKalb, keeps getting lower with every news cycle.

If there was a way to impact the work environment where your children go to school, for your kids’ teachers, would you be on board?

Teacher appreciation week is in May, but teachers can sure use a boost at other times, like now. Many teachers have a file for special notes from parents or students, and they keep it for those days where it’s so bad they just want to throw in the towel. They can go to that folder and read some notes and recall memories that remind them that yes, they are making a difference. I have such a file in my middle school file cabinet, and I sure wish it were thicker!

The small act of reading these notes feeds me, energizes me, and keeps me going. The energy may not last, but it carries me through the moment, and many of us could use to be energized right now.

Yes, Valentines Day is coming, and we will get all kids of chocolates….thank you, but half of us are on diets…save your money and do something infinitely better.

At any job, when you really bust it to get the job done, sacrifice family time, and finish with flying colors, wouldn’t you want to be acknowledged? Trust me – teachers don’t get “attaboys”  in the year end review when everyone gets the same “satisfactory” or “adequate” review. When was the last time you wrote a note to let a teacher know what they meant in your child’s life, college, or career?

Did the school year end, and you thought about that teacher again? Are there teachers you really hope keep teaching in your school, so that the younger siblings can be in their class?

If your kid has ever had a memorable teacher or an outstanding year in school, even if it was five years ago, pick up a pen and write it. (Email will do, too, but real paper notes are so unexpected, so shocking, so personal.) We do remember your child. Next week (in DeKalb) is the deadline for teachers to submit paperwork asking to transfer schools. Your note might make the difference between a signed contract and walking away.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

97 comments Add your comment


January 26th, 2013
9:18 am

Our children are our future.

And yet, school districts like DeKalb seem bent on creating the worst possible environment for teachers.

I wonder why that is?

reality check

January 26th, 2013
9:22 am

Being a teacher has devolved into one of the worst jobs in existence. You have to cope with low pay, long hours and unreasonable demands from administrators and parents and criticism from all directions. I don’t see why anybody would do it. My wife is a special education teacher in Cobb. She is highly qualified and her performance reviews could not be any better. But she deserves a life and can’t really have one being a teacher. After May she is done. I am sure her principle doesn’t have a clue that is going to happen, but frankly she doesn’t seem to have a clue about anything.

Schools have more applicants than positions now, but I believe that is going to change. The work conditions are worse than horrible

English Teacher

January 26th, 2013
9:24 am

“Trust me – teachers don’t get “attaboys” in the year end review when everyone gets the same “satisfactory” or “adequate” review.”

I am sure there will be several commenters who work in the private sector who will say that doesn’t happen for them either (read: quit your whining public school teacher), or will turn it on the writer and say perhaps they don’t deserve the praise, or some variation thereof. While it’s true that many in several different professions don’t receive the praise deserved, these days no one is quite as vilified as the teacher. I still do not understand all the hate and general disrespect, and I don’t expect to. What I hope is that those comments are in the minority and readers of this column recognize there is a real and relevant problem with teacher morale – and the causes of this problem are at the root of our current educational mess. I agree that some teachers come across as whiny – I even roll my eyes at some of the comments – but that does not change the fact that MOST teachers I know and have worked with do exemplary jobs and truly care that all of their students are learning and are cared for. I have seen exceptions to this and if your child has had the unfortunate consquence of being the student of such a teacher, I am sorry, but it does not negate the fact that teachers are impossibly overworked, undervalued, and often treated like children. We are expected to be educated professionals but are rarely treated that way. The mixed message will have devestating consequences on education – heck, it already is.

Proud Teacher

January 26th, 2013
9:44 am

Administrators don’t necessarily want good teachers, they want puppets who turn out decent numbers, not good numbers nor excellent thinkers, but good numbers on the administrators’ score sheets.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

January 26th, 2013
9:58 am

This post is quite true. It may sound somewhat self-serving – after all, most people go to work each day and do their job without expecting praise – but I think for teachers, such a small thing can make a big impact. The denigration of our profession over the past few years had made it even more important that we occasionally hear a “job well done” from those we serve. These days, I often have a few parents start the school year already armed with preconceived negative notions about teachers and my job performance. Usually, they are new to the school and have nothing to judge me upon but the fact I am a teacher. For some parents, the first parent-teacher meet and greet has taken on a “gotcha” atmosphere, where I seem placed on the defensive almost immediately. It used to be, parents were very willing to work WITH me as a team to assure the best for their child. Now, too often, the parents seem to see me as an enemy to be conquered and subdued, as though I need to be FORCED to do the best for their child. Thankfully, the numbers are very small, but it is very disheartening to have someone assume the worst about me based solely upon the fact that I am a teacher. Now, not only do I need to do my job well, I need to win them over. Generally, I manage this fairly quickly, but it is still an additional stress I do not need. Nor am I the only teacher who has experienced this shift recently.

