Portland Teacher Talks Quitting

A teacher for more than a decade and made the difficult decision to resign in October from George Middle School in North Portland. Emily Shultz, a teacher who resigned this school year has a lot of stigma surrounding the resignation. Some may see it as no longer caring about students, but I cared too much to continue on – I knew I didn’t have the tools to succeed,” said Shultz. In addition, during the pandemic, she said students are having a hard time coping. 

Shultz said the pandemic was the tipping point, specifically when she was exposed to a COVID-positive person on the third day of school and had to quarantine at home. Shultz stated, “If I did test positive, at least I would have 10 days to rest. I’d have 10 days to lesson plan. I’d have 10 days to catch up and get a break. And really, at that point, I realized it wasn’t healthy for me to continue on in the profession.”

And to add on, Shultz says safety isn’t guaranteed and there’s just not enough time in the day to do a good job. She said she struggled to differentiate instruction for students, come up with a game plan for behaviors that were preventing learning and in general struggled to keep up despite her more than 10 years of experience. So, teachers often sacrifice their personal time and mental health just to keep up.

Shultz added, “Class sizes have continued to grow. When you’re teaching, you’re often teaching with inadequate supplies, inadequate facilities. “Curriculums change constantly. Resources are taken away from us. We’re given more and more to do with less.”

“I really felt that I was letting them down by leaving. But I also felt on a daily basis that I was letting them down by what I was able to produce,” said Shultz. Shultz states but she hopes her story helps advocate for teachers whose voices aren’t being heard.