Pike County Teacher
I am not a protestor. I WANT to live a quiet life. I had been uninvolved in the worries of bureaucracy. “Let the bigwigs in Frankfort handle it, they will take care of teachers because we take care of kids.” That was always my mantra. But as more and more information began spiraling out of control about our pension crisis, I began to see that was not the case.
For 15 years, I have enjoyed my career as a teacher. However, these last few years have been grueling. Not because of the workload; I have accepted that changes happen and more is required. Not in the lack of cost of living pay increases; our family is making it when others in our community struggle. I have been thrown into this upheaval because the institution that once valued my profession as honorable, has now turned its back on me and others like me and are trying to strip away promises of a secure future. This is unacceptable and troubling.
This caused me and a group of my colleagues in Pike County to take action. It started out as a Facebook group called Pike County Strong. We found ourselves at the tip of the spear of a revolution. Very quickly, we had high ranking officials come and meet with us directly and request our input on how to get other groups to unite and come together. Other groups began popping up across the state like wildfire. It led to groups such as this, ordinary people stepping out of our comfort zone to fight for each other, our students, and futures. Both theirs and ours. A fight all over the 120 counties of this Commonwealth that we all hold so dear.
I am not a protester, but have found through this I am a defender of what is right, a unifier of those that think their voices are too small, and a believer in the truth that a great education should be a right of everyone, not just those that can be accepted at a charter school.
I didn’t desire these roles. However, when you see that your livelihood and the future of your family rests in the balance, a change in you happens. You believe that you can make a difference. Many of our teachers across Kentucky are beginning to understand that very truth. Many, like me, don’t seek the role of protester, advocate, or defender. Nevertheless, here we are. The most important roles we play now are simple. Supporter. Educator. Voter. These come more naturally to most of us.
Now is the time that all of our efforts can lead to true change. We have to take a stand. Together. The price is too high for anything less.