TULSA - A local teacher is showing the side of the statewide education funding debate most people don't see.
The Booker T. English teacher who, along with most other teachers within Tulsa Public Schools, is only working her contracted hours until legislators come up with more funding.
“It’s empty, there’s nothing; and that’s how the kids feel," said Booker T. Washington High School Teacher Sarah Walker.
Tuesday when the clocks hit 3:40 p.m. at Booker T. the hallways were bare.
“It’s important for the public to see the impact teachers have on a daily basis.”
Every chair in her classroom was empty; a short note on her door explaining why.
“It’s heartbreaking because I know how important this room is.”
For the time being she's only working the hours she's paid for.
No after school help and no students during her only planning hour.
“I had one girl tell me 'I didn’t have any friends my freshman year, but I knew that I could go in your room and there would be people who would accept me.'”
The note ends, "I'm sorry, I hate it as much as you do."
“I’m struggling to find the time to teach them what I need to teach them in order to move on and be successful.”
While sitting at her desk, she said she can hear the tugs at the doorknob.
“It’s very stressful. I hurt for what the students are going to miss out on.”
She said it's legislators who need to see the empty seats and the missed opportunities in Oklahoma classrooms without the proper funding; not only for all of the time teachers put in, but supplies and so much more.
“Do something. It’s time. It’s time to do something, time to do the right thing.”
But, you don't have to take her word for it.
“This shouldn’t have to be a revolutionary point for us," one Booker T. student said before a microphone Monday.
At a rally the day before she said students showed they get it more than anyone.
“We’re just asking to be brought up to where the rest of the nation is," another said.
And right now, Walker said the students are the ones truly left with nothing.
Walker said she would never consider leaving to teach in another state because she's a product of TPS and loves her students.
She told 2 Works for You at the end of the day, all of this is for them.
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