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Austin teacher gets candid about frustrations with AISD


Editor's Note: This story is a first-person account from an Austin ISD teacher who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of potentially losing her job.

Teacher burnout is real. I have worked in Austin ISD for more than 15 years, and I have seen it all.

Teachers are leaving this industry at an alarming rate and people keep asking why? It should all be really obvious. Lack of pay, lack of teachers and lack of respect.

This is why teachers rallied last Thursday for better pay. With 17 years of experience, I make up to $55,000 a year as an elementary school teacher. Some ask why I stay and it comes down to one thing, I love teaching—I am molding the future generations. I have stayed in this district because it hasn't always been this way.

Austin ISD employees and others gathered for higher pay at the district headquarters Thursday. (Education Austin/Twitter)

But one by one, teachers are leaving looking for better opportunities since the pandemic. Because for the past two years, teachers are being asked to do the most they ever have without a pay increase.

When a teacher is out, other teachers are asked to take those students into their classrooms and end up with 30+ students. How is that safe? The State education agency says pre-k through fourth grade should not exceed a class size of 22. But admin is not helping keep classrooms under the regulated class size.

At my school we have a bilingual classroom that was taught for nine weeks with only an English teacher, then they used another teacher that’s bilingual to just support. How is admin sitting in their office OK with this?

When test scores are adequate, our school’s higher-ups turn a blind eye. They don't show they care for the well-being of teachers or the students.

Additionally, teachers are on their own when it comes to parents, who have been more aggressively vocal since the pandemic. We have parents yelling at teachers, and admin ignoring both parent and teacher.

When my colleagues and I receive text messages after hours in all caps from angry parents, it's up to us to figure out what to do. And it happens in person too, where you can witness parents yelling at teachers directing traffic at morning drop off.

We have students bringing illegal items to school and not being reprimanded. I have seen students bring drugs, bullets and knives in an elementary school. These items are dangerous and could seriously hurt other students, and somehow parents are not informed of this information. There are no preventative measures being taken to make sure there is safety at school.

No one is benefitting from any of this—but getting the worst end of it is the students, and that’s who we are supposed to be trying and giving our best to.

Things need to change at AISD and it starts with respect and support of teachers.

Tell me if that is a job you would be willing to stay at for the pay we make.

Austonia reached out to an Austin ISD spokesperson for comment, receiving this response:

"I can understand a teacher would want to write this anonymously given the culture of reprisal that used to exist here. Now, however, we're all about fixing problems, not covering them up... What is being described here is a campus with a messed-up culture, and there are a lot of people here where I work who would want to work with the campus administrators to get this fixed."


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