What Do Students in Oklahoma Deserve?

See this young lady? She’s my daughter. She is currently attending college to be an early childhood education teacher. She’s going to be one of the best. She has an incredible heart for kids. She is gifted with unending patience and a gentleness that you cannot teach. She values what children have to offer and understands that sometimes students can teach the adults a thing or two!

Oklahoma students deserve a future teacher like her.

My daughter and I have already had many conversations about her options when she graduates. I’m sad to say, I’ve told her she should consider leaving the state (or teach with me at HH!). I know the OK legislature just passed the bill for teacher raises (whole other can of worms with that one) but this is about more than a decent salary. This is about her being able to actually have the resources and means to teach her students. She will need pencils and paper that she doesn’t have to pay for out of her own pocket or beg and plead parents to donate. She must have books that are not falling apart, or so old they are irrelevant, so she can teach them how to read. She will need chairs and tables that don’t look like they have been through a war. She must have class sizes that are reasonable. 30 children in an early childhood classroom is absurd!

I want her to be able to come home from work without feeling defeated. She will pour her heart out, giving all she’s got to those kids but at the end of EVERY day, it will never seem like it is enough. She will look at those sweet faces and know they deserve so much better. Then, when the weight is just too much, when her heart finally breaks because of one more budget cut or snide remark about “you get the summer off” or “you knew what you signed up for”, she will leave the state and possibly the profession all together. It’s already happening in droves. What a tragedy!

As a Mom, I am so proud of her for following her heart. I want her to be happy, fulfilled, valued and appreciated. As an educator, I’m anxious and worried that if she stays in Oklahoma and teaches in public school, it will crush her. This state is losing the battle and it needs a major wake up call. Come April 2nd, the “phone” will start ringing. Let’s see if anyone picks up.

Current teachers deserve better. Future teachers deserve better. Students deserve better. Oklahoma deserves better.


As many of you know, I am a teacher. I took last year off but something kept tugging at me to return. So I did. I’m teaching kindergarten this year. I have a student that is not comfortable with physical contact. I found out quite by accident during the first weeks of school. I simply placed my hand gently on his shoulder while I was walking around the room teaching a lesson. He jerked away so violently, it startled me. Obviously, I made sure not to do that again. Last week this student hugged me. Both arms wrapped around my waist, squeezing me. It took everything I had not to cry. Today, that same student uttered the words “I love you, Mrs. Ward.” THAT is why I teach. It’s not about money, or testing, or fitting all the curriculum in. It’s about moments. And I will never forget this one.