So, those small notes of appreciation can make a huge difference – especially on those days where you just feel overwhelmed. I know that parents have been pleased with my abilities. I have heard second hand that I have been spoken well of in the community, and have been mentioned among parents as an excellent teacher. “Singing your praises” has been bantered around a few times. It is always nice to hear such compliments, but it would be really elevating to receive such commendations directly from the parent, perhaps in the form of a letter I could pull out every year as a little pick me up when I am feeling a bit ragged around the edges.

Regardless, I will continue to do my best for my students every day. That is MY personal sacred trust – but I second the letter writer’s request. It YOU as a parent have thought about thanking a teacher for a job well done, go ahead and do so, TODAY – you just might make the difference between their staying in the profession or leaving. Believe me, we certainly hear from parents who are dissatisfied… maybe if we heard more from the ones that were happy, we wouldn’t feel so downtrodden.

Hey Teacher

January 26th, 2013
10:05 am

Amen English Teacher! As the dept chair of my school, morale is my BIGGEST concern. Not teaching the standards. Not discipline. Not class size. Not salary cuts. As a veteran teacher I’ve stopped looking for “attaboys”, but I’m going to give them to my dept so that someone is left to teach my own children when they get to high school. If we keep running off good teachers, there won’t be anyone left, and since no one else is supporting us we have to support each other.

[...] more: DeKalb teacher – Blogs – Atlanta Journal-Constitution Recommend on Facebook Buzz it up share via Reddit Tumblr it Tweet about it Subscribe to the [...]

Southern opinion

January 26th, 2013
10:21 am

Attaboy to all teachers (including myself)!

A Teacher, 2

January 26th, 2013
10:34 am

I am fortunate to have worked for three principals in a row (over 15 years) who go out of their way to thank all the teachers on staff early and often, and in many different ways. Performance reviews always end with a litany of things they have observed us doing that made a difference somewhere. All three principals, and their assistants for that matter, are glass half full people, and it shows. I am also in a community where the parents, and even the students, are not reluctant to speak or write words of thanks on a regular basis. It can be done, and, by the way, I am a high school teacher.

I also take this idea even a step further. Many parents and students are also denigrated by the general public, and even other educators. I try to write notes of appreciation to parents and students who are truly doing a good job. If a student is impecably polite above and beyond the rest of his/her peer group, I will let the parent know that I notice it. I had that happen just yesterday, when I ran into a parent of a former student. Tears formed in her eyes, and she told me about being a single mother who felt like she was swimming up stream all the time, and she was so happy that her son had left an impression on me. I have sent letters of commendation at the end of the school year for those students who worked their butts off all year and may have made a 78, which to them is clearly an “A”, though the 78 goes on the report card. Almost everyone who has received one of these letters is still in touch with me, and they never cease to glowingly tell me about their latest accomplishments. None of this costs anything, yet the effect lasts a lifetime in many cases.

If there are cynics reading this post, let me assure you that I am not into empty praise, either given or received. I wish we could somehow get the cynicism out of any discussions involving education!

Google "NEA" and "union"

January 26th, 2013
10:42 am

Anyone who has spent time as a K-12 teacher knows that the truly effective teachers among us aren’t much prone to the ceaseless griping on display daily in this blog.

They are women and men who are better matches for their chosen occupation.

I’ve always assumed that the whining on Get Schooled is the output of a very small group, working off of some teachers’ union Talking Points memo. Along with, of course, a few unemployables who will eventually tire of seeing their name “in print.”

Schools, like all other organizations, benefit from constant legitimate assessment, change and renewal within a competitive environment. Parental choice will one day add the missing ingredient to make it all possible.


January 26th, 2013
10:43 am

Welcome to the real world teachers. Out here in world, workers have to be on the clock eight hours, five days per week. Our salaries have been flat or reducing for over a decade.

We have no pensions.

We have no union to turn to.

We do not get paid if we take off two whole months in the summer and spring and fall breaks to be with our kids. We get two lousy weeks vacation.

There are times when hundreds of us at one location are all downsized and our jobs are moved overseas.

Our jobs give even less satisfaction than yours.

