Detailing the Issues
by Lorrie Tevabaugh
Recently I attended a teacher training in Tulsa, and while aware of it all the time, my trip reaffirmed to me some of the great aspects of Cimarron County. When introducing myself at the workshop that first day, some of the other educators appeared fascinated by where I was from. Questions followed. Where is that? How far is it? How many students do you have? What is your school like? And a couple of my favorites.. .where do you shop? And what do you do for entertainment?
Quickly I realized that most were feeling sorry for me and to dispel that, I began to explain about the wonderful people in the Panhandle and how fortunate I feel to reside here. Of course, by this point, most didn't care about the positive and continued to focus on the isolation factor. One lady, adamant that she could not live that far from Wal-Mart, didn't care how safe Cimarron County was for kids, her world would stop revolving if shopping was not readily available.
Throughout the week we fellow educators visited and shared more of our experiences. I learned that most of the teachers in the larger schools have thirty students per class, don't give homework on a regular basis because they can't grade it all or can't make their students complete it, and some don't even know all of their students first names; they must use seating charts to call on the individuals in class. One kind lady from Broken Arrow shared that at the end of the day she had to take every thing off of her desk, and even lock up her computer keyboard because the people that came into the school in the evenings, taking night classes, would steal what was not locked away.
After sharing that I know all of my students and their parents personally, my pupils do homework almost every night, I feared not for my school belongings, and that I had the greatest school lunches known to mankind, some of the other teachers were ready to apply at our schools. One teacher even voiced that she was sure kids out here received a better education. I just smiled, thinking I already knew that, but it was nice to see others realize it.
On the way home from Tulsa I caught a report on the radio by the Oklahoma News Network. The information said that Cimarron County had the lowest crime rate last month as well as the lowest unemployment rate in the state. But wait; I thought to myself, we don't have a Wal-Mart, why would anyone want to live there? I chuckled out loud and kept driving west.
Boise City News, P.O. Box 278