In today’s age of teacher strikes and protests, here’s something you don’t come across often: An educator imploring her colleagues to stay at work and resist the urge to stage a walkout.
“One day may not seem like a lot to everybody else, but that’s a whole day of instruction that we get behind,” Kendra Crews, a third- and fourth-grade teacher at East Elementary School in Statesville, N.C., recently posted to a Facebook page titled, “NC Teachers Strike!” according to WCNC-TV reported.
The Facebook page was set up to encourage North Carolina teachers to stage a walkout in protest of state spending cuts, WCNC reported. Crews’ online message was made available to the station and was not necessarily visible to the public.
“I believe that teaching isn’t a career, it is a calling,” Crews wrote. “When I decided to answer that call and become a teacher, I knew that they didn’t get paid a lot, but obviously teachers don’t go into this profession for the money.”
She said she understands the urge to prove a point, but doesn’t believe that gives teachers the right to abandon their posts.
“We get frustrated, but we don’t live every day and come to work every day for ourselves,” she said in an interview with WCNC. “They should think about the student they’ll be leaving behind when they walk out.”
Iredell-Statesville Schools Superintendent Brady Johnson urged teachers in an Oct. 15 email to ignore calls for a coordinated walkout protest.
“On November 4, I urge you to take a stand with me. Don’t walk out. Instead, invite all of your parents to walk in,” Johnson wrote. “This is a valuable opportunity to share with everyone who will listen, not only the outstanding work you all do for students, but also to engage in an important conversation about the challenges you face as an educator.”
Amy Rhyne, East Elementary’s principal, said she expects her staff to show up for work.
“We’re supposed to be role models and I think that’s kind of quitting the children for a day,” she said. “Walking out for a day doesn’t help our children, doesn’t help our community, and in the long run, it’s actually going to hurt the school and the school system at large.”
She said teachers who participate in the Nov. 4 walkout won’t be officially disciplined, but they may be asked to meet with the superintendent to discuss their concerns.
According to one Facebook page, Crews’ and Johnson’s message appears to be taking hold for some.
“[I]nstead of ‘walking out’ of our schools,” one Facebook poster wrote, “we at Organize 2020 propose that NC’s public school educators and local communities hold a November 4 ‘Walk-In.’”
“[W]e will stand together in solemn silence, wearing red, at a location where parents can easily see us as they drop their children off at school. After some time has passed, we will silently enter the building together and begin our normal work day,” the post said
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Featured image NBC Charlotte.