Imagine this. You turn on a camera and ask teachers to tell you about the challenges they are facing. No script. No second takes. Just an honest conversation about why they are staying in the classroom; why many of their colleagues are leaving; and why too many of Oklahoma’s brightest young men and women are avoiding the noble profession of teaching all together.
Well, that’s exactly what we did.
If you believe teachers matter, you’ll want to watch and share this video.
Last month, we released a report outlining the struggles teachers face every day in the classroom. The report was the result of a series of comprehensive focus groups of teachers from across the state and it was the first step of many in our Teachers Matter initiative. This video comes on the heels of that report because we wanted you to hear, in their own words and straight from them, what teachers were telling us in those focus groups.
Highlighted in the video are the voices of three teachers working in Oklahoma schools and an Oklahoma City Stand Parent Member Leader. These individuals illuminate the challenges facing students and teachers and shed light on how the state’s critical teacher shortage is having a negative impact on student achievement. They also provide solutions and a desire to have a seat at the table among those working to transform Oklahoma’s schools. As special education teacher Corbie Jackson says in the video “We have to figure out how to balance what [elected leaders] think with what we see” to move forward.
In the months ahead, Stand for Children Oklahoma will continue to lead a public conversation around why Teachers Matter and why focusing on ensuring teachers have the tools and resources necessary to do their job should be Oklahoma’s No. 1 priority. Our mission as an organization is to educate and empower parents, teachers, and community members to demand excellent schools and to ensure policies and funding are reaching classrooms and helping students. We know an effective teacher in every classroom is the surest way to raise student achievement. That’s why Teachers Matter matters most to us and why they should matter to policy makers in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma must immediately have a meaningful discussion on the future of its education system, how we compensate teachers and ensure they have the tools and resources they need to help all students be successful, and an actionable roadmap for how we are going to get there.
As pre-kindergarten teacher Sue Kirk emotionally shares with us in the video, “When we look into the face of a child, we are looking into the face of the future. So we need to stand up for what is best for kids.”