Using My Teacher Voice

SC residents: Whether you currently have children in K-12 or not, please talk to your teacher friends about the needs of public school children and the educators who work hard to support them.
I am so disheartened by comments I’m reading on the FB page for The State newspaper and in the comment section of online articles. Many who are not in education feel like it’s an “us vs. them” situation. Teachers are not greedy or lazy. We do not get a 3 month vacation. We are contracted to work 190 days. We are paid for those over 12 months. And real talk, summer break is 2 months for educators, not three.

To be honest, I don’t know a single teacher who doesn’t do some type of professional development – taking college-level courses, attending district/state training, participating in a professional learning community – over the summer. And I know way too many teachers who take on extra responsibilities/jobs during those two months just to make ends meet.

When we use our unified “teacher voice” to call attention to the low pay and other issues we are not saying that other people are not underpaid. South Carolina ranks 40th in the nation for wages. We are
all underpaid. Educators just happen to be fed up enough with public schools being underfunded for the last 10 years that we have decided to collectively bring attention to the problems plaguing public education in South Carolina – including the low pay given the amount of schooling and continuing education required.

Please, I implore you, find an educator (and that’s ANYone who works in a school building) to sit down and talk with you about the state of our public education and why the bill being pushed through the SC Senate is not a bill that will help. While there are some in the profession who just need to go on ‘head and retire, those of us who fiercely love our profession and the children we teach far outnumber them. We love working with the future but we are tired and fed up with not being treated (includes pay) like the professionals we are.

On Wednesday, May 1st, I had the joy and honor to participate in a historic march and rally with over 10,000 other supporters of public schools in South Carolina. I pray that the 84-page bill, H.3795 does not pass the Senate and that lawmakers will not only welcome our visits to the State House as they did in the early months of the year but actually listen to our input as they overhaul public education next year and the years to come.