“Deep and wide, deep and wide…” goes the children’s gospel song that circulates through my head during these trying two months of my life. I’ve lost my second job that supports my teacher salary, and on top of it, I am actively involved and supporting the #RedforEd movement sweeping through the classrooms of Arizona. My life would be termed as “chaotic,” “uncharted territory,” and lastly, “a leap of faith.” Sounds like fun, eh?
Feeling the support of the community, parents, and students for #RedforEd is empowering. Leaving behind my classroom for a brief civic intermission is unsettling. Observing the debates between both sides of this statewide educational tug-of-war is frustrating. Hearing uninformed media and politicians spout their “educational expertise” is maddening. Watching teachers walk away from the fight because of FEAR is haunting.
Fear is circling the army troops of educators, and several are starting to lose their focus on the prize- making education a priority in our great state of Arizona. I once heard an evangelist define fear as “False evidence appearing real.” Hearing the the threats of politicians and organizations has people questioning what is real.
What is real? Our children who need quality textbooks, up-to-date technology, smaller classroom sizes, and highly qualified trained educators. Our parents who need mental and emotional support for their children in school counselors. Our teachers who need a salary that doesn’t require a supplemental income. Our support staff who needs manageable tasks to help support children, not more and more piled up onto their plates. That is reality.
The opposite of fear is faith. Faith is “believing in what you do not see.” I have faith we can succeed in this passionate drive for quality education in Arizona. I have faith that our leaders are making well-informed decisions with our best interests in mind. I have faith that YOU will have faith and stick with this to the end. If teachers committed to #RedforEd in the beginning of walk-ins and wearing red shirts, they need to stick to the end, enduring the bumps and bruises of the battle.
Deep and wide… that’s my faith in this movement, in you, my fellow teachers of Arizona. Keep it up!! Don’t give up. Have faith.