via Jessica Gentry / Facebook

Teachers in modern-day America face a whole host of problems. Under-funded schools, low pay, union busting, an overemphasis on standardized testing, and children who are addicted to technology.

But it seems the biggest problem for many teachers is dealing with parents.

"Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list 'issues with parents' as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel," Ron Clark, motivation speaker and author of five,books on education, said in a CNN editorial.

"Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges," Clark continued.

Jessica Gentry, a former kindergarten teacher for 12 years at at Stone Spring Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, wrote a viral Facebook thread about why she's left the profession and says that parents were a major reason.

"I think it's easier for people to believe that I left teaching because of the lousy pay," she wrote in a post last June that received over 270,000 reactions and 220,000 shares.

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"It was easier for my former HR director to believe it was because I found something that I was more passionate about. Some would allow them to assume that... let them be comfortable in their assumptions because your truth may lead to discomfort of others," she continued.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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