I had the privilege of participating in the AZ Teacher Walkout a couple of weeks ago. And I am going to be honest with you before I continue: I did return to work for the last three days of the walkout. I returned to work because I needed to save my days off. In my district the walkout reached a point where teachers had to start using their days off in order to continue participating. I chose to save my last 4 days for the end of the school year so that I could use them to take my car in to get serviced (which it desperately needs) and to start packing up my house for when I move next month. Going into work on these days without kids proved to be an opportunity for me to begin cleaning out my classroom. And those days spent cleaning my classroom really helped put things into perspective for me.
Even though I had been walking with my fellow teachers I had never had the amount of commitment some of my colleagues did. This was for one simple reason: I am leaving the state. I am not leaving the state because of my job. I am leaving because it is in my best interest to be closer to family and to go to graduate school. It has occurred to me that the fact that I am leaving the state gives me a more objective view of the walkout. This is because THE RAISE DOES NOT APPLY TO ME. I will receive no money as a result of the walkout and I chose to participate any way.
I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal but it’s important for me to make m reasons for supporting the walkout clear. I did it for my colleagues and my friends. They deserve a raise and so do the kids. The first picture I’ve posted is a picture of what my classroom looks like when I fund it myself. It’s bright, it’s fun and it reflects me as a teacher. The second picture is what my classroom looks like when I remove everything that I purchased myself. Which do you prefer?
The need for funding goes beyond just making a classroom pretty, it’s about making sure that students and teachers as working with equipment that works. My desk has one leg that isn’t attached (it’s literally just standing there and it falls all the time, and will take my desk with it one of these days). I have also had three broken student desks this year, and there is a forth that is still being used because without it I wouldn’t have enough desks for my kids. The funding is for supplies as well. Yes, a lot is donated every year and we are so grateful, but it’s not enough. If teachers used only what was donated there would probably be nothing left by Christmas. Teachers are dipping into their own pockets for these supplies, and has happy as most of them are to do it, they shouldn’t have to.
“Teacher Tired” is a term that shouldn’t exist because teachers are working multiple jobs or are spending their free time working on school. Teachers should be valued as much as a football play or an actress. Teachers shouldn’t be scared to ask for what they need, or ashamed by how much they make.
Teachers and schools are the future and if you are too small-minded to see this then you are part of the problem.