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Another Teacher Slips Away

We know why we became teachers. If it wasn’t the reason, then it’s why we remained teachers. It’s..

Seeing the light bulb go off. I think that’s why any teacher gets into teaching, because that’s the best feeling, seeing them so interested and engaged and finally getting it … and knowing that you made a difference. (Stancill, 2013)

“Seeing the light bulb go off.”

That’s how Haley Brown describes it.  She’s a seven-year elementary school teacher in Raleigh, who has just accepted an administrative position – with a homebuilder.  According to the October 24 Raleigh News & Observer article, Haley says that testing has not only robbed her of her emotional and professional energy, but also robbed her students of meaningful learning.  Teacher assistants have been laid-off (state legislation), the workload keeps growing, and she has received only one raise and a 1% cost of living increase in her seven years.

It’s not an uncommon story, but one that has gained traction because of the note her husband, Matt, handed her, when she’d made her decision.  Haley was so thankful for her husband’s support that she posted the note on her blog, earning 1,200 likes on Facebook.  As the letter continued to resonate with some many people, Matt sent it to the N&O, and they published it as an opinion piece.  As of this week, it is the most popular story page on the paper’s web site for 2013.  It’s been read more than a half million times.

Does this really matter.  Is anyone noticing?  North Carolina is a right-to-work state, so there’s no teachers union and teachers don’t strike.  They just slip away.  Who cares?

Pictures to come

There is a new story out there.  It’s made up of lots of characters, plots and sub-plots, but it’s not been assembled yet.

This weekend, I’ll be attending the ReinventEd Unconference at Black Mountain SOLE, in Black Mountain, North Carolina.  It’s going to be one of those learning events that’s driven by questions, not authorities, and no small part of its appeal comes from the fact that its organizer is Steve Hargadon.  

My greatest wish is for a new narrative about education – a new and complete story that will resonate not only with passionate educators, but also with anyone else,

..who’s willing to listen.


Stancill, J. (2013, October 23). A husband’s support for his teacher wife becomes a viral sensation.Raleigh News & Observer. Retrieved from http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/10/23/3306958/a-husbands-support-for-his-teacher.html


  • Kate Herzog

    And the main question is: WHO’S LISTENING? As a librarian, I’m wondering how we can raise the volume so the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) reassesses its determination to replace school librarians with iPads!

    Paul Simon observed it:
    “Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
    You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away.”

  • http://www.touchdownskills.com football training

    Teaching is the most respective profession. That’s why people choose teaching. I also like teachers. Thanks to you to submit such a post.

  • http://www.dis.sc.kr Yali Chang

    This article makes me think back on what I did in the first course. How can teachers avoid burnout or rustout? It is easy to count all those things that can frustrate teachers and make them stagger on their way to carrying out their noble mission as a teacher. But again, when we reflect on what brought us to the profession in the first place, that is why we still remained there because every time when you hear a child say “Now I got it.” in the classroom, you know you have made a difference and everything you have done is worth it. That is why it is crucial for teachers to keep learning new strategies not only for their classroom but also for staying fresh in the profession to be able to serve their students better.

  • Ryan Klapperich

    This post reminded me of why I myself got into the education profession. There are so many obstacles we educators face so it is important to think back are remember why we started doing this, and its for me it was wanting to help struggling students achieve things they never thought possible. However just like our students, it is easy for educators to become discouraged and let the light bulb go out and to give up. I try every day to motivate myself to be the best I can be in hope that my students will see that and follow my lead.

  • Ryan Klapperich

    I couldn’t agree more with the statement lets teach our students to be empowered instead of engaged. In my opinion the only way to do this is through building strong relationships with our students. If our students do not know that we truly care about their success inside and outside of school they are never going to achieve what we know they can. Giving the students the confidence to be empowered is the greatest gift we can give our students. I also enjoyed the point that when we teach empowerment instead of engagement we are able to see the progress through data as well as testing unlike engagement.

Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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Books Written

Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
Classroom Blogging
(2007) • Lulu
• Amazon
Raw Materials for the Mind

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