On April 2nd, the teachers of Oklahoma began to follow in the steps of West Virginia educators, participating in a walkout in hopes of receiving a sufficient education budget for Oklahoma schools. This is the first time in 28 years for this kind of action to take place. The teachers have been marching at the Oklahoma capitol for a week and have plans to continue their strike until their demands have been met.
For the Oklahoma teachers, this march has been much needed, as many teachers teach students with textbooks that are older than most of their high school students and have a shortage of supplies for their classrooms. The latest compromise that Oklahoma Legislature attempted to make was about a $6,000 raise for the teachers last week.
Elementary school teacher and SNU alum Kristen Stangeland is participating in the walkout this week, saying, “I have had a lot of mixed feelings about the walkout. I hate being away from my students, but I also love them enough to know that they are the reason why we are doing the walkout.”
After talking to Stangeland, I wanted to talk to someone that has just started teaching this semester to see if I could get a different perspective. I met up with Caity Teide, an SNU alumni that graduated in December of 2017.
I continued to ask Strangeland about what made her want to be a teacher in the first place and why she is passionate about it. Stangeland answered, “I feel very fortunate because I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love my kids, and I had great teachers myself that me realize what an important job it is. For me it’s more than a job; it’s also a mission field.”
Teide’s opinion on the walkout is similar to many, saying, “Leading up to the walkout I was very nervous and unsure about the whole thing. After learning more and talking about it with friends and family, I have been in full support of it. I have been at the capitol every day last week and plan to keep coming back.”
The teacher walkout inspires many to become more passionate about their profession, including Teide. As she is new to the classroom, I wanted to hear about the ways in which this experience has shaped her. She responded, “In regards to how this will affect me and finally having a classroom of my own next year, this only makes me want to be a teacher that much more.”
You can continue to catch up on all the news surrounding the teacher walkout by watching local Oklahoma news stations.