I could write all day long and never list all of the things that you do on a daily basis that I am so thankful for! Working side-by-side to provide additional help, loaning lunch money (knowing full well you’ll never see it again), spending weekends along the sidelines of student’s basketball game, soccer game, and band competition. Your students may not realize it now, but ask them when they’re older who believed in them, didn’t give up on them, and changed their course. A teacher will make that line up. You are changing lives. You are allowing your own life to be changed by choosing this field.
Friends, we are under attack. A vocal minority is trying to cheapen our efforts. They overlook our most vulnerable students and schools. They underestimate the amount of heart that is put into the work we do and want to replace it with a dollar amount.
But we are not powerless.
I called my state senator for the first time recently. I was nervous. What would I say? Guys, it was such an easy process. The hardest part was finding a mailbox that wasn’t full.
What do I say?
If you’re an educator: Tell your representative about the amazing things that go on at your school on a daily basis. Tell them about the students you’ve bought a new jacket for or send home with extra food on the weekends and holidays. Tell them about the student you tutor who had never passed a test...until this year. Tell them about helping with FAFSAs and helping with paperwork for dual credit classes. Tell them that you believe in the work of public schools. Ask them to support legislation that is pro- public education. Ask them to vote against legislation that promotes school choice and vouchers.
If you’re a parent: Tell them about the way that your family has been positively impacted by your local public school. Tell them about the teacher that spends extra hours tutoring your kiddo to meet their academic need. Tell them about the teachers that are also at your student’s game, concert, or competition. Tell them about the number of cars in the parking lot when you drop your student off and the number that remain long after you pick your student up. Tell them about the recognition and celebration of your student’s growth. Ask them to support pro-public education legislation. Ask them to keep funding in public education rather than for-profit schools.
If you’re both an educator and a parent: Call them twice! :)
It’s a numbers game. Your call, voicemail, and email really is tallied and your representative is updated daily. It’s not a once and done situation- keep calling! I admit I have never done much to make my voice heard during a legislative session. I’ve never felt like I needed to until now. I am looking to see how I am being represented by my state and national representatives. I will bring this knowledge with me into the voting booth. Can we have some real talk about this? Teachers notoriously have poor voter turnout. We've got to do better. Get out and vote for people who will be best for public education. In the community where I grew up and in the community where I now work, the school system is one of the city's largest employers. There are lots of us and we need to speak up for the great things happening in our schools.
Don’t be discouraged. There is no one in the world who has a job that’s more important than yours. You do it gracefully, often without being appreciated. Keep your head high and do what’s best for kids! You’re what’s best for kids!
Contact Information for Texas Teachers:
State Representatives and Senators
When you contact, be sure to use your personal phone and email address. I make a list on a Post-it (of course I do), and call when I’m in the car.