Morale was low at school today.
Oklahoma currently is last in teacher pay. As a consequence, I know many teachers who have to hold a second job to make ends meet. I also know of several talented teachers who have left the profession for higher paying jobs. Furthermore, I see people who are not quite ready to teach being placed in the classroom because it’s not like we have people lining up for this job.
Yesterday, voters had the chance to give teachers a $5,000 raise by increasing sales tax by another penny on each dollar (not ideal, I get it, but our legislature has come up with NOTHING better). Despite early polls that made it look like SQ 779 was going to pass easily, it did not.
It’s a blow.
When I told people that the reason I supported the proposition was not simply to give myself a raise, they just laughed at me. But it’s the truth. The real reason I supported it was because of the aforementioned situations. Because I want to send my kid to a public school in Oklahoma, but if he doesn’t have qualified teachers, I will be forced to rethink that.
So, morale was low.
I’m emotionally spent. Today was any typical day: I used my plan to talk to a girl who’s suspended who has missed my class twenty-one times to figure out how to get her back on track. I spent my lunch answering question after question in preparation for tomorrow’s test. After school, I wrote out full solutions and sent them to my kids…and then a few minutes ago received a message saying, “When are you going to send the solutions?” I sent them four hours ago. I have verification.
This is a job we never leave. During the week, we spend more time with our classroom kids than we do with our own kids. We are trying to serve more and more kids every year, many of whom have very little support at home. And so, we take it upon ourselves to be their home. And it’s hard, hard work.
But we love it.
And so we keep showing up.
And we would have liked to see Oklahoma voters send a message yesterday saying, “We see you. We see our kids. And we’ve got your back.”
We didn’t get that affirmation yesterday.
But we will continue to show up for our kids. We will continue to give. We will continue to support. We will continue to love. Because we belong to our kids and they belong to us.
And even if voters won’t support our kids, we will.
Oklahoma teachers–I love you. I am so honored to teach with you. I respect you. And I’m so, so sorry our state didn’t show up yesterday.