Wake County Schools

Teachers turn attention from protests back to classrooms

Posted August 16, 2013
Updated August 17, 2013

— A summer break full of rallies and protests has faded into the mid-August rush by teachers and school administrators to prepare area classrooms for returning students.

On Friday, the gym at West Cary Middle School was full of energy and team-building activities as the staff readies for the start of the 2013-14 school year on Aug. 26.

"I'm just trying to find things. I'm just trying to reacquaint myself with things," said Heather McGarry, who is beginning her 19th year as a teacher. "It is like a student – it's fear of the unknown, it's the excitement." Back to school: Aug. 29, 2016 Get ready to go back to school

This year's excitement is somewhat tempered. Many teachers are frustrated, starting another school year without a pay raise. Lawmakers also stripped the tenure rights of veteran teachers like McGarry.

"I can't think of the words to describe how frustrating it is," she said.

West Cary Middle Principal Wanza Cole said she is trying to focus on the positive and the task at hand.

"(Let's) put the students first, and let's help them," Cole said. "We all know that (the seeming lack of legislative support) is an issue, and we're not minimizing it at all."

West Cary Middle School Principal Wanza Cole Cary school tries to build teacher morale

To support the faculty and uplift morale, West Cary Middle has a social calendar.

"We're going for an ice cream social at the end of August, and then we're going bowling and then we're going out to eat," Cole said. "We love to eat at West Cary, and so, we are embracing it by doing something together."

As a first-year teacher, Norris Collins said he is just excited to be at the school, where he will teach sixth-grade science.

"The students (were) my favorite part of my student teaching," Collins said. "(It) was just the relationships you build and help impact students' lives."

That's what seems to keep teachers coming back year after year, despite the frustration.

"I feel like this is where I belong, and I love what I do," McGarry said. "I love what I do. I just wish I could make a living wage for what I do."


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  • IPayYouPay Aug 19, 2013

    Duuuuh. That's because they have to. A teacher WANTS to teach. So, they return to the classrooms when schools start. Duh.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Aug 19, 2013

    That's probably best. They accomplished nothing and will accomplish nothing.

    Unless they quit and go work elsewhere.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 19, 2013

    "I'm a state employee and haven't had these raises either but I'm not protesting or crying about it because I feel thankful to even have a job."

    Just because you're satisfied being underpaid and overworked doesn't mean everyone should be. Not everyone is satisfied with "just getting by" and being average.

  • yankee1 Aug 16, 2013

    Here's the deal. You know the rules, you know what's expected. Go do it! If you do your jobs and then get stiffed you have a complaint. Until then, you have nothing!

  • stymieindurham Aug 16, 2013

    You parents better stay in tune with what is being "pushed" on your kids.

  • anonemoose Aug 16, 2013

    And the indoctrination begins again.....