Taken from Susan Durfee’s page:
It is official! My contract has ended, so I wanted to share my resignation letter. It is my truth, my story, and I think it deserves to be told.
May 7, 2014
Ms. Nancy Maland
Executive Director of Elementary Education
Knox County Schools
P. O. Box 2188
Knoxville, TN 37901
Dear Ms. Maland:
It is with a strange mix of sadness and joy that I tender my resignation with Knox County Schools effective May 23, 2014.
This decision was reached over time and with great difficulty. I entered kindergarten at Adrian Burnett Elementary School the year the school opened, and soon after decided that I wanted to be a teacher. My dream was to return to “my school” and teach third grade. I have now given twenty years to the students and families of Adrian Burnett, nineteen of those in third grade. To some, this dream may seem small, but it was my dream, and it came true. I am ever so thankful for the opportunity to teach the grade I love, in a school I love, with teammates and staff members who have been as close as family. My calling, my mission in life, was to work with children; to teach not only academics, but also the importance of having good character, to show love and respect, to be kind and expect kindness in return. My class has always been called the Durfee Team because we found that working together is what makes us most successful. I have tried to instill in my students my belief that we must respect and take care of one another. I have aimed to be a positive role model in the lives of my students–smiling, laughing, encouraging, giving hugs, keeping my word, believing in them so they would learn to believe in themselves. Over the years, I have watched my students’ ballgames, frequented birthday parties, sat among families for baptisms. I have received countless high school and college graduation invitations, attended weddings, and for a few young friends, made the changeover from Mrs. Durfee to “Susan”. These are sweet memories that I will always treasure, and I have been changed for the better because of these relationships.
I am saddened beyond measure to leave this chosen work that I hold dear, to leave my precious Adrian Burnett family and friends. I cannot, however, remain in a profession where children are treated as data measurements rather than tiny humans with real needs, and where teachers are treated with blatant disregard and disrespect.
As a former Teacher of the Year, a respected school leader and colleague, it has been shocking to find myself in a position of having to fight for my professional life and reputation as a “Conference of Concern” teacher. More upsetting still is the lack of support offered in light of this situation. My confidence has been shaken as I wonder why I wasn’t worth saving, why promises were made and not kept. The constant threat of losing one’s job creates a wearisome work environment. The joy of teaching is gone. It has been replaced by discouragement, anxiety, and fear. There is little to no encouragement; this job can be thankless. I certainly did not enter this profession thinking it would be easy or filled with glory. Teaching receives little respect from the public in general, but more upsetting still, is the fact that teachers receive such a lack of respect from our very own educational leaders. Teachers are viewed as expendable rather than valuable, incompetent rather than intelligent, and scorned rather than honored.
While I am committed to the continuation of my desire to help children, especially those in need of extra support, encouragement, and love, it will not be as an employee of Knox County Schools. Even in light of all that is flawed within our system, I continue to believe in the high calling of teaching as a profession, and I wish those who remain true to their calling the very best.
Susan C. Durfee, Third Grade Teacher
Adrian Burnett Elementary School