We are out here suffering because we applied but were not selected to be a teacher as you did. We are out here standing by to replace you if we get the chance.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

January 26th, 2013
10:51 am

Google @”Anyone who has spent time as a K-12 teacher knows that the truly effective teachers among us aren’t much prone to the ceaseless griping on display daily in this blog.”

Yeah. The good ones “know their place,” right? They keep their heads down and their mouths shut, let themselves get kicked in the teeth, and ask for more.

Wonder where I’ve heard that before?

Funny how asking for positive feedback from parents is considered “griping”.

“I’ve always assumed that the whining on Get Schooled is the output of a very small group, working off of some teachers’ union Talking Points memo. ”

Well, you know what they say about those who “assume”… :)

Pride and Joy

January 26th, 2013
11:09 am

The point the author was trying to make is that if you’ve had a good Dekalb teacher, write about it here on this blog.
When any employee/manager does a great job, I tell them but I also do something meaningful — I write a letter to their boss, a hard copy letter, something tangible. It’s difficult to ignore a hard copy letter sent by the US post office. Often those hard copy letters go into the employee’s personnel file and show up at evaluation time.
The author of this post makes a very good point — write a letter to the teacher and ALSO, make a copy for their principal.

Maureen Downey

January 26th, 2013
11:21 am

@Google, Not sure about your contention that talented teachers don’t gripe. The finest journalists I know across the country are also among the least content — they are well aware of the stresses on the industry and vocal in their concerns about how those stresses are being responded to by management. Many movements began with people derided as malcontents and complainers. I have done interviews with celebrated whistle blowers whose revelations changed industry policies and sometimes even saved lives. Yet, their initial complaints were demeaned as the rantings of disgruntled employees by their superiors.


January 26th, 2013
11:31 am

As a retired teacher, my heart breaks when I read this heartfelt letter. I have been in her place although it was a more positive arena. Sadly, the students and their parents from other cultures were far more likely to send positive thoughts and respect than families from local areas. As a society we continue to underappreciate the efforts of our teachers. That and the overload led to my earlier retirement.


January 26th, 2013
11:38 am

In the business world the better performers make more money. It’s ridiculous that the better teachers don’t get the same financial recognition and reward. We will continue to lose our best teachers until schools figure out how to make this happen. And once they start seeing this payoff, they won’t have to rely quite so much on attaboys to keep going, and maintain good morale

Google "NEA" and "union"

January 26th, 2013
11:44 am

Well, Maureen, journalists are famously out to “change the world.” And my contention is rather that our better teachers—as with productive employees in other industries— don’t gripe to the extent which so many of your regular column contributors do. Or so conveniently follow labor union talking points.

But then, your choice of topics is heavily skewed toward the teachers’ union viewpoint.

Pride and Joy

January 26th, 2013
11:55 am

There are still zero posts here describing a good teacher. Most of the posters here are teachers and most teachers are parents so surely many, if not all of the teachers here on this blog have a wonderful experience with at least one of their children’s teachers.
This blog is filled with complaints from teachers about their working enviornments, so why don’t we do as the author asks and write about some of those great teachers?
No one has to say who they are…just tell about the teacher, which school perhaps, which grade.
I have two teachers that made a wonderful difference in my life and one nurse.
I’ll start here.
My high school English teacher was wonderful to me. She often listened to me and mentored me during her planning period. Occassionally, we would just sit and talk in her office and she would buy me something sweet from the vending machine in the teacher’s lounge. She trusted me and cared about me and I love her dearly. We still keep in touch. It has been more than twenty years.

Maureen Downey

January 26th, 2013
11:56 am

@Google, If you see a teacher’s plea for a few kind words from parents as “the teachers’ union viewpoint,” you have, as my younger colleagues say, “jumped the shark.”


January 26th, 2013
11:58 am

No pension, pay flat or declining after 10 years, two weeks’ vacation (after 10 years), no job satisfaction….

No offense, but “dissatisfied people stuck for a decade in bad, low-paying, dead-end jobs” is not exactly the cohort that I am hoping my kids’ teachers is drawn from.

Especially if, in light of a topic earlier this week bemoaning low standards for prospective teachers, said people “applied but were not selected to be a teacher”.

Beverly Fraud

January 26th, 2013
11:58 am

“I’ve always assumed that the whining on Get Schooled is the output of a very small group, working off of some teachers’ union Talking Points memo.

Tinfoil hat much?


