Hello! It’s been ages since I posted. Below is something I wrote before the NC May 16th rally, but I edited it a bit. I will post my speech, my pictures and my reflections on the rally soon. While teachers lead the charge, there is so much that we as parents and the community can do to help….
It happens every Spring Break and many times over the summer. My son and I run into a teacher at the grocery store. It almost feels like a wildlife encounter. Look, son, Magistra in ludo non est. Translation The teacher in not in the elementary school. Suddenly my talkative son is quiet and treats his teacher like they are an escaped animal from the zoo.
To students, seeing a teacher outside of school introduces the strange idea that teachers are real people. They indeed shop for food at local grocery stores, they may have children of their own, they are in fact human. While it might be OK for an eight year old to be a little shocked that teachers are in fact real people. It is in fact not OK for our North Carolina General Assembly to feel this way too. In many ways, this is why teachers marched on May 16th.
It was called the Rally for Respect for a reason. Our teachers are indeed real people. They are neither saints nor sinners. They are professionals. We take their sacrifices for granted day after day. Our state leaders pay a lot of lip service in support of our teachers. However, reverence is not respect. Just like all professionals, teachers just want to do their job well and the resources to make that happen.
We have veteran teachers who have had their pay frozen for years. The NCGA have taken away incentives to stay a teacher in North Carolina. They’ve taken away longevity pay, and they’ve gutted benefits. The NCGA have created a system of merit based pay that highlighted North Carolina’s poverty issues more than highlighted talented teachers. We need raises for our teachers without complicated strings attached. This is how our state can show respect.
Our teachers sometimes work in infested buildings. They have outdated textbooks or no textbooks at all. Our teachers are forced to fill in gaps in funding our state has created. Our low per pupil spending means teachers and even PTA are forced to meet the need for the most basic supplies for our students. The NCGA should invest in our schools. They need to raise our per pupil spending as well as invest in a statewide school bond. That is how our state can show respect.
Above and beyond, teachers are asking to be heard. For too long, teachers have been denied a seat at the table. Teachers deserve to be heard when it comes to curriculum decisions , class size, and testing. They are truly experts in education and deserve a louder voice in how our schools are governed. That is how our state can show respect.
On May 16th our teachers gathered in downtown Raleigh. My son and I joined them. That was one way I showed teachers respect. Our teachers laid out demands to our legislators. I will encourage my elected officials to listen to our teachers. That is another way I plan on showing our teachers respect. Finally, there will be General Assembly members who don’t listen and even some who will continue to show teachers disrespect in the media. I plan on voting them out. That is a way we can all show our teachers respect.