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Going Viral... By Accident

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

One year ago today, I walked into my principal's office and told her that I would not be returning the following year. Pandemic teaching had taken a toll on my mental and physical health and it seemed the following years would likely be getting worse with fewer protections and perhaps even no pandemic protocols. As much as I loved teaching, I had reached a nexus point and knew it was time to find a new career path.

After tucking my daughter in bed and starting a sleep story with her, I tweeted about it. At the time of the tweet, I had a meager following of two hundred accounts or so, largely composed of fellow educators and former students. I had no idea what would happen next.

Tweet Text: "Today, I told my principal that I will not be returning to the classroom next year. I've known I wanted to be a teacher since I was nine. I've have put (literal) blood, sweat and tears into my classroom for fourteen years. I just can't justify the cost any longer." The post received over eighteen hundred comments, four thousand retweets, and forty-one thousand likes.

It wasn't long before I started getting notifications coming through on my watch. It started out slow, but then it didn't stop... for days. Naturally, after it started going viral I noticed a grammar mistake in the tweet, but such is life on a social media platform without an edit button.

Thousands of people, including former colleagues and students, offered their support and thanks for the time I spent teaching. Most of the response was positive and I even received support from Rachel Vindman and Yvette Nicole Brown, the star of one of my favorite television shows (Community).

The outpouring of support was both overwhelming and fortunate because these kind individuals were also joined by ignorant trolls celebrating my departure or mockingly questioning the "literal blood" part (which obviously comes from the rituals we teachers conduct before teaching "the CRT" and certainly not fourteen years of breaking up fights, occasional mishaps with sharp objects, and labor intensive volunteering with community organizations).

One year later, I remain grateful for the time I had in the classroom and, though it's something I never would have considered even two years ago, even more thankful I was able to transition into a new career and for those who helped me in that journey.

I do hope that society as a whole soon wakes up to the disaster they're creating by harassing and underpaying teachers. The rates at which teachers are burning out and/or leaving is not sustainable.

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