This 8th grade teacher is one of more than 2,6000 educators on strike in Denver — here's why her fight isn't just for the teachers, but also for the students.
In Denver public schools news, this 8th grade teacher in Denver says she’s not making a livable wage.
Melea Mayen: I have never spoken to a single person in my life who has said oh you want to be a teacher, that's a good idea. Not a single person has looked me in the face and said that's a good idea. Most people say, “oh good for you.” Or like, ‘oh wow I couldn't do that. Every time I talk to my mom she's like my heart breaks for you every day. I don't know how you could do this because we are their social workers. We are their psychologists, we are their friends, their confidants. I teach so many students who have experienced real trauma and I bring that home with me. It affects my life. Not a single person says like oh you're a teacher. I'm so jealous. A lot of people go into careers and maybe wanted to be teachers but no it's not an affordable lifestyle. And we're doing this for our students so that we can be better teachers. I can make so much money doing something else and then I just think about my students and how much I love watching them learn.
28-year-old Melea Mayen is a social studies teacher in Denver she is one of more than 2,600 educators joining the Denver teacher strike asking the Denver public schools system for liveable salaries. The teacher strike in Denver is being carried out by the denver classroom teachers association and comes on the heels of teachers' strike in Los Angeles.
Melea: There has been a huge movement of people recognizing that if we want to see a change in this country it's our time, it's our turn. You have to stand up and say something, you have to do something. Why are we still having this conversation. It's been going on for hundreds of years. Frederick Douglass spoke about how teachers should never let anyone make them feel that they are not of the highest value. I think teachers are fed up. 14:08 If the United States is going to get it together it starts with education. It is so essential to have an educated population for a functioning republic a functioning democracy and our teachers are the first people who know that.
Mayen explains that higher wages won’t just help out teachers they’ll make schools better for students.
Melea: Who are you trusting your children with? Don't you want the best educator you can have with your child? Teaching your child? A lot of teachers are leaving and Denver is hiring new teachers all the time and what that does is it has a huge impact on our students. Right now the turnover rate in Denver's between 20 and 30 percent a year. We hire a thousand new teachers on average a school year which is just unheard of. My school has already seen almost a 50 percent turnover rate this school year. And most of those teachers were first and second year teachers. So what we need is better pay to keep teachers in this system so that you can have experts in the field of teaching teaching our children.
Some of the teachers striking in Denver say they’ve been criticized for leaving their classrooms. But a few days is a small price to pay for a better education system.
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