The following is a submission from an educator as part of the Your Soapbox feature, which explores the experiences of educators in North Carolina through their own words. Check out more first person stories here, or if you are an educator, submit your own.
We feel very disrespected.
We feel very disrespected. Uh, we didn’t think there was much more that they could take away from us. Uh, but they’ve taken out a lot of assistant positions. They’ve taken away our masters’ pay, so there’s no incentive for us to… to continue our learning and to… to become better professionals.
It sends a very clear message that our willingness to… to develop, uh, is not appreciated or needed.
We have lost our tenure, which was one of the very few benefits of this profession. Our insurance has gone down and in the meantime since 2008, we’ve had no standard of living increases or raises. We’ve… we’ve been under a freeze for six years. So I continue to get paid the same as someone who just graduated college, and I’ve… I have 6 years of experience and a lot of professional development under my belt.
So when I first started my career, um, I was not married and I did not have a kid.
Today, 6 years later, I have a daughter. My husband has to buy all of our groceries. It’s very humiliating to be a working professional to work 11 hour days in average and to have to uh to split bills in a way that it’s… it’s just humiliating and degrading. In my class I have to take weekly donations or monthly donations from parents for paper. We don’t have any textbooks. There are no funds allocated for textbooks. Um, all the while, we are being told to, to keep pushing kids toward higher test scores, and it seems like test scores are really what is being pushed because of federal funding.
Those of us who want to actually provide the quality education for… for kids to… to help them become contributing citizens of society and… and good people, um, and educated voters, we’re not being valued. So it’s very difficult to keep giving that message to our students when we ourselves are at the ends of our limits.
Seventy one percent of uh, of our voters in North Carolina agree that teachers are underpaid, and they support higher pay for teachers. The legislative has not been uh, really reflecting that message from their constituents, and they have cut our pay instead. Governor McCrory renovated, you know, the bathroom of his mansion while cutting our wages. I mean, the priorities are just not in… not in the right place, and that’s what we are here to say today.
-Anca Stefan, Durham County