Preparing for the upcoming elections, I felt compelled to revisit the Oklahoma teacher walkout from last Spring. Along with thousands of my fellow Oklahoma public school teachers, my family, as well as parents and students, I spent all but one day of that two-week period circling our state capitol. Marching, singing, listening, laughing, crying, carrying my protest signs.
When it was over and we returned to school, teachers met together first. We walked into our performing arts center, welcomed back by administrators, cheerleaders, parents and students. As I walked in, one of my sweet students came running with a big smile and hug. I was not prepared for this simple, yet powerful expression of gratitude. My tears were uncontrollable.
When I cast my votes, I will be remembering those two weeks and that day we returned. I will be considering more than just a party affiliation. I will be looking for those who truly value and support public education, because that is what every child deserves.
We walked out of our classrooms-not out on our students
We walked out on disrespect-not out on our responsibility
The decision was tough-the reality tougher
Walking in circles-day after day
Making our voices heard-even when few listened
We walked back to our classrooms-exhausted, heads held high
We walked into the voting booth-remembering those who listened
Though our influence was evident-our work is not done
When the booth opens again-we will continue to speak
Fighting for a better future-Fighting for the future of our kids