A Chicago Teacher Responds to a Principal’s “Love Letter”

A couple weeks ago I posted a video of a statement I delivered at the City Club of Chicago.  The post was titled “A Love Letter to Chicago’s Teachers.”  Yesterday, a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher sent me a response to that post. The teacher did not leave a name.  Her writing extended the “love letter” metaphor to places I never imagined. Despite my perceived public persona I am shy to my core; so I felt awkward and somewhat uncomfortable reading the parts of the letter that applied to me and my actions. However, the section in which the teacher applied the metaphor to her relationship to Chicago Public Schools is powerful.  She writes, “He (CPS) is abusive. He constantly threatens to quit me. He reminds me annually that I can be easily replaced by someone younger, cheaper and less experienced.”

That section is so brutally candid, direct, and insightful that I felt it was worth posting as its own blog entry.  The letter is as follows:


My Dearest Troy,
I’ve been reading and listening to your love letter over and over the last few weeks. Your passion is contagious. Your sweet words, hard and true, light the darkness in my heart; the light I had forgotten. Although, your words I hold dear to my heart…I cannot leave my man (CPS). He provides for me…without him…I don’t know how I would be able to feed my kids. Yes, he is abusive…He constantly threatens to quit me. He reminds me annually that I can be easily replaced by someone younger, cheaper and less experienced. He doesn’t respect me…in fact he constantly belittles me with tests that constantly change and evaluations that are subjective and punitive…as if I haven’t proven that I am worthy or good enough despite the years that I have sacrificed for our relationship. He sends people to check up on me in hopes of catching me doing wrong.

He seems to forget, I committed to this because of my love for him and our children, despite the fact that I’m living paycheck to paycheck, constantly belittled and disrespected. I even found receipts in his pocket for millions. He can’t vouch for where the money went and my heart is saddened as he claims he has no money for me and the kids, but he continues to spend money that he cannot explain. The lipstick on his collar…the Supes rendezvous crushes me and the money and support he gives to his charters…his mistresses…drain me and starves our kids of resources they deserve.

The truth is Troy, I dream about your words …. I hope that those words will help me make it through…until all these wrongs are righted. I want to have faith in my man…but I think it’s too late for him. He is constantly breaking my spirit, killing me softly with each word…each mandate…each new Barbara, Forrest, and Jean Claude. And so, I must move on Troy. I hear you … and I’m with you….but I’m not ready to leave just yet. Check back in a few months. I’m preparing…calculating for the right time…to show him…I will not be belittled, put down, and threatened. I will not be ignored. Just a matter of time….and I hope that change will come…but in the meantime know that your fight and your love…keeps me going in the end.

Thank you for the letter.

Warmest Love,
A CPS Teacher


The original 7-minute video of the “Love Letter” this teacher is referring to is below.

Email: TroyLaRaviere@gmail.com
Twitter: @troylaraviere
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/troylaraviere

6 thoughts on “A Chicago Teacher Responds to a Principal’s “Love Letter”

    1. I wish more educators had the courage that you have displayed along with a few others have shown and have paid dearly for speaking up. It’s amazing how teachers and principals will sit back and say nothing and/or support each other by saying out loud on how many of the behaviors and policies that have been forced down the throats of educators, students and their parents are nothing more than bullying tactics that have enriched their political connected associates. More educators need to grow a spine and fight against what is happening with education and how educators, especially teachers are treated as they do their job to the best of their abilities. Most educators seek no glory or recognition. Teachers are not the enemy. We should not be seen, either as the ones who are on the bottom of the food chain and be easily tossed aside. The public see how devalued educators are in our society and have decided that becoming an educators may not be the right fit for them. No wonder we have a growing teachers’ shortage.

  1. There is no teacher shortage in Illinois where this district lies. In fact, there are literally 5,000 applicants for every opening, which is why I had to leave the state in order to find work. If Illinois ever had a teacher shortage, maybe things might change, but for now, it’s an employer’s market. Illinois is the number one state in the union from which residents are fleeing. They take their children with them, so now there are far too many teachers and not enough jobs.

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