January 26th, 2013
12:07 pm

As a skinny, red-headed, freckle-faced, shy 10 year old, my 5th grade teacher was a miracle worker. She didn’t change my hair color (I wanted brown), or add 20 pounds to my skinny body, but she enveloped me with warmth and positive reinforcement. At the time, I felt like she chose “me” to be so kind to, but she was that way with all students. I think of her all the time and wish she were still alive for me to thank her (again). I personally keep in touch with 8 or 9 of my childrens’ former teachers in Colorado. My children were SO fortunate to have had them in their lives.

drew (former teacher)

January 26th, 2013
12:09 pm

I’ve been a “former teacher” for about five years now. I initially planned on getting back into it after a hiatus, but in light of the state of education (and my personal cynicism about it), I have no desire to return.

And I might not get the kudos I’d like to get in the “real world”, but at least I don’t get blamed for things beyond my control. I’ll take the real world over public education any day.

Maria says:
“We are out here suffering because we applied but were not selected to be a teacher as you did. We are out here standing by to replace you if we get the chance.”

So Maria, you’re a wannabe teacher who’s suffering because you were not “selected” to be a teacher? Hang in there girl…you’ve definitely got the whining part down. All you need is a few more competent teachers to leave, and you might get the chance to be part of the solution. Right? Good luck, and be careful what you ask for.


January 26th, 2013
12:17 pm

To Maria @10:43….
Whose fault is it that there are no pensions and unions to turn to? Why have we, as a society, allowed big business to reject these things? Why do we say it is ok for companies to profit billions and billions but not give back to those who actually are doing the work? Napoleon said “Soldiers win the battles, but generals get the credit.” We let them get away with it. I am not saying that we need to do away with capitalism, but perhaps we need to see that there can be a balance between profit motive in the corporate world and 1) investing in high quality public education for our youth, and 2) taking care of those who actually earn that profit.

English Teacher

January 26th, 2013
12:31 pm

@Marla: Several teachers (good ones to boot!) are not renewing their contracts at the end of this year. Use an alternative certification program and get on it – if you start now, you can probably start at the beginning of next school year. You must know, however, that most teachers work much longer than an 8 hour day and teachers in GA and most Southern states are not unionized.

Smoke Rise Mom

January 26th, 2013
1:43 pm

Thank you Tucker Middle School team 7-Tigers teachers. I want you to know that we feel blessed to have you teaching our daughter. Middle school is such a challenging time for our kids and I could never manage a classful of drama queens and kings who know more than we do. I don’t know why you do this especially in DeKalb County, but I am so thankful that you do.

Smoke Rise Mom

January 26th, 2013
2:00 pm

Thank you Kittredge Magnet School fourth grade Latitudes teachers. When our boys were accepted into the program last spring, I wasn’t sure it would be worth the pre-dawn journey up 285 every morning, but now I know it was the right thing to do. Our boys don’t have a favorite teacher or subject anymore because each of you are so good at what you do. They truly look forward to school everyday and are aware themselves of how much they are learning. Thank you for all you do despite the difficult environment of our school system.

10:10 am

January 26th, 2013
2:11 pm

As Marla alludes to, there are probably 10 or more qualified applicants out there waiting to take those teaching jobs some on this blog repeatedly (and theatrically) threaten “to leave.”

Legislators could help ensure that turnover of ineffective/chronically dissatisfied K-12 teachers becomes more rapid … and that applicants for those open teaching position then have the opportunity to show what they can do.

And then be recognized by grateful parents.

Rob Mason

January 26th, 2013
2:19 pm

My wife is head of Language Arts at Alcovy HIgh School. She has been a teacher in the Newton County School System for 17 years. I can not say or express how proud I am of her and the job that she does, the pride she takes in bettering herself, the department she heads but most of all, the difference she makes with her students. When we first began dating, we both stated that what gives us joy and makes us successful in our chosen careers is establishing relationships…..showing you care and being transparent. We’ve had many a conversation about the difficulties that a teacher must go through now. The grind of “benchmarks”, the ever changing landscape of teaching, parents who no longer “parent”, and a boat load of other obstacles that attack what a teacher really should or would like to be doing on a daily basis.
Jen is the varsity cheerleader coach for basketball at AHS. She not only wants her girls to cheer for their team, but she teaches them accountability, discipline, and to be young ladies.
She also works an after school program, writes grants for her school and is respected amount her peers.

