Shawna Mott-Wright: The precarious finances of an Oklahoma classroom teacher
By: Shawna Mott-Wright
Originally published here http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/opinionfeatured/shawna-mott-wright-the-precarious-finances-of-an-oklahoma-classroom/article_993c04a4-b158-57bd-81e9-ca086191ab98.html
The holiday season traditionally marks the start of a time to celebrate the family and friends who make our lives so rich. For many, it means it’s time to start hanging holiday decorations, write lists for Christmas shopping, and make plans to visit with loved ones both near and far. For our teachers, it means that their already very limited funds have to stretch even further to make the season bright for their children and families.
Imagine that you are a parent of two and you’ve just received your monthly paycheck. After you pay your bills to keep your family housed and fed, you have $268.78 left, or just under $3 per person per day until your next paycheck. What will you do if you get a flat tire? What if you have to cover the co-pay on an emergency room visit? While you’re figuring that out, do you know which bills you can pay late without interruption of service or penalty fees? How much credit is available on your MasterCard?
Oklahoma teachers navigate difficult questions like these every day. And while they’re worrying about making ends meet, your child’s teachers are also creating lesson plans, grading essays, scoring tests, reviewing performance data, tutoring students after school, and meeting with parents to discuss questions or concerns. They’re spending their own money on classroom supplies to enrich your child’s learning. It’s also likely that they have to get it all done with enough time left to get over to job No. 2 by the start of shift. I know teachers who keep grueling schedules like these — and have done so for years with no end in sight.
Nobody enters the teaching profession because they want to get rich. They do it for love of the work: for that “lightbulb” moment when a child just gets it, for the boundless opportunities Badass Teachers Association: