NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — She quit her teaching job in the middle of the semester, and now she’s calling for change.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Camille Fox, a former second-grade teacher. She reached her breaking point just two weeks ago.
“I reached a point where I could not take another step forward into the piles of paper. And that’s the way I felt. I refused to step into this mountain of work another day,” said Fox.
After seven years in the profession, she walked out on a Friday and didn’t come back.
“I had to get out immediately for everyone’s good. For, for my students, for myself, for my kids, my husband, I had to make a selfish choice for once,” she said.
In an honest conversation with News 2’s Alex Denis, she explained the stress she felt was overwhelming from the pressure from state and district mandates as well as texting expectations, canned lessons, meetings, gradings, lesson planning, individual student time and parent conferences.
“The workload is not manageable at all.”
Especially, she said, in the confines of the contracted hours outlined by districts.
“To do our jobs, we must work outside of our contracted hours in the early wee hours of the morning, late at night, over the weekend. Every teacher I know does that,” she said.
She doesn’t blame her former administrators.
“I think extremely highly of all of them. But, they do have a lot of pressure also,” she explained.
The demands became unmanageable for Fox, who as a single mother with a Master’s degree, struggled to pay bills on her $3,000 a month salary.
“I’m educated enough and skilled enough at what I do that I should be able to earn a salary that I can support my family with. And I could not do that. My parents paid my mortgage for two years so that we could stay where we lived,” she said.
Enough was enough for Fox, who said she is not alone.
“As teachers continue to walk out, and parents continue to be frustrated as they should be.” She continued, “These parents, if they can afford it, will put that their children in private schools. Receiving a high-quality education is going to end up being something that only people who are very privileged can access. And that’s an emergency. And it’s happening.”
Which is why, with her newly found freedom to speak freely, she called for change.
“We just pour our hearts into. We care for them. And so that’s more children on our hearts that weigh on us,” Fox said.
The call for change is all she has left to give the students she adored.