Protecting Our Future Generations

This blog will basically be “my two cents” on a current topic in our state. I hope you don’t mind. However, this topic is near and dear to my heart because of two of the most precious people in my life. Here goes…

Last night, I went to our Edmond North Orchestra Booster Club meeting, and our fantastic conductor was absolutely distraught. He was telling us about all of his close music teacher friends (one of whom was our former orchestra conductor) who have left the profession within the last two years because of low salaries. In fact, our conductor wouldn’t be able to teach if his lovely wife didn’t have a fantastic job. He really doesn’t want the teacher strike, especially since his students are the ones hurt by the lack of practice time at school, but respect and a decent wage are necessary.

pencil sketch of a yearbook

I don’t know about you, but I can actually remember ALL of my elementary school teachers. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ann, was a private teacher, and we went to kindergarten at her house. We went half day, but we got to eat lunch before we went home. My friend, Blake Lay, always took mayonnaise sandwiches, and my mother wouldn’t let me eat them. She insisted that I have SOMETHING on there besides mayonnaise – cheese, lunch meat, anything.

In first grade, I had Mrs. Moore. She was tall and thin with a fantastic smile and laugh. I remember having coloring pages of letters, and I always wanted to use neon pink. I loved reading in her class, and we got to take these fun little tests after we read stories.

In second grade, I had Mrs. Oliver. She was an older lady, and she was so sweet. My friend Blake was in this class with me, too. One day, a girl in class named Tisha Bradley, passed Blake a note. It read:

Dear Black (obviously Tisha couldn’t spell),

Do you love me? Please circle yes or no

Tisha

Well, Mrs. Oliver read it to the whole class, and my friend Blake was mortified!

Picture of a yearbook

In third grade, I had Mrs. Adair. I remember being assigned duties every day like leading the pledge, praying before lunch, leading the lunch line, etc. We read Ramona the Pest and other fantastic Beverly Cleary books after lunch every day. We practiced our cursive writing, and one of my friends, Lana Downey, was ambidextrous. She wrote just as beautifully with her right hand as with her left. I was so jealous! I also remember reciting multiplication tables over and over and over again to Mrs. Adair in the back of the room. I had chicken pox in third grade, and when I came back to school, Mrs. Adair met me at the door, hugged my neck, and told me that Mrs. Oliver had died while I had been sick. I cried my eyes out while Mrs. Adair hugged me.

In fourth grade, I had Mrs. Webb. She was just flat mean. However, I got glasses in fourth grade. Sam Parks made fun of me and called me “four eyes”, and Mrs. Webb made him stay in at recess for write-offs (do y’all remember having write-offs for punishment?). He had to write on the blackboard 100 times: I will not call Mollyann four eyes. I liked her for that even though she was pretty mean otherwise.

In fifth grade, I had Mrs. Tripp. Her room was upstairs, and we all thought we were big stuff since we got to move away from the little kids. I had to get a new prescription for glasses that year because I kept getting headaches after my eyes changed.

In sixth grade, I had Mrs. Lyles. We memorized Robert Frost poems, and I can still recite them. I got my only spanking in school in her classroom. Blake, Jill Crews, and I were talking, and Mrs. Lyles told us to be quiet. We were being silly, though, and we kept talking. She took all of us out in the hall, bent us over, and gave us all 3 licks. She marched us to the principal’s office, and he called our parents. When I got home, Daddy gave me 3 more licks, and his hurt way more!

Robert Frost quote

We moved in 6th grade, so I had Mrs. Pettite that year as well. She had red hair, and we had this really loud boy in our class. She used to make him sit by himself so he couldn’t talk. I got to walk home from school once I started at Reeves-Rogers, and I thought that was pretty awesome.

Obviously, I remember multiple other fantastic teachers though my school career, but if I talked about all of them, I would need to write an entire book (besides which I can’t actually remember all of them). My point to taking you down Memory Lane – teachers impact lives. They either instill a love for learning in us that never goes away, or they can turn us off to learning and school, which can be hard to overcome.

My kids have had some awesome teachers in their school careers as well. We have had a couple that were less than stellar, too. I think it is vitally important for us to recruit and retain our good teachers. They are impacting our future generations. To keep them, we must show them the respect that they deserve for a hard job that is well done, and we need to reward them financially. We need to enable them to reward when kudos are deserved, and we need to allow them to punish effectively when required. We have strapped their hands, and they are now held hostage by kids and their parents. They need to be allowed to control their classrooms without fear of losing their jobs.

Our teachers are INCREDIBLY important rainmakers in our children’s lives. We must figure out a way to reward them for this hard job. Please contact legislators and tell them to work together to make this happen. Let’s see if we can do this without a strike that hurts our kids and our teachers.

Oklahoma Teacher's strike 1990

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