Texas teacher criticizes school district's working conditions in viral post

A Bastrop, Texas, teacher's frustrations laid out in a lengthy Facebook post has become the center of heated online discussion around working conditions for public school teachers.

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Since posting a 630-word tirade March 28 about insufficient classroom budgets and disregard from parents and students, Julie Marburger’s post has been shared online 315,000 times with teachers from across the nation decrying similar conditions.

“I have already made the decision to leave teaching at the end of this year, and today, I don’t know if I will make it even that long,” Marburger wrote, who said she has been teaching for two years at the Bastrop school district. “Parents have become far too disrespectful, and their children are even worse. Administration always seems to err on the side of keeping the parent happy, which leaves me with no way to do the job I was hired to do … teach kids.”

Marburger included several photos in her post that depict a gum wad on a windowsill, ripped book, destroyed bookshelf and an iPad left on the ground.

‘This is how my classroom regularly looks after my students spend all day there. 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.”

In her post, she described the unique position teachers find themselves in when dealing with school administration and unhappy parents. When report cards come out next week, nearly half of her roughly 140 students will be getting a failing grade due to multiple missing assignments, she said. Despite weekly reports, emails and phone calls sent to parents, "most of these students and their parents haven't seemed to care about this over the past three months," she wrote.

“But 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. My administrator will demand an explanation of why I let so many fail without giving them support, even though I’ve done practically everything short of doing the work for them.”

Marburger teaches at Cedar Creek Intermediate School. Previously she taught child development and parenting in Dallas.

Marburger’s post reflects an increasingly fraught political climate over teacher treatment across the country.

In Oklahoma, public school teachers are staging classroom walkouts and marches on the state Capitol demanding increased pay and better benefits, backed by the support of school boards and superintendents. State legislators agreed to hold a special session to address teacher pay.

In West Virginia, statewide teacher strikes closed schools for nearly two weeks until Gov. James Justice signed a bill that gave teachers and other state employees a 5 percent pay raise. Similar groundswells have been reported in Kentucky.

"I have never heard of a profession where people put so much of their heart and soul into their job, taking time and resources from their home and family, and getting paid such an insultingly measly amount. Teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met, yet they get treated so disrespectfully from all sides," Marburger wrote.

“Many will say I shouldn’t be posting such things on social media … that I should promote education and be positive. But I don’t care anymore. Any passion for this work I once had has been wrung completely out of me. Maybe I can be the voice of reason.”

Bastrop school administrators did not immediately return requests for comment.

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