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What it looks like when an urban public school teacher is fired

Something has happened to the charter school teacher who blogs at Mildly Melancholy that almost never happens at traditional public schools: She has been forced to resign.

This teacher has been writing about her tough school year since September (without revealing the school’s name). At a non-charter school, her misery would probably have proceeded apace until June, mainly unchanged. If tensions with the administration escalated, she might have sought help from the union. But as it happened, Mildly Melancholy — who began teaching in September 2004 — got miserable and then was surprised to find she got fired. She plans to quit teaching altogether.

Her account:

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. I was pretty shaken by how fast it all happened; within an hour I finished teaching my last class, signed the letter, surrendered my laptop, and was packing up my belongings.

Here you can read her description of her first, much more optimistic days teaching, at a middle school in Queens.