Teachers in Oklahoma walked out of the classroom this past week, and their low salaries were not the only reason. They were protesting the conditions under which they are teaching- outdated and crumbling textbooks, broken student furniture, lack of supplies for students, and more. If you have not seen any of these pictures, take a look at this article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/04/oklahoma-teachers-share-photos-broken-chairs-crumbling-outdated-textbooks/486267002/
For years, these teachers have been trying to bring out the best in their students under terrible conditions.I feel sure that there were many discussions of how both teachers and students felt devalued and disrespected by the school board and those who provide funds for materials. I can remember years ago when our TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD books were in terrible condition. We had some back ordered, but I had to hand out the ones I had taped together, or in some cases, taped, and then circled with a rubber band. The kids felt like they were not important enough to receive a “real” book, not one that had been put together by me. To set the example of learning through hardship, I used the same paperback edition of MOCKINGBIRD for 35 years. No binding was left; the entire book was loose leaf, bound by 2 rubber bands. I could literally “take out chapter 12.” This book held all my notes, all my references, and all of the important highlighted parts to review. I always told the kids that it is not the condition of the book that is important, but what is inside the book. My point is this: no one likes to feel devalued and unimportant. The students in the Oklahoma schools do not even have decent chairs to sit on, and their books are both outdated and falling apart.
Can you imagine working in a business that has demanding expectations, and then given no resources with which to meet those expectations? That is exactly what the Oklahoma teachers have been doing for years!
I applaud these teachers for standing up for themselves and their students! It is time! Educating our students today so they can become leaders of tomorrow is paramount.
I hope the teachers get everything they deserve, and more – including the respect of the community.