A former educator who shared her resignation letter with the world is hoping her move sparks change within the system.
Sariah McCall loved being a teacher. The best part of the job, she said, were her students in all their hilarity.
She laughed out loud recalling her favorite classroom memories to "Good Morning America," like when her second graders found a tire behind the baseball field and decided to keep it as their class pet -- or when they'd have "snowball fights" using crumpled-up paper because they didn't see snowfall in Georgia.
Still, the 28-year-old respectfully resigned from her elementary school job on Nov. 5, 2018. At the time, McCall was working in South Carolina.
"It was just everything all together. I just couldn't take it anymore," McCall, a resident of Savannah, Georgia, told "GMA." "It kept getting harder. It was, 'do more with less time, do more with less money.' And all the school shootings added the element of stress on a job where you never expected that to be your reality. It was the funneling of money from my paycheck back into my classroom."
She continued, "It's trying to do everything for you children, but you kept hitting a roadblock or dead end."
McCall said that when she was teaching, she'd often dip into her own pocket to buy class materials and meals for her students, among other items. The costs often exceeded the estimated $275 supply check given to her through the state. When she needed to set up her classroom or prep lesson plans, she worked long hours and off-season.
McCall was approaching her fifth year of teaching when the job's demands took a toll on her. She resigned and opted to wait tables instead.
On April 16, The Washington Post published a copy of her 905-word resignation letter addressed to Charleston County School District superintendent Gerrita Postlewait.
McCall said a friend sent the letter to the paper on her behalf.
It is because I love teaching that I will not tolerate what the state is doing to the educators and children under its care.
"[T]he only things keeping me from resigning until now were the love I have for my students, the love I have for the act of teaching, and the heavy guilt I feel for my children being negatively impacted by this in any way: emotionally or academically," McCall wrote in the document. "However, I cannot set myself on fire to keep someone else warm."
McCall went on, writing how she felt there were signs of "systematic abuse and neglect of educators" in South Carolina, as well as a lack of support.
"It is because I love teaching that I will not tolerate what the state is doing to the educators and children under its care. Unfortunately these issues will not be resolved until the perception of public education and other state social services change. Then people will band together for the common goal of elevating these necessary resources to the status of respect they deserve. The public has to demand that they receive the time, funding, and resources they require," she added.
McCall, who was part of the #SCforED movement to improve the educational system, said her eye-opening words to Dr. Postlewait proved relatable to others who shared it online.
"It felt like if it mattered to all these other people then it was bigger than me," McCall said of fellow teachers who read it. "The response has been been overwhelmingly positive, and I hope that means change will actually come from it."
In a statement to "GMA," Postlewait said she was surprised when she received McCall's letter, and asked her to reconsider and if time off would help her.
Postlewait went on to say many of McCall's concerns are unfortunately shared by others in the teaching profession.
"Teaching is very difficult work, and teachers are generally neither appreciated nor compensated at a level that would speak to the important job that they have," Postlewait noted. "I don’t think it is any surprise that fewer people want to go into teaching. The recent legislative debates about teaching conditions and salaries cut to the heart of what is really on the frontline of education every day."
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She continued, "I wish we could have saved Sariah [McCall] for the teaching profession and for the young students she would have impacted. To the best of our ability, we simply must find a way to change the conditions that teachers face in order to have any chance to change the lives of the students we serve."
While McCall still feels guilty for leaving her students behind, she now lives an irreplaceable life of higher quality -- physically, emotionally and financially, she said.
And although she's no longer teaching inside the classroom, McCall stands by the cause to improve public education through sharing her resignation letter and by speaking at #SCforED rallies.
"I want decisions for teachers to be made by teachers," she noted. "You don't know [the hardships] unless you're doing the job, but everybody has an opinion about it. I was wanting to raise that awareness that this is serious what we're dealing with. We're not just whining. This is real."