To those of you who took the time to read this….I thank you. Support your teachers, invest in your school and by all means, tell your kids teachers GREAT JOB AND THANK YOU when it’s deserved. It’s easy to bash but the true depth of a person shows when they express their gratitude for those who serve.
My wife is Jennifer Mason and I am one PROUD and lucky man!! Thank you hon for being the kind, gracious difference maker that you are at your school!!!

frustrated APS mom

January 26th, 2013
3:30 pm

My 12 year old had four amazing teachers at his elementary school (first grade, third grade, fourth grade, and 5th grade Challenge). We took every opportunity to tell them how much we appreciated them and we told the principal, other parents, anyone who would listen. It wasn’t enough. All four of them are gone. One took early retirement, one moved to the Decatur system, and two just quit being teachers because they had taken all of the stress they could handle. By the time my youngest started kindergarten at the same school last year, morale was so low that you could cut the tension with a knife. After one year we bailed too. The teachers at our private school are a breath of fresh air.


January 26th, 2013
5:14 pm

If you make a job miserable for teachers, you make it miserable for students because teachers and students are inextricably linked in the same environment. What responsible parent would want to degrade the environment their child spends most of their time in?

As a business analogy, if you lower morale for your key personnel and your customers, you will see your business suffer sooner or later. The same is true of education. If you lower morale for your key personnel (that would be teachers), then you will see a decline in your return on investment which is student progress. What parent wants this?

big picture

January 26th, 2013
5:22 pm

I have talked to the teachers at my childrens’ schools over the past 5 years. There can be no doubt that morale in the school house is at an all time low! My kids have had average, below average, and exceeding good teachers. It is the latter who have left or have applications and the need to move on. To our teachers, my family is grateful for all that you do, before school, during school, and after school. You not only provide a strong educational basis for our family to use as a foundation in helping our kids grow, you care for my children when I am not there. I am sorry, as a taxpayer, that my money has been mis-spent, sent to provide wonderful chairs and salaries to the central office, while you are short on supplies, long on students, and exasperated by the constant hoops and obstacles you face (from that same central office) in getting your job done. Many of us know and are doing all that we can to shed light on the truth. Know also that we understand that you have your own families to feed, and we understand your need to prioritize as you look down the road.

To the poster who asked what makes a good teacher. To me, as a parent, a good teacher cares that EVERY child in a classroom progresses forward. It is clear that the powers that be, particularly in DeKalb county, are concerned with learning gaps – with specific focus on the lowest scores. A good teacher doesn’t limit his/her focus and conform to only the curriculum and benchmarks and daily paperwork requests from the central office. In the end, the good teacher helps a struggling reader – not by expecting less, but by expecting reasonably – by rewarding success and continuing to push small successes into big ones. They do not expect less, but provide strategies for children to learn more. A good teacher does not limit attention to only struggling students, leaving middle and top performers on their own; rather that teacher ensures that mid-level students are exposed to projects and topics that get them excited about learning and interested in succeeding and pushes top-level students to test their limits (not tutor their peers).

There are many good teachers, and we spend too little time talking about them. They are tired. Especially in Dekalb.

Teacher Reader

January 26th, 2013
6:04 pm

As a former teacher, I really am hearing teachers complain. Most professionals work more than 8 hours a day and work weekends to boot. Teachers are not alone in this regard. Most other professions have also had stagnate pay and EVERYONE is seeing less money in their paychecks. Teachers are not alone. Several professionals that I know were to get bonuses only to have the way the bonuses were structured changed right before the bonuses were to be given, ripping this bonus from their grasp. Many professionals do not have the number of days off a year that teachers have.

I am not saying that teachers aren’t hard working, or that good teachers aren’t deserving of a nice salary, but hearing teachers whine about not being thanked is life!!!! This happens to many in their professional life and they don’t whine nearly as much as teachers do.

As an ex-teacher if you don’t like teaching or what it is becoming stop whining and do something about it. Stop being fearful of what someone is going to do and speak up. Then parents will support you a hundred percent, especially if what you say shows that you care about the children, something that too many running our schools are forgetting. I cannot support whiny teachers, one reason I never ate in the faculty room and only went in to use the bathroom and left as quickly as I could. If teachers don’t like what they see or experience, than they need to be the change that they wish to see.


January 26th, 2013
7:08 pm

Our family has always expressed our appreciation to teachers in writing, with small gifts, and with our volunteer support. Those who compare teaching to working in the corporate world are missing a key point: businesses do not have responsibility for educating our children. Businesses do not educate us emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Teachers teach … and so much more.

