HOUSTON — School shootings and budget cuts seem to dominate the headlines when it comes to education. What we don’t always hear about is what’s happening inside the classroom. KHOU 11 News wanted to hear it straight from teachers. We sent out surveys to three of our biggest school districts: Houston, Cy-Fair and Fort Bend. We got back more than 1,300 responses about topics ranging from classroom resources to safety. This is what teachers had to say.
How much money do you spend out of pocket on your classroom each year?
Forty-one percent of teachers said they spend between $200-$500 of their own money for their classroom each year. Thirty-four percent said they spend more than $500.
“My classroom is home for my kids for a big part of their day and I want it to be that way and so there are some things you just, suck it up and buy it," said Michelle Pierce, a teacher with Houston ISD.
How much time outside of school hours do you spend on classroom-related work?
Nearly half of teachers who responded to the survey said they spend more than 10 hours working outside of school hours. Another 25 percent said they spend between 6-10 hours.
“Easily, I work 12 hours a day—12 to 15 hours a day just to manage my workload," said Christina Torango with Houston ISD.
How safe do you feel at school?
Forty percent of teachers said they feel safe at school, while 37 percent said they feel somewhat safe. Eight percent said they don't feel safe at all
“We have the drills and we have the talks. If there’s a student who needs to be removed that happens," said Nikki Skinner with Fort Bend ISD.
Do you know what to do in the event of an active shooter?
More than half of teacher said they're familiar with what to do if an active shooter was on campus, though 20 percent said they're only somewhat familiar.
“At my school, we put them in a corner, turn out the lights and pray nothing happens. Somebody else here has got one where they’re telling the kids to attack the shooter,” said Rob Zimmerman a teacher in Cy-Fair ISD.
“We get asked this question a lot, would we know what to do? When is the last time we asked an HPD officer if they could teach a kid how to read?" said Michelle Pierce with Houston ISD.
The school provides adequate training for staff on what to do in the event of an active shooter.
Nearly half of teacher said they strongly agree with the above statement. But 25 percent they disagree.
We’ve been trained, we have drills but as far as adequate training, I would not know how to handle a shooter that came into the building, that’s a first responders job,” said Pleshette McMahon, a teacher with Fort Bend ISD.