Diane Tirado, a former eighth grade history teacher at Westgate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, FL, found herself in a disappointing conundrum this past September. According to a now-viral Facebook post, after giving her class a two-week period to complete an explorer notebook project, several of her pupils didn't ever turn in the assignment.
"I'm so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it's not real."
Because no work was done, Diane gave the students in question zeros, which they rightfully deserved. However, Westgate K-8 School has a "no zero policy" — meaning the lowest grade a teacher could give is a 50 percent — whether the work was completed or not. After refusing to award her students a 50 percent for no reason, she was fired. Rather than leaving with her tail between her legs, she stood up for what she believed in.
She left a message on the whiteboard for her kids reading, "Bye Kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life. I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50 percent for not handing anything in."
In a follow-up comment, she explained that she left a parting note because she'd likely never see her students again. "I just wanted to say goodbye," she said. "This happened on a Friday at 3:30 p.m. I would not see most of my students again."
For Diane, the importance of giving kids credit for the effort they've actually put in is paramount to helping kids be successful later in life. After all, things are rarely given out for free in adulthood. "A grade in Mrs. Tirado's class is earned," she said. "I'm so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it's not real. The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. Teaching should not be this hard."