Roundtable: Local Charlotte teachers discuss personal experiences, motivation for rallying

Roundtable: Local Charlotte teachers discuss personal experiences, motivation for rallying
All five of them are a part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators, they’ll be five of the thousands heading to Raleigh for the rally.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - WBTV’s Chandler Morgan sat down with five different educators who all may have different roles but have one thing in common; they spend most of their day Monday through Friday with your kids at school.

That’s why they say Wednesday, when thousands of educators rally at the state capitol, it’s not just about teachers. It’s about every role in education that has an impact on your child at school.

“When you really look at the action on May 1 it’s so much bigger," says Kevin Poirier, Instructional Coach at West Charlotte High School. "It really isn’t just a march for teachers per se. It’s a prioritization of education in general, a prioritization of our kids and our community.”

These five Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools educators are all heading to Raleigh on May 1.

“We’re going to Raleigh to talk to all legislators, democrats republicans," says Poirier. “Really finding out who is pro public education and pro public schools to give our students the schools they deserve.”

Mamie Davie works at Billingsville, Cotswold Elementary as an instructional assistant.

“They make policies and they make rules. They sit in their meetings and they make decisions for people, for our students and our communities," says Davie. "And they don’t have a clue what reality is, what people and students are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. The kinds of homes that our students come from everyday.”

Anthony Wright knows first hand what kinds of things our kids are going through when they walk through those doors. He’s a school counselor at Walter G Byers, and for many students, the only support system they may have.

“Our schools are getting really overcrowded so in order for us to effectively work and provide for our students we need more staff," says Wright.

Chandler asked Wright if there was a moment for him that really embodied when he realized that he and other counselors needed more support staff alongside them in schools.

"Every day. Every single day when I go into work. I mean I go in with my whole heart to help our students I always feel like I can do more, but in reality, I could do more if I had more help.”

Davie says too often instructional assistants are taken out of classrooms, or moved to filled administrative roles - leaving a high class load on single class teachers. Something even she experienced as a student.

“She, the teacher, didn’t have time to sit down with small groups of children, and take the time to work with us to develop our skills," says Davie. She believes if an instructional assistant were in every classroom, more students would get the one on one attention they need.

Whether it’s emotional support, educational support or higher pay, these teachers say our kids and schools need more.

“Realizing that our hourly employees have been neglected for so long and that we have people who are working two or three jobs just to keep their lights on,"Justin Parmenter, a 7th grade English teacher at Waddell Language Academy, says policies need to change.

These teachers say they and so many others used to be afraid to use their voice.

“There was a culture of fear. When you’re afraid of ‘Am I going to get fired or, is someone going to make my job harder?’" explained , Amanda Thompson, a 7th and 8th grade math coach at Walter G Byers.

But now, they say, teachers are no longer afraid.

“I’m glad to be apart of the group that’s saying you need to hear this, you need to get it," says Davie.

All five of them are a part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators, they’ll be five of the thousands heading to Raleigh for the rally.

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