Erin Axson, a teacher from South Carolina, said she feels “exhausted”, “frustrated” and “ill-supported” by her job and the perils of trying to communicate to parents about their troubled children.
“Not all of you are going to agree with what I’ve written. Some of you will be downright mad after you read it. As with anything, this doesn’t apply to every parent out there. I do have those of you that support me and work with me – you know who you are and you know how immensely grateful I am for you,” she clarified before she began.
“This all started as I stared at myself in the mirror one morning, wondering if I should look and feel THIS exhausted.
“Lately, it seems that many parents have adopted a bizarrely lenient attitude toward disciplining children as well as bending over backwards to accommodate their children’s every demand. It’s unclear what’s causing these parents to believe that children should be subject to no limits, no discipline, and no stringent requirements at school. Whatever the cause, these parents are, in fact, doing a terrible disservice to today’s young people and to society as a whole. And, they are leaving their children’s teachers feeling frustrated, ill-supported, and utterly exhausted.”
Ms Axson made note of the “sky-rocketing” rate “good teachers” are leaving the profession as proof that things can’t continue as they are going.
“If things continue at this pace, no one will be willing to go into teaching at all. The average new teacher these days is lasting a whopping four years before calling it quits. Those seasoned teachers that have witnessed this strange, cultural shift firsthand are dropping like flies, realising they don’t have the energy to fight this uphill battle. But, perhaps the saddest thing is that these schools are turning out children who are ill-suited to being constructive, productive members of our society.
“Kids need to learn essential values such as empathy, responsibility, hard work and self-discipline. They must be taught conscientiousness, resilience and integrity. When parents refuse to set limits, give kids consequences, or have appropriate expectations of academic and social performance, students are deprived of the skills and attitudes necessary for their future success. We are essentially robbing them of the greatest gift we can give them.”
Ms Axson, a mother-of-three herself, went on to say there are ways to fix the problem and “clean up the mess we’ve made”, suggesting a handful of ways parents can make a teacher’s life easier.
“If we come to you with a problem or write your child up for disrespectful behaviour, don’t automatically fight it.
“These kids get into my heart in a way I can’t explain to you. I just ask — beg of you — to trust me, support me, and work with me, not against me,” she wrote.
“Please quit with all the excuses. If you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them.
“It’s OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons.”
Ms Axson finished her letter – which has since been shared over 4,000 times – by promising parents if they “let” her, she will give their child “the best education humanly possible”.
“You and I, together, could be quite the force to be reckoned with, don’t you think?”
You can find Erin’s letter in full here.