The best-read item I've ever posted on this blog wasn't written by me but by Justin Ashley, a dynamo of a fourth-grade teacher at McAlpine Elementary. His letter to House Speaker Thom Tillis captured the passion, hope and frustration of so many teachers across North Carolina that it lit up social media.
I've enjoyed getting to know Ashley during the past school year. So it's sad to report that he's planning to leave Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for a better-paying job in South Carolina.
And since I've learned he can speak for himself quite well, I'll simply share the letter he posted on Facebook Friday, telling this state he's calling it quits. As of Sunday evening, it had been shared more than 300 times.
Dear North Carolina,
I'm leaving you.
To be honest, it isn't me; it's you.
I've given you all I have to give: my days, nights, and weekends. I've sacrificed my money and hobbies for you.
I've done my best to please you over the years, but no matter how much I gave you, you always asked for more. In return, you gave me less and less.
Even worse, you refused to truly listen to me. I've tried, time after time, to explain my frustrations, but you always tuned me out.
And you frequently questioned me as if I'm unfaithful. With all that I do for you and the kids, how in the world would I have time for anyone else?
You've taken me for granted.
I deserve to be regarded as a partner in this relationship; Instead, you've treated me like a servant.
If you ever want us to be together again, you are going to have to make some serious life changes:
Treat me as an individual with my own perspective (no more top-down approaches to decision-making).
Respect my voice (don't remove my rights in this union between us).
Continually appreciate and repay me for all that I do for you (don't spend the money you owe me on someone else).
Trust me (don't measure me with unfair and inaccurate comparisons to others).
Call me crazy, but I believed I'd one day become a priority to you. And if not me, at least our kids! How were they never at the top of your priority list?
I used to love you, but I really can't do this anymore. I deserve better.
I'm leaving you for your sister state, South Carolina.
If you ever decide to change your ways, call me.
You know the number.
Sincerely and No Longer Yours,
2013 North Carolina History Teacher of the Year
2013 North Carolina Social Studies Teacher of the Year
2011 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools East Zone Teacher of the Year