Teachers Appeal to Raleigh for Additional Support

At least five members of St. John’s were among the thousands of teachers who filled Downtown Raleigh, May 16, in the “March for Students and Rally for Respect.” Here are some impressions of the day:

“It was a wonderful day as teachers and supporters took a stand to rally for respect!  So many people have asked me why I went or would even want to go. I went to take a stand for my students. I believe in them and I feel they deserve the very best. I marched to stand up for them because God has led me to teach and care for my students. In my classroom, I have a small sign hanging behind my desk. It says, “God doesn’t have to be in my curriculum to be in my classroom. After all if He is in me, He is in everything I do … and I never have to say His name.” During our rally as we marched for students I thought about this poster. It helped me focus on what it was all about for me and thousands of other teachers — doing the right thing and standing up for the children we teach every day! Everyone has heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We all know how hard parenting can be and we rely on those around us to help. The students in North Carolina need more than just parents or teachers help. On May 16, teachers and supporters were asking the state to help fund classrooms so all students can have the very best to become their very best.”

Melissa Rhyne, kindergarten teacher, North Rowan Elementary School

“I was encouraged by the positive energy displayed by the marchers, as well as well-wishers who waved from office building and curbsides. This groundswell of support has kicked off a new movement where public education is back in the forefront of North Carolinians’ consciousness and will act as a vehicle that creates a better future for us all.”

Karen Puckett, media specialist, Isenberg Elementary School

“The rally was awesome, and, as an English teacher who places great importance on words, I am at a loss for words. There was electricity in the air as this group of 20,000 plus educators, parents, students, and small children marched together from NCAE Headquarters on Salisbury Street to the Legislative Building. I was almost brought to tears by the outpouring of love and support from the people of Downtown Raleigh who spilled out of their office buildings to line the street where they clapped and cheered as a sea of red shirts marched by. I felt like I was walking into a warm hug as I walked down the street. People I did not know proved to be part of this same belief system that I have held dear for my entire teaching career: public education IS important, and, as the cornerstone of our democracy, must be nourished, protected, and encouraged to flourish. How can it be that in a country so rent by strife we can have tens of thousands of people come together to start this revolution of change for education? What I witnessed was a tremendous, palpable energy that swept everyone along as the day progressed. From the march to meetings with various legislators to the culminating rally, people were kind and genuine as they spoke their truth. No one cursed. No one threw trash on the ground. No one was violent. No fights broke out. Politeness was the norm. Every time someone bumped into me an immediate apology followed. One of my colleagues made a comment that this was the nicest rally she had ever been to.”

Lynn Wisecarver, English teacher, Davie County High School

“It was an inspiring day. I am grateful to the Rowan Salisbury Board of Education for supporting the teachers in this effort. My time in the public schools has been the life that chose me. I did not choose it, it chose me. Since joining the Rowan-Salisbury School System, I have considered my work in our schools as valid a call from God as any.”

David Hord, exceptional children’s teacher, Jesse Carson High School