Former Harrisonburg teacher goes viral after Facebook post

Former Harrisonburg teacher goes viral after Facebook post
Jessica Gentry, a former kindergarten teacher at Stone Spring Elementary in Harrisonburg, said she's always had a passion for teaching, but the current education system made her go knocking at the door of a different career. (Source: WHSV)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Jessica Gentry, a former kindergarten teacher at Stone Spring Elementary in Harrisonburg, said she’s always had a passion for teaching, but the current education system made her go knocking at the door of a different career.

In a viral Facebook post that's been shared more than 180,000 times, Gentry laid out the five reasons why she believes teachers are "leaving the occupation like their hair is on fire."

Among those reasons are the lack of parenting, the overuse of technology, a customer service mindset and physical and mental strain.

"The stories that you hear and that students share with you, you take that home with you. It's hard to unpack all of that," Gentry said.

Michael Richards, the Superintendent of Harrisonburg City Public Schools told WHSV in a statement:

"Many of Ms. Gentry’s concerns have been squarely on my radar for some time. I have plans to address these and other concerns here in Harrisonburg, where I started as superintendent only a month ago.Too often teachers feel that no one really understands their concerns and that solutions are imposed on them. I plan to partner with teachers so that I am aware of their concerns and they have a voice in the solutions."

A study by the University of Virginia shows 22 percent of teachers leave their jobs after their first year. That number jumps to nearly 50 percent after four years.

Gentry told WHSV that she believes she speaks on behalf of many teachers, and wants to be voice that brings these issues to light.

“There are so many voices out there that are afraid to even comment,” she said. “It’s not about pay, it never was and never will be. It’s just about respect.”

The filter comes off now. . I think it's easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay. ...

Posted by Jessica Gentry on Thursday, June 13, 2019

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