Teacher pay raise long overdue

Oklahoman Published: May 9, 2014

I began teaching 10 years ago, the last time Oklahoma teachers got a pay raise, the purpose of which was to catch us up to the national average. However, this raise didn’t budge us from the bottom. I remember getting my first paycheck after several weeks of loving every day of my teaching service and thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe I actually get paid for this!”

At that time, it was a reasonable salary to me. I still enjoy every day of service to these kids, but with the cost of living now being double what it was then, my family can hardly get by on teacher salary. It seems lawmakers begrudge us every penny that we make while at the same time raising the standards at which they expect us to perform.

It’s irritating to hear criticism from those (lawmakers and public) who easily make double my salary who would not consider juggling 25-plus children at one time and being responsible for their mastering of rigorous assessments. They haven't experienced the destitution that my family has at times. They were educated by the teachers of this great state!

Teachers don’t just work a small part of the year. We put in 10-hour days, usually for at least 10 months a year, contrary to popular belief. We do it for the kids and for our future. Please find a place in the Oklahoma budget to increase teacher pay.

Melissa Walters, Coleman

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