Teacher doesn’t like Ballinger’s comments

Dear editor: 

On November 14, 2019, Senator Bob Ballinger took to social media to refer to the teachers on strike in Little Rock as thugs and bullies. This didn’t sit well with me.

I’ve been in education for 17 years. Longer if you count my college time spent in classrooms. All of my years have been in public schools. I, and many other teachers and staff, spend countless hours working on lesson plans, keep up with professional development hours, collect data, learn new strategies and assessments, plan interventions, and create enrichment activities, all in the ongoing effort to educate our youth.

Beyond the classroom work we volunteer, purchase school supplies, back packs, clothing, shoes, and snacks for our students from our own pockets. We take home the worries and struggles of our kids. Yes, our kids. They become family and we teachers are dedicated to helping them even beyond their year in our classrooms.

What is the return? It’s not high salaries, affordable healthcare, or even respect currently. It is done out of love for the students. Little Rock teachers and staff chose to have a peaceful one day strike in an effort to be heard by state officials. Legislators, such as Mr. Ballinger, have a strong connection to kids. State and federal legislation directly affects students and teachers.

Often decisions are made without the input of those directly entrenched in the field of public education. It hurts my heart to see such discourse among the two sides.

It is my hope that we use the new year as an opportunity to do three things. Number one, be kind. Name calling gets us nowhere, very quickly.

Number two, we need strengthen communication about public education with our representatives. Talk to your elected officials! They are elected by you to represent you. Their decisions affect your children.

Lastly, number three, lets adjust our focus. Make a point to look at a situation from multiple angles before responding. Negativity, loud opinions, and controversy will always draw attention but let’s make a conscience effort to celebrate the good work and the good people, on both sides of a cause. After all, we are in this for the sole purpose of giving kids a strong and successful future!

With great respect,

– Jennifer Seigal,

3rd Grade Teacher