CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Teacher Elisa Mendez does not want her daughters to follow in her footsteps.
“If I’m being honest, when they tell me they want to grow up to be a teacher just like me, I ask them to explore other options,” she says.
That is, not if resources and funding for the profession stay the same, she says.
“I would be heartbroken if they decided to follow in my footsteps,” Mendez says. “I work two jobs, and I love my students, but it’s exhausting.”
‘Exhaustion.’ It’s echoed by other teachers at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators. Several other teachers shared about their multiple jobs.
“I’m exhausted,” teacher Melissa Easley says. “I work at five in the morning now, until 11 at night. I’m exhausted.”
In seven days, these teachers will join the thousands across the state at the teachers march in Raleigh. They’re asking for $15 minimum wage for staff, Medicaid expansion, state retirement health benefits, advanced degree compensation and more support staff.
Teacher’s assistant Mamie Davie says she has watched support staff dwindle in schools, over the years.
“Teacher’s assistants were in the classroom full time, 30 years ago,” she says. “They’re not anymore.”
Now, educators like them prepare to board buses again, to present these asks to state lawmakers.
“I want my girls to know that they really have the right to advocate for themselves and advocate for change,” Mendez says.
Organizers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators say they have five buses of teachers signed up to ride with them May 1.