Everyone knows that it’s tough to be a teacher in America. It’s a pretty thankless job. You have large class sizes, a shoestring budget, little pay, angry parents, 99% of students don’t even want to be there, and there’s miles and miles of red tape to cut through. Most people become teachers because they simply love the job. Love, however, does not pay the bills.
That said, when your state’s “teacher of the year” packs up and leaves, you gotta wonder if there just may be a problem with your education system.
Shawn Sheehan, formerly of Oklahoma, was named the state’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. He also ran for public office that year in the name of saving Oklahoma’s slow train wreck of an education system. There are issues with outdated textbooks, more stress, bigger classrooms, little to no support, etc. etc. Despite losing his campaign, Sheehan hoped that change was just around the corner.
NPR reports: …”things went south pretty quickly,” Sheehan says. He held his breath while lawmakers duked it out, but in the end, there was no additional money for public schools, or their teachers.
Now he says he just can’t make ends meet anymore teaching in Norman, Okla.
So, he’s leaving for Texas.
“It feels good because I know I’m doing the right thing for my family, but it also feels sad.”
In Texas, he and his wife [also a teacher] will see an increase of about $40,000 a year. “We’re starting at numbers that we will never ever see in this state as educators.”
Jon Hazell, this year’s teacher of the year, says he would ask Sheehan: If more teachers leave, who is going to teach Oklahoma’s children?
“Who’s going to mentor them? And who’s going to bring them up in this climate that’s really tough?”
I believe that Mr. Sheehan’s response to Mr. Hazell can be implied loud and clear: “F*** you, pay me.”
To be honest, “f*** you, pay me” is probably the only attitude that teachers will need to take on if they want to be properly compensated for the job.
On the bright side, Texas has just gotten two new, and probably pretty awesome teachers! I know it’s hard for a backwater like Oklahoma to compete with us, but hopefully they’ll get their crap together soon.