Dear Public School Teacher,
In Norman, this morning, students and parents were frantically preparing for another school year. Lunches were packed, clothing choices were discussed, and bets were laid down on whether we would be late for the first day of school. Thankfully, for the most part, we seemed to do just fine as I watched my two students make their way into your buildings.
As I watched them enter your hallways, I wanted to remind you how much I appreciate everything you do for my two students. From cutting your summer vacation short so you could prepare your rooms, to those times you will be staying up late grading papers, I just wanted you to know that my wife and I appreciate the extra effort you make.
There are moments being a public educator can be discouraging. Public education in Oklahoma has fallen on hard times. For example, I recently discovered that Oklahoma is near the bottom of both spending per student ($7,912, compared to the U.S. average of $10,938) and average teacher salaries ($44,373, compared to the U.S. average of $56,103). For a state that prides itself in supporting our own, our actions sometimes do not match our words.
In addition, as a son of a public educator, I know we parents can often times sound as though we are ungrateful wretches. Parents can be guilty of spouting off condemning remarks before we know all the facts. Our students tell us that you don’t like them or that you are sooooo unfair. Please know that when we come to your classrooms we will make an effort to speak calmly and not rush to judgment, but we would ask the same of you.
Finally, let’s agree we are on the same team, wanting the best for all of the students, not just mine. We know you have one of the most difficult, but most important jobs in America. Therefore, we want you to know we are here to support you and our students. Even though our culture seems to always be shaking our fists in your direction, please know these two parents are reaching out with open arms and outstretched hands.
Thank you for educating my two students and going the extra mile for your profession. My wife and I are committing ourselves to pray for you and your colleagues everyday, so please know you are in our thoughts. On this first day of school, we leave you with the two most precious valuables we have in our lives…our children. Please take care of them and educate them as only you can.
We are eternally grateful for you!
Dad of Two Students