“Don’t Ever Downplay My Accomplishments”

The Exit Interview premiers with the story of Sataira Douglas.

When she came into the teaching game, Sataira was a highly regarded rising star in teaching. In a profession that struggles to recruit, let alone retain, Black teachers, Sataira was sought after by multiple school districts.

The situation decayed quickly. Microaggressions and macroaggressions. Gaslighting. Frozen out by colleagues. Rumors. Blamed for colleagues health problems. Invisible labor. The stress on family and community members who watched her struggle and still hold her head high. Belittled publicly in front of colleagues.

And still, Sataira came to work. Told herself “it could be worse.” Worried what would happen to her students if she left. Staying for a community of parents and children that she felt a bond with. Hold your head down. Just do your job.

And yet, “I knew I was going to quit by October.”

But through the pain and professional harm done to her, Sataira found a way to rise. To discover her power. To learn exactly how much was too much.

3 comments on ““Don’t Ever Downplay My Accomplishments”

  1. Jody Mier says:

    Not a bipoc, but an ally. Thank you so much for this. Third year teacher and I dunno how much longer. I’ve been struggling. I am so miserable. I love teaching kids, but it’s the grown-ups destroying the joy of learning and teaching.

    This episode got me. I wish I could shake Ms. Douglas’s hand and thank her. I too suffer anxiety/depression from this job. I’m not the only one. Wish I had a grain of her power!

    My experience has been awful as well. I have a grievance under my belt due to mass bullying by a supervisor–such as being told I had a certain neurological disorder, being publicly shamed for test scores, and unfortunately, so much more. I am so unsupported and have been fumbling in the dark.

    I went into this so naive. I look at my original employee badge and see the proud person that finally graduated college and is about to enter a career to be proud of. Now? I feel like I’m selling my soul bit by bit, every week to the corrupt system of public education. I see that pipeline and I’m like an employee at Waterworld guiding kids on when to go down “the slide.”

    I don’t want to disappoint my family by quitting.
    It feels so wrong what we do to kids. We gotta create something new.

    Thanks. This episode made me feel normal. Appreciate your work.

  2. Jody Mier says:

    I also would like to recognize that I entirely overlooked Ms. Douglas’s experience as a woman of color. I did not intend to minimize her experiences. I found her strength inspiring as she recognized and called out inappropriateness. Please accept my humble apologies.

    1. Gerardo Munoz says:

      Thank you for engaging, Jody! We appreciate you naming this; clearly, the teaching profession grinds down teachers of ALL colors, and as you imply in this second comment, Black teachers face the same grind that is colored (if you will) by anti-Black racism that is endemic in our society. We are very pleased to have brought a story to you and our listeners that resonates deeply.

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