Here’s an image from the recent rally at MPS Central Services. Yep, there’s me–at left, with the microphone.
This past weekend, I was unexpectedly laid off from my job as an MPS high school English teacher. I got the notice in the mail, the day before the last day of school. I’m one of 481 other educators–many of them friends–who lost their jobs due to budget cuts. In this, the first layoff since 1982, there’s confusion, uncertainty, and rumor abounding. We’re now hearing that there may be some reconsideration due to the public reaction, but nothing is certain. In any event, it’s a crime to remove excellent, energetic young teachers in mass numbers from the district that needs it most.
I’m a high performer who chose to teach in MPS because I know that the students of Milwaukee need and deserve the absolute best education possible. I love teaching urban kids. I come to work every day with a smile on my face. I worked hard this year, always with meaning behind my actions. But instead of celebrating the last day with my students, I unfortunately had to spend my last day bursting into tears in front of my seventh graders, who surrounded me in a giant hug. As I urged them, I encourage anyone who is upset about the layoff crisis to express your concerns directly to the board. A message to all school board members may be called in or emailed to the Office of Board Governance at 414-475-8284 or firstname.lastname@example.org As I explained to them after I got myself together, neither crying nor yelling solves anything. Only well-thought-out action does.
I know that I will find another teaching job, and that I will devote myself to my next assignment wholeheartedly no matter where I arrive. That’s one of the great things about teaching: kids are kids. City, country, suburb. They all have problems to face alongside unique, mind-blowing potential to succeed. I love to teach and MPS can’t take that away. I just wish they wouldn’t take me away from the city I’ve grown so loyal to and the students that I will never stop advocating for.