We voted to walk out on Monday.
It's needed. Very much needed. But also a little scary.
When we voted I almost felt like I was part of the revolutionary period. Although they had much more at stake than a measly walk. Call me Silence Dogood.
Things hung on emotions. People were fired up. People were tired of the lack of movement toward total funding of education. Many, as I, were confused about what we could say and who we could say it too. No one wants to get, "in trouble."
But the state of education is in massive trouble. Like a coronary about to kill us all. On one side of me a teacher who scanned in, and referenced, 65 artifacts for her TPEP. On her own time. On her own dime. And yet it is required in order to continue teaching. On the other side is my student teacher who just accepted her first job. She had to fork out $300 to prove she could teach via a portfolio system ran by a stranger. Again, many hours, late nights, incredible amounts of stress and SHE had to pay for it. In addition to the tests she already paid for--to show her competence on entrance, and exit, of her chosen field of education.
I would ask her, "Are you sure? Are you really sure you want to teach?" Please don't think poorly of me. It's a field I love. I love setting the stage for my students educational experience as their kindergarten teacher, but I don't love how the hoops keep increasing, always a little harder to jump through, in the so called name of competence.
And so we are walking Monday to say, "Hey Washington state legislators: Enough is enough." We expect you to figure out your budget, as so many of us do, and fund your paramount duty to education. We are where it starts. We are the sole stable adult for so many students. We are the rock that they cling to. We are their mentor, their teacher, their friend, and, in reality, a quasi-parent. We have them 7 hours a day, 180 days a year. We have the ability to make a HUGE difference in their life. And you better believe it will impact them the rest of their days.
So fund it. Get on it. Stop making Washington a state on the bottom of every list, and start putting it at the top. Fund smaller class sizes because it's right and it works. And if you don't believe me, come to my class any day of the week and I will prove it to you. Provide equitable funding to all schools so that those in Bellevue AND those in Ellensburg all have 1-1 devices. Where you live shouldn't determine the quality of your education. And for the love of God return teacher pay back where it should be. Our OWN children shouldn't have to be on public assistance because the annual increase never returned, and because the amount given for healthcare is so diminutive that it will not cover a teacher, let alone a child.
And while you are at it, when it comes to teacher legislation and hoops, follow the golden rule: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto Yourself. I don't see any other government employee uploading 65 pieces of evidence. I don't see any other government employee staying at work until 10 at night writing substitute teacher plans when they have to be gone the next day. I don't see any other government employee paying, out of pocket, to prove their worth. I don't see any other government employee buying glue sticks and tissues (GLUESTICKS AND TISSUES!!!) because it's the end of the school year and we are all out. So why do it to teachers?
I'm all about accountability. I'm very much into purging the few teachers that need to be. I'm not into doing it on my own time that should be spent with my family and with my own money that is needed to live.
Thanks for listening.