Today is Day 8 of the teacher walkout in Oklahoma. The easier part in all of this, would be to go back to school. I work in Mustang, Oklahoma and everyday that we use after our built in snow days will have to be made up. I receive salary pay that is spread out through 12 months so I can get paid during the summer when school is not in session. I am only paid for the my contract hours worked and no more.
I work two jobs and I also bake cakes on the side. With all of this my Husband’s salary would still be considered our primary income. Before I was married I lived with my mom, because I could not support a house and car payment with my teacher salary. I tell you this to give you a sense of my life as an Oklahoma teacher.
Now on Day 8, Mustang has relinquished all of their snow days. Today is marked as day that will have to be made up so I can get paid and our school can receive funding. Today it would have been easier to just go back to school. To go back into my classroom of 25 Kindergarteners, but I chose not to give up for something I stand for. Yesterday like many days before I went to the capitol to rally for Education. I stood with thousands of educators, students, supporters, and parents to rally in hope of more funding for our schools. The turnout and support has been overwhelming, but witnessing the lack of concern from the senate or the house diminished my hopes. The house voted to not even hear the three bills up for education. As they continue to “wait us out” there is no change.
I am tired and disappointed. As negative thoughts weigh heavy in my mind and that of many educators, somehow a spark of resiliency starts to kindle down deep. Resilience is one of the many qualities of an Oklahoma teacher.
God pressed on me this weekend, “I will never fall or fail you. If you know why you’re standing, you cannot fall.”
I know why I stand,
I stand for the past.
I stand for the future.
I stand for the present.
I stand for the 25 Kindergarteners I have in my classroom.
I stand for the programs, supplies, technology that they don’t have.
I stand for the growing number of students that have been crammed into my classroom over the years.
I stand for my mom, a teacher of 22 years with a masters. That had to teach 20 years to reach 40,000.
I stand for the years I watched her work. A single mom of three; She worked two to three jobs to support us.
My mom wanted a different career when she started, but she chose this career for us, for them.
I stand here as a teacher because of her passion for kids, because of the lives I saw her change.
I stand for my own future kids that I can’t afford to have on a teachers salary.
I stand here for God, He has placed a calling and passion for children.
I stand because I can’t imagine another profession.
I stand here for you, for teachers, who feel like they can’t stand.
I stand for the oppression that has crippled education in our state!!
I know why I stand,
Just try to move me. My feet has been placed on the Rock. It cannot be shaken.
If you know why you are standing you cannot fall!!