Teacher's bad day is rallying cry for change

If you want to know what ails the American classroom, read on.

Spotlight on chair in dark classroom

One Dallas teacher says parents are as much to blame as children for creating an impossible learning environment. (Photo: Lia Koltyrina/Shutterstock)

We’ve all had long days at work. And sometimes, it’s tempting to take those frustrations to a bigger stage. Like Facebook.

In many cases, as a server at a steakhouse in Florida learned earlier this year, that can be a bad idea.

But rarely do teachers take their troubles to social media. Maybe that’s because school boards can be sensitive about public musings from their employees — and teachers are held to especially high standards of online etiquette.

But Dallas-area teacher Julie Marburger is mad. And she’s not going to take it anymore.

Her bad day at work — sparked by a confrontation with a parent — went viral late last month after she posted her powerful Facebook rant. In it, she lacerated everyone from meddling parents to chronically disruptive students to the very broken system teachers are mired in.

In fact, Marburger doesn’t just paint a portrait of a classroom under siege — she includes photos of it.

"This is how my classroom regularly looks after my students spend all day there," she writes. "Keep in mind that many of the items damaged or destroyed by my students are my personal possessions or I purchased myself, because I have NO classroom budget."

The images include shelves with books toppled onto the floor beneath, pages torn from texts and that old teacher’s bugaboo — bubble gum on the window ledge.

It all adds up, Marburger says, to an impossible teaching environment, one that has sapped her of her passion for the profession.

"It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to have a classroom of my own, and now my heart is broken to have become so disillusioned in these short two years," Marburger continues.

She cites a litany of problems: meddlesome parents whose sense of entitlement is passed on to their children and the children themselves, whose rampant misbehavior undermines the learning environment.

Nearly half the class is failing, Marburger adds, and she knows who parents will blame for that.

"Now I'm probably going to spend my entire week next week fielding calls and emails from irate parents, wanting to know why I failed their kid," she writes.

And then, of course, there are her employers, who dole out a "measly" wage for her efforts.

A surprising response

You might think, given past cases of outspoken employees, that would be enough to land this teacher in the principal’s office. But instead, it landed Marburger an invitation to appear on "Good Morning America."

"I have had responses from people literally all over the world," Marburger said in an interview with the show.

Indeed, her post struck a powerful chord, shared more than 400,000 times since it was published on March 28.

And her message rang all-too true for teachers, with some of them chiming in with comments like, "This is why I refuse to teach in America. When I taught abroad I was treated with respect and even honor."

Another wrote, "This is why I retired when I did. We desperately need parenting courses for young people."

What’s more, Marburger says the response from educators, administrators and even parents has been overwhelmingly positive.

"Many will say I shouldn't be posting such things on social media," she explains. "That I should promote education and be positive. But I don't care anymore."

Indeed, she says she will likely be quitting her chosen profession at the end of the year _ which may be a loss for us all. After all, Marburger can claim she’s lost her passion for teaching, but we very rarely get such candid and thoughtful — if bleak — insight into the American classroom.

And for that, this disillusioned teacher should get top marks.

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