A US kindergarten teacher has gone viral on Facebook after a brutally honest post detailed the reasons she has decided to quit her job.
Jessica Gentry, 34, from Virginia, said she is sick of people assuming she "left teaching because of the lousy pay".
"The filter comes off now," she wrote on Facebook, in a post which has how been shared more than 213,000 times in less than two weeks (and counting).
"Let me tell you why those who ooze passion for teaching are leaving the occupation like their hair is on fire ..."
The mum-of-one went on to list the five reasons she decided to quit her job to dispel the myth that it had anything to do with low wages or even because she'd found something she was more passionate about.
She started by saying it's an old excuse that "the kids have changed". "No. No friggin way. Kids are kids. PARENTING has changed. SOCIETY has changed. The kids are just the innocent victims of that. Parents are working crazy hours, consumed by their devices, leaving kids in unstable parenting/co-parenting situations, terrible media influences ... and we are going to give the excuse that the KIDS have changed? What did we expect them to do? Kids behave in undesirable ways in the environment they feel safest," she said.
"They test the water in the environment that they know their mistakes and behaviours will be treated with kindness and compassion. For those "well-behaved" kids - they're throwing normal kid tantrums at home because it's safe. The kids flipping tables at school? They don't have a safe place at home. Our classrooms are the first place they've ever heard 'no', been given boundaries, shown love through respect."
She also explained we don't need "21st century schools". Gentry advocates for a focus on "The basics of relationship building and hands on learning".
"Kids already can't read social cues and conduct themselves appropriately in social settings ... let's toss more devices at them because it looks good on our website."
She points the finger at schools' "customer-service mindset" rather than holding parents accountable.
"I've seen the Facebook rants about attendance and getting "the letter". Well, here's the thing ... I can't teach your child if he's not in school," she wrote.
"I was cussed out by parents who wanted to attend field trips but missed the THREE notes that went home - and when they did attend a trip, sat on their phone the entire time. I've had parents stand me up multiple times on Conference Days, then call to tattle on me when I refused to offer an after-school option. I've had parents tell me that I'm not allowed to tell their child 'no' ..."
Gentry said her "mental health was in jeopardy" because of her job.
"It breaks you. We become emotional eaters. We become couch potatoes to zone out. We become so short-fused that our families suffer," she added.
She says she left her retirement fund and her paid sick leave, "46 days left on the table, unpaid". "I didn't leave for better pay."
The post has received more than 800 comments, the overwhelming majority agreeing and sympathising with Gentry's sentiment.
"Good word. Truth is you are right on all accounts. Who is standing up for these amazing teachers. I never met anyone go into this profession for the money. I also never heard of anyone leaving for that reason. Teaching is a dying art. I'm sorry how families act like you work for them. How they don't want to hear it could be them causing the problem. Keep up your good work! You are not alone in how you feel," one person commented.