So on last Tuesday night when it became very clear that SQ 779 wasn’t going to pass, I started going through a wide range of emotion. From anger to uncontrollable sadness I couldn’t even handle. I cry a lot all the time anyway, so it should come as no surprise that I cried. Yes, a pay raise was a nice silver lining, but it was the idea that education was something important in this state. But it didn’t happen. I wasn’t a huge fan of 779 from the get go, but it was the only viable option to raise teacher salaries and to raise classroom spending. The real reason I wanted SQ 779 to pass was so our legislature could see just how much education was respected in this state. Because that is at an all time low...
Just while I was in line to vote, I had to listen to a man screaming loudly, “Teachers are lazy and need get real jobs and stop complaining.” I told him I was a teacher, and I was uncomfortable and hurt by his comments about my profession and myself. This was a relief to the people around me until he called me a dumb bitch and repeated his whole get a real job crap. This is the “respect” we are getting. The greatest part of this story was not his complete jerkness but the fact that when he got up to get his ballot, he was shocked he had to register beforehand. Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to hate on teachers--you might just need one.
What makes it worse...the argument that seems to have been made was people didn’t want to raise the sales tax a penny, but wanted to have the legislatures fix the problem of low teacher pay and educational funding. But the same exact people that started, created, made it all happen were re-elected! For the life of me I couldn’t understand it, and I still don’t.
I’m hearing and seeing so many happy hopeful educators and supporters of educators looking forward to this upcoming legislative session. Now normally I would be the girl riding my unicorn in a sea of glittery rainbows and throwing donuts to the people, but I’m not buying the Pollyanna let’s hold hands and sing campfire songs business. The amount of ways teachers have been given the middle finger lately is alarming. It sucks. And I have cried and consumed so many comfort donuts, it is out of control. I would love it if our legislatures really and truly come up with a plan and listened to those they represented instead of pursuing their own personal agendas of passing through legislation that is ultimately going to be ruled unconstitutional, but I’m not holding my breath.
So what comes next...I don’t know. I’m single, don’t own property in Oklahoma, and my family doesn’t live here, so it makes sense I can go to back home and make more money. But I love my job, my admin, my students, my co-workers, my community, and the life I have built here. I don’t know what comes next, but I what I do know is I will still wake up and teach my students how to sing and be better people. I’m going to stop writing about politics because it stresses me out, and I’m going to focus my attention on this blog towards building up other teachers and sharing classroom resources. This might get better...but I’m just not so sure.
*Side note to every person that has pulled me aside and told me I matter and what I do matters: thank you! You make me believe in unicorns again.*