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After a difficult semester, J. of Mildly Melancholy was relieved of her position at an NYC charter school earlier this month. It wasn't unexpected:

I knew something bad was coming, but I didn't want to think it was real, and I didn't think it would happen so soon. This week has been really awful in my classroom (and across the entire grade, actually). I haven't been a happy person at this job, and I haven't been a very effective teacher. So it's actually kind of a big relief.

She finds one immediate benefit to being an ex-teacher: She no longer needs her meds. Indeed in a long, stream-of-conscience post, she meditates ruefully on the physical and mental sacrifices that teachers are virtually expected to make for the sake of their work:

seriously. this is what we get for venerating the martyr teacher--the one who sacrifices everything--family, health, time alone to rest and recuperate--in books and movies. people that take this job and keep it do it because we know it's incredibly important, and we all work hard because we know we can never work hard enough, because the work will never be done, because these kids need so much and most of it we can't give them. and some people are willing and able to make those sacrifices and yes, they are inspirational heroes. Are they realistic role models for the legions of young teachers out there? No way!

Perhaps needless to say, she's now looking for work outside of teaching.

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Working with a nonprofit that exists to reward and retain America's top teachers, I am saddened to hear about one more teacher lost. Please let others know that Fund for Teachers gives grants to our best and brightest in order TO KEEP THEM IN THE CLASSROOM, empowering them to pursue any line of inquiry they want that will keep them inspired or return them to the place where they can remember why they entered teaching in the first place.

A sampling of our 2008 Fellows' experiences is at www.flickr.com/groups/fundforteachers and our 2009 Fellows will be announced on National Teachers Day, May 5.

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