Just three years ago, Oklahomans saw teachers march on the state Capitol to demand for better funding. Then, the pandemic school year forced them to fight again; this time, they demanded for safer conditions.
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said that fight is worth it.
"Education in Oklahoma is still sorely underfunded. We still rank 48th in the nation for expenditure. We are still in the bottom percentage in teacher pay. We still have room to grow," Priest said.
The fight for raising teachers' funding happened just three years ago. It was a win for teachers.
But now, the fight is schools learning how to teach with COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of every class.
"Schools took a pivot immediately," said Priest. "As educators, we have worked ourselves to the bone."
Priest said half of this year's battle was fighting for safety.
At the same time, the government went in a different direction. The past year, government officials have been working to get students to learn face-to-face.
"They tried to pit teachers and parents against each other for political gain of some form, but we are all working towards the same measure," said Priest.
In a survey conducted by the OEA, teachers were at a stress level of 7.7 out of 10.
Now, schools across the state are seeing a dire need for teachers.
From the walkout to the pandemic, teachers are still fighting to be heard.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, be sure to reach out to your teachers and let them know how important they are.