Thank you Austin Elementary teachers of 1998 – 2007 for your stellar professionalism, caring attention, and outside-the-box thinking. Dara Kleinman, Ingrid Allen, James Unger, Segrid Sevillian, Ann Culbreath (who was a teacher then!), Joanne Konenkamp, Janie Kossak, Heather. Hackett: you prepare children for the next level by demanding their best and encouraging them every step of the way.

Thank you Peachtree Charter Middle School 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade teams including Jill Catoe, Ingrid Gero, Lisa Medina, Cathy Burch, the late Keith Davis, Gail Prosser, Carole Dunn, Caryn Gartner, Terry Shores, Walter Hickman, Lisa Magness, and Devin Simony – you made the tortuous middle school years academic challenging and emotionally enriching.

Thank you Dunwoody High School teachers who raise the bar and keep pushing students to meet academic challenges and grow: Erik Vincent, Adrienne Rowe, Mary Sturken, Rand Wise, Nancy Watson, Will Henderson, Brad Hendrickson, Allison Ingram, Bryan Boucher, and Alethea Love, Steve Fortenberry, Kara Bryant, Alan Ritchey, and Lori Vesole.

Those are the teachers my students have had the privilege to learn from. I am confident there are many, many other talented, proficient educators in the Dunwoody cluster.

Thank you for choosing to teach.

Pride and Joy

January 26th, 2013
8:32 pm

Dunmoody, thanks for naming names!


January 26th, 2013
10:02 pm



January 27th, 2013
6:27 am

10:10 had the absolute best comment on this blog so far:

“Legislators could help ensure that turnover of ineffective/chronically dissatisfied K-12 teachers becomes more rapid … and that applicants for those open teaching position then have the opportunity to show what they can do.

And then be recognized by grateful parents.”

I agree with 10:10. I personally don’t aspire for a teaching job, but I know many people who have all the qualifications necessary and are working or have worked as substitute teachers in the hopes to break in that way. Some gave up after a few years. I took the opportunity to speak for them here.

Where is the daily TV news segment or blog segment to honor specific workers in all the other low pay and thankless service jobs that make a community function. Firemen, police, mail delivery, military, red cross and many, many others.

Right now teachers suck up all the available appreciation from the village and still that is not enough for them.

Each whining teacher on this blog, let me ask you, how many hand written letters have you sent to be placed into the personnel files of all the service and low pay people that cross your path every day?

You have a job to do just like the rest of us. If you can’t do it without being stroked like a kitten, move on and allow the job opportunity to open for someone else.

Beverly Fraud

January 27th, 2013
6:39 am

Actually if you think a teacher is good in DeKalb County might not their be a moral imperative to pray they get a better opportunity outside DeKalb?

Dewey Cheatham & Howe

January 27th, 2013
6:48 am

“Each whining teacher on this blog, let me ask you, how many hand written letters have you sent to be placed into the personnel files of all the service and low pay people that cross your path every day?

You have a job to do just like the rest of us. If you can’t do it without being stroked like a kitten, move on and allow the job opportunity to open for someone else.”

Eloquent. Accurate.



January 27th, 2013
7:01 am

Please help me here…

Most if not all “administrators” in public school systems are teachers or former teachers aren’t they ? I mean, don’t you have to certified as a teacher to move up the ladder to a paper pushing job?

The thing that I can’t get my arms around is this: If administrators are teachers or former teachers, at what specific point did they go from caring professional to heartless,power drunk slavedrivers? If there is shared experiences with their charges,why do they seem to become an enemy when they get promoted ? I mean, most of the frustrated teachers that I read here every day reserve their harshest criticisms for the managements of their own schools and districts. But that management is primarily composed of people like…Them. Could it be that teachers are just resentful of any management structure ? Or is the Peter Principle the polar star of promotion in our school systems?
Or is it a disdain for the administrators for those “beneath” them in the food chain?

From the outside, it looks like a shark pool of backbiting,duplicity and intrigue. I would honestly like to know.


January 27th, 2013
7:30 am

First I say, Thank you to the inspired instructors, and Thanks to the teachers who spend their work time as caretakers. I do think that this is a small number of the profession. BTW there are people in every profession that have similar feelings as mentioned in that letter. Professions from physicians to sewer workers. Some are excellent and socially concious and some are boarderline in proficiency and live within the cheaters culture. Under-appreciated teachers are not alone, they just get lonely.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to visit a classrom in a Ga. school. The teacher asked for a word from the class and a studen offered a word that fit the category of discussion. The teacher wrote the word on the erasable board and MISPELLED it. I mentioned in a eventoned and quiet voice what letter to change and she ask, ‘are you SURE?’.

