The heartbreaking farewell letter of a Florida primary school teacher has gone viral after first being published last week.
Written by 32-year-old Equestrian Trails elementary teacher Megan Webb, the letter explains that despite her ongoing love for the profession, after a decade of teaching primary school students the low wages that teaching offers means that continuing in the profession is no longer viable, explaining “I simply cannot support myself comfortably with my current income.”
Publishing her letter via The Palm Beach Post, Webb begins, “Heartbreaking – it’s the only word that can describe how it feels to walk away from something that was once your dream.”
Megan Webb in her classroom. Source: Facebook / Equestrian Trails Elementary.
"For the first time in 10 years, I am not anxiously preparing my classroom, anticipating the arrival of twenty energetic children and a new year full of learning, laughter and excitement.
"Instead, I am preparing myself for a new career in the business world. And not because I wanted to. I absolutely loved my teaching job at Equestrian Trails Elementary. But sadly, love just isn’t enough."
Currently living with her parents, Webb says that despite always knowing teaching was hardly a financially lucrative career she had anticipated her salary would grow along with years of experience.
Equestrian Trails Elementary School. Source: Facebook / Equestrian Trails Elementary.
"When I started teaching in the Palm Beach County School District a decade ago, I made $33,830. Today, I make $43,239," Webb writes.
"While that’s a lot more than I made in my first year of teaching, it’s just $2,464 more per year than an incoming first-year teacher today, or an additional $274 for each year of experience."
Breaking down her annual finances into a monthly budget, Webb goes on, "I bring home a little over $2,000 each month. In Palm Beach County, where the average apartment rental is $1,338, and after the cost of basic utilities (approx. $190), a car payment (with a modest lease, approx. $250), and car insurance (approx. $100), that would leave around $200 a month for food, gas, cell phone, and any other expenses."
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"Could I count my pennies, and scrape by? Barely. But what kind of life is that? And should I have to, with a college degree, after ten years of service, in a career that impacts the lives of our future leaders? It is completely unacceptable," she writes passionately, continuing, "I’m not wanting of more money for social status, or material possessions. I just don’t believe, that at this point in my career, I should have to worry about whether or not I can pay rent and feed myself."
Like many other teachers facing similar predicaments around the world, Webb goes on to address the real choice at hand. "The alternative would be to stay where I am, becoming a little more bitter with each passing year, feeling “stuck,” handcuffed to a system that doesn’t value its educators or the students we teach.
"In turn, my happiness and self-worth would undoubtedly diminish over time, to a point that I become a disservice to the very students that I sacrificed myself for. I am not willing to give up my “life,” only to become a lesser version of myself, and a second-rate teacher."
The teachers and staff of Equestrian Trails Elemetnary. Source: Facebook / Equestrian Trails Elementary.
While the 32-year-old's letter has drawn some criticism since being published, the vast majority of commenters have been overwhelmingly understanding, with many current or former teachers sharing similar stories.
"I left teaching, which I acquired a masters in, after just three years for many of the same reasons. Breaks my heart," one Facebook user wrote.
"I haven’t lost my passion," Webs writes finally. "I’ve just lost my ability to turn a blind eye to the impact that my salary has on my life outside the confines of my classroom."