Teacher resigns in front of school board and sends powerful message to her students
A teacher resigned in front of her school board, and simultaneously sent a powerful message to her students in a now-viral video, the Kansas City Star reports.
The incident took place on February 10 when Amanda Coffman quit her job at Indian Woods Middle School. In the process, she slammed the Shawnee Mission School District for failing to negotiate with the teachers union and imposing a three-year unilateral contract.
In practical terms, this meant failing to negotiate increased compensation beyond the 11 percent increase the contract provided, and easing teachers' workload by delegating tasks more efficiently.
"Several years ago, a good friend decided to leave education, and she said to me, 'Amanda, teaching is like a bad marriage,'" Coffman told the board. "'You never get your needs met, but you stay in it for the kids.' I didn't fully understand what she meant until this past month. Just like a bad relationship, our communication has broken down. You aren't listening."
Teachers in the area were given three options: accept the contract, continue working under the one from 2019, or resign. Needless to say, Coffman chose resignation.
"I thought maybe like a troubled relationship, we could go to counseling, get an outside perspective to work our differences," she said. "But when you failed to show up for the conversation but sent your lawyer instead, I finally understood that this just isn’t going to work. The kids and I deserve better."Related: this teacher was filmed consoling a teenage student:
The teacher then used the platform she had while resigning to directly address her students.
"You all know that the most important lesson I want you to take away from your time with me is: just because you can, doesn't mean you should," she said. "Usually, I'm applying that lesson to technology violations or intellectual bullying, but it's true in life as well. I could accept this contract, smile and stay silent about the lies the district perpetuates about its teachers, but that doesn’t mean I should."
Per the Star, at least two teachers resigned as a result of the ultimatum.
The negotiations at the center of the dispute centered around how $9.6 million of state funding would be spent in the area. The union tried to use this as an opportunity to have the teachers compensated for their extra, unpaid work.
Administrators from the school told the Star that they were unable to make suitable alterations to the teachers' workloads for this school year. However, they are hoping to implement them for the 2021-2022 school year.
Two weeks after Coffman's resignation video went viral, she took to Facebook to surround the controversy surrounding it:
She wrote: "Why do my words resonate with so many people? I truly am shocked by this. Why are so many of us unhappy in our jobs, but feel trapped? Why do we continue to accept less than is necessary for our children?''
"These are the questions that I haven't been able to answer, but continue to wrestle with. I hope that we all continue to wrestle with these questions because they are big and important, and they matter. The answers we will create together matter."