Some people who work as teachers should, in fact,not be allowed near a classrom or near young impressionable children.

Mom at

January 27th, 2013
8:21 am

Gdfo… You misspelled mispell.

My kids are in Gwinnett. Since high school and middle school they have been exposed to over 60 teachers. And I have to say 80% have been outstanding. And I do write letters. My kids LOVE going to school everyday because of these wonderful teachers.


January 27th, 2013
8:39 am

@gdfo – you should’t misspell misspelled if you are going to complain about people misspelling words :)

Here’s where I have an issue. DeKalb County is constantly adding stuff to my workload that other districts aren’t and they aren’t actually paying me to teach this year. My entire salary is paid by the state this year. They furlough us, but don’t save a dime for DeKalb by furloughing me (and many other teachers in the middle of their careers) – they simply save the state of Georgia money. Yes, I should have bailed out years ago, and have no one but myself to blame for not. What is so bad about wanting some recognition for what I do – at no charge to the DeKalb County School District?

Comprehension 101

January 27th, 2013
9:03 am

As an administrator(county undisclosed) and a parent of two young children, I apprecaite all of our teachers. I am a fairly new administrator so I am not that removed from the classroom. I understand the issues raised on this blog; however, please be aware that even when I am driving into work, I am thinking that I will email my departments the minute I enter my office and express how excellent their unit plans were for the week, or how impressed I am with an idividual’s achievement–BUT, as I enter the building, I have teachers, parents, students, 100 emails and often police officers and parole officers at my door. I am at school by 6:30-7:00 am daily, but this does not seem to matter. My day is non-stop and I love it… I realize that teachers are under much stress– unveiling of Common Core, meeting the needs of many students using differentaition which often is a lofty idea, many meetings, data collection, having more than 32 students per class, pay decreases, furlough days, attendance issues of students, parents who are disengaged, parents who do not speak English and the list goes on. I GET IT!!! However, this is the profession we all choose. I am not at my building so the Area Superintendent pats me on the back because I have instituted a new program or elevated attendance among our students or even assisted the many young girls who became pregnant. No!!! I am there for the students. My goal is to educate through conversation and being an excellent role model. Our task as educators is difficult, challenging at best but never boring. I love it. Possibly those that have grown disenchanted translates into those that need to move on. I wish you all the best of good fortune, truly; I also am most grateful for all that you have bestowed upon your students. For those that remain, I suggest you reach down and find the lost passion for our profession that you once held. Recollect the excitement when you first were offered your first position. Remember how you thumbed through Harry Wong’s text to analyze strategies that would make a better and more conducive learning environment for all student. And pray that our economy progresses whereby you will have a complete salary again with raises and well earned steps. I know you are a professional and you work hard and I sincerely thank you very much for all you do.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

January 27th, 2013
9:06 am

@Marla “Each whining teacher on this blog, let me ask you, how many hand written letters have you sent to be placed into the personnel files of all the service and low pay people that cross your path every day? “

Well, personally if they were teaching my child for everyday for nine months, you bet I would send a note. As it is, I try to personally thank such people all the time. And if they do a repeated service for me, such as my mail carrier and my hairdresser, yes, they get a note or a wee bonus at the holidays. One time service providers, such as my plumber, if they do an excellent job, get an online recommendation on Angie’s List – which I suspect is something they appreciate since it brings more business. Others get a “tip” which is a financial “thank you”.

Besides, last time I checked, there wasn’t an ongoing campaign to undermine other service workers. Don’t recall reformers coming in to tell Red Cross workers and firefighters how to “do their jobs” and asking for ever more intense “evaluations” all the time. Don’t recall public forums in which firefighters are constantly called “whiners” and denigrated by those who have no idea what they do. Do you not think the “whining” might be a reaction to being constantly attacked?

I wondered how long the “good will” would last after teachers gave their lives trying to protect the students at Sandy Hook…. seems the limit is a little over a month. Now we are back to being “whining” teachers because we DARE make the suggestion that if a parent is really pleased with how we worked with their child, seven hours a day, for 180 days a year, it would be really nice to know. How ungrateful and self-centered of us.

Can’t help but wonder, what do all you negative non-teacher posters get out of coming here? You obviously do not like or appreciate teachers (unless they are the meek and silent types). You rarely have anything non-critical to add. You do not know enough about our job to offer professional advice. To me, you are just part of the ongoing problem – a public that has been so conditioned to despise teachers, that a simple request to let a teacher know if you think they are doing a good job turns into an opportunity to bash us once again.

