Upcoming at EMHS
  • Senior Sunset 5/16
  • Graduation 5/17
The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft

The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft

The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft


This poll has ended.

Who wins: Kendrick Lamar or Drake?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

It is time to support teachers

Nate Billings
Teachers have been put down for over a decade, it is time to support them.

This year at Edmond Memorial High School there are 28 new teachers–a record number compared to previous years. This influx of new faces is in part thanks to the 10 new positions added to lower the class sizes. However, this fact does not account for the three former EMHS teachers who left education. With an ever-growing shortage of teachers, Oklahoma has become a difficult place for teachers to do their job, so what can students do to support the people who support them every day?

One situation that is causing some unrest among teachers in all districts is the ongoing Tulsa Public Schools accreditation discussion. While TPS’s accreditation was renewed, there are still policies being discussed to keep the district from “failing.” This situation puts stress on other districts and devalues all the dedicated people who work in public schools.

“When you know [TPS losing its accreditation] is a looming reality, even if you think your school district is not in danger, it’s impossible to not feel an impact on how the profession is being treated or viewed,” junior English teacher and Assistant Band Director Kevin McDonald said. 

One of the most pressing issues teachers are facing in Oklahoma is the aforementioned narrative that some districts are failing students. This narrative implies that some schools are carrying the districts, while others are desperately trying to keep up and need to be saved from their perceived incompetence.

“There’s a complete lack of nuance in the characterization that public schools aren’t serving children and that we have to have vouchers, school choice etc,” McDonald said. “That demeans a teacher’s value.”

Respect is something that teachers, like anyone, strive to maintain. However, with all the rhetoric surrounding Oklahoma’s teachers, whether on social media or in Oklahoman politics, respect for teachers seems to be at an all-time low.

“The culture in schools has changed a lot. I’ve been in education for 13 years, and it seems to get worse and worse every year in terms of how teachers are treated and respected,” Advanced Placement US history teacher Emily Busey said.

While there have been many recent concerns causing teachers to leave, it is by no means a new issue. Education as a career path in Oklahoma has been on a decline for the last decade, with education program graduates in Oklahoma down more than 25% in Oklahoma colleges during this time period. In a 2018 study conducted by Cole Hardgrave Snodgrass, before the teacher walk-out, which consisted of over 5000 teachers who left Oklahoma Public Schools there were a multitude of reasons teachers left this profession. This includes 64% of the reasons being outside of pay, rhetoric and personal reasons. In essence, the number of students interested in going into education in Oklahoma has been an ongoing issue in the state going back nearly a decade. 

 This coincides with an increase in emergency certification in Oklahoma. In 2013 there were 189 emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma. However, this number quickly rose, and by 2022, it hit an all-time high, with over 3,500 emergency certifications in use, demonstrating how much the profession’s pool has dried up in Oklahoma, which in turn makes it difficult for employers as well.

Through these trying times, some students have been trying to stand with their teachers. One of these students is EMHS senior Anderson Bell, who spoke at a State Department of Education meeting, citing the hateful rhetoric against teachers in Oklahoma as a harm to the entirety of Oklahoma Public Schools. He feels that teachers have been mistreated in this state and wants to speak out against it.

“Teachers need to be reminded that they are appreciated, loved and that students support them,” senior Bell said.

Speaking in front of crowds is not the only way to become involved in supporting teachers as a student. One of the best ways is just letting one’s teacher know that they are appreciated, showing them they are valued through words. Another way is through action. Being respectful in class, coming prepared and maintaining a positive attitude in the classroom can go a long way in reminding teachers of the value they provide to their students every day.

“The number one thing students can do to support their teachers is be respectful in class, be understanding and know that sometimes teachers have bad days just as students do,” Busey said.

Teaching in Oklahoma can be difficult at the moment, causing many prospective teachers to change career paths or active teachers to move to different states to teach or even leave the profession altogether. It is up to the students of Oklahoma to do their part in supporting their teachers who help them every step of the way, showing that each and every teacher in Oklahoma is valuable and deserves to be treated as such. Therefore, it is important that students respect their teachers or even go beyond and stay up to date with the policies that impact their school’s staff.

Contact Lathan Pearce at [email protected]

About the Contributor
Lathan Pearce
Lathan Pearce, Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Lathan Pearce. I’m a senior, and this will be my third year on staff. My freshman year, I was in the Intro to Journalism class being taught by upperclassman team leaders, and now this year, I’m a team leader. I enjoy writing about many subjects, whether it’s movie/show reviews, features or sports. I’m a big Oklahoma City Thunder fan, and also support the Arkansas Razorbacks. Lastly, I have two cats, Eliza, who is full of energy, and Poku, who’s the laziest cat I’ve ever met.