Teacher’s Tearful Resignation Goes Viral: ‘Teaching Is Like a Bad Marriage’

SMSD/YouTube

Like all teachers, Amanda Coffman didn’t get into the education field for the money, she did it for the kids. So when the teacher with 21 years of experience could no longer take the mismanagement and funding issues in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD), she resigned––on livestream.

Back in 2020, the educator was presented with a three-year teaching contract that would not meet the needs of the teachers, who had been working without a contract for over six months. Rather than accept the terms, which would inevitably effect the students the most, Coffman decided to take a stand and resign.


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She attended the Feb. 2020 SMSD Board of Education meeting to deliver the news and to address her students at the same time. “Teaching is like a bad marriage. You never get your needs met but you stay in it for the kids,” she starts off her speech.

“Just like a bad relationship, our communication has broken down. You aren’t listening.”

She goes on to say that “talking to the board and administrators in this building is like shouting into the wind, and I won’t waste my breath.” Her overarching message to both the Board and her students is clear: “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Coffman applies this to the reason she cannot accept the unfair contract presented to her and tells her students to remember the same for their lives and relationships, too.

“Please don’t see my empty doorway as a sign that I’ve abandoned you or that I don’t care. That empty doorway is my sign that you are still my favorite humans and I will always be your biggest advocate,” she says tearfully.

The Board of Education was likely surprised at the news, but Coffman’s colleagues, family and friends were not. She tells Buzzfeed that teachers do not normally leave in the middle of a school year, but it was more important that her message was heard.

“I thought it would make a bigger statement on behalf of the teachers — and draw attention to how important teachers are to the students — if I quit in the way that I did. There was also a sense that I was calling the district’s bluff. They didn’t think any teachers would leave,” says Coffman.

Despite the video originating over two years ago, teachers are still up against the same fiscal and management constraints. Add in several years of pandemic teaching, and it’s no wonder that over 50% of teachers are ready to leave the field entirely.

As we all breathe a welcome sigh of relief now that summer has arrived, it’s also the perfect time get your teacher appreciation plan in place for next year. They deserve it.

 

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