And you don’t think that has an effect on teacher morale?

Or maybe that is the whole point, drive enough of us out of the profession and there will be more spaces for those “who were not chosen” for the classroom and have some idea that things will be so much better for them. Or maybe there will be more opportunity for those who want to push for online schools, and charter schools.

Who stands to benefit from the whole “public schools are all failing and the teachers are lazy, whining government moochers” rhetoric? Do you?

C. Tampa Ironworse

January 27th, 2013
9:56 am

Amen Marla!!!!!

A Fan of Teachers

January 27th, 2013
9:58 am

Chocolates might not work because of diets, handwritten notes are great – but a gift card to Starbucks or Publix even for a token amount – is the best! And no, I am not a teacher. I just believe in treating them like gods and goddesses because they spend more waking hours a day with my child than I do and their work is so crucial to her success.


January 27th, 2013
10:18 am

Courtesy, compassion, respect I learned at home and pass on to my high school students. And yes, I do thank the mailman, garbage men, police officers, firefighters, and people with whom I come in contact for a job well done. A simple “thank you” means so much to those who seldom hear words of gratitude for a job well done. Perhaps those of you who are bashing teachers missed that lesson?

Pride and Joy

January 27th, 2013
10:23 am

To I Love Teaching –
I work in the corporate world. I never, ever get a thank you or a note or a special “business woman appreciation day.”
And to say that “You do not know enough about our job to offer professional advice.” is completely untrue.
All of us went to school. Someone who is a high school graduate had at least ten different teachers in grammar school, twenty differnt teachers in middle school and 24 teachers in high school.
AT LEAST 54 teachers. Teaching is a profession we know THE MOST about because we’ve had at least 13 years of it.
We are qualified to give you profession advice and my advice to you is to quit complaining on a public blog. It hurts all the members of your profession. It makes all of you appear child-like and whiney. It does you no good and it frustrates parents and alienates parents.
You say you want the cooperation of parents. You’ll certainly get less of it by complaining about parents on a public blog. Save your complaints for discussion within a teacher-only environment. Look for solutions. When you have an issue with a parent, address it PRIVATELY with that individual parent and your supervisor if necessary.
WHEN you have sage advice for parents, please share it …politely and calmly. (Please read Mary Elizabeth’s posts — she’s unfailining polite and calm and gets many kudos fromo all of us. I don’t always agree with what she says but I ALWAYS agree with how she says it. )
When you have genuine valid concerns about your work enviornment, bring it up with the NEA or create your own group. You have the right to protest, picket, walk-out and other rights.
Please understand, I love Teaching, complaining here on Get Schooled absolutely alienates and frustrates the very people you want or should want to partner with.
I send my children to school everyday on time, with a good healthy breakfast in their tummies, appropriately and respectfully dressed, homework complete and signed, a lecture in manners before I drop them off. I come to parent teacher conferences on time and prepared. BOTH of us are at each teacher conference, not just one. I volunteer at the PTA, I give and give and give money, time, supplies and so on…and…my child’s teacher treated me like the enemy. She was just as angry as you sound in your posts.
I can’t turn aruond without seeing another parent just like me.
During teacher appreciation WEEK (why did appreciation “day” morph into appreciation “week”?)the room mother gathered a great deal of money for the teacher and her assistant — $400 total.
other parents and I constantly gave paper towels, Lysol wipes, markers, copy paper, and on and on and on…
And then when I hear a teacher like you complain and whine and make bitter, angry comments about parents…how do you think YOU make US feel?
It alienates us. It makes us think you are unappreciative of the teacher WEEK and we resent you.
This is the consequence of you complaining about parents on a public blog.
Is this what you really want?
You have to realize you are hurting yourself and you are hurting your colleagues too.


January 27th, 2013
10:46 am

I think a lot of folks miss the point of the letter, which as I understand it, is: there are a lot of dedicated teachers out there who are hanging on by a thread due to the overwhelming negativity they deal with in their teaching jobs in Dekalb County. Soon, they will have the opportunity to leave those jobs for other opportunities in other counties. If you have an interest in having good schools in Dekalb and wish to keep the good teachers, now would be an opportune time to let those good teachers know. Otherwise, you may lose them.

And while I’m here, a shout out to my high school English teacher, Mrs. C. Corley and my 8th-grade English teacher, Mrs.N. Lyle. Both made a huge, positive impact on me when I was getting schooled in the Gwinnett County school system in the late 70s and early 80s.