Jenks Teacher Leaves School For Better Pay
JENKS, Oklahoma - A Jenks West Intermediate School math teacher is quitting her job at the end of the school year because she says she simply can't afford to be a public school teacher anymore.
With teachers considering a walkout in a few weeks, Moriah Widener is so frustrated she's walking off the job.
She said feels like she's a failure to her students and can't go on another school year.
"Every single day somebody walks out of my classroom and I feel like they needed something from me that I couldn't give and it makes me feel like I'm failing them," Widener said.
Widener fought back tears as she explained how much her students mean to her.
"I get to know their silly stories, their laughs, their smiles and their fears and I get to hold them and hug them when they're having a hard time," she said.
But now it's their teacher that's going through a hard time. With her husband in medical school and student loans stacking up with interest, Moriah was offered an opportunity to make more money that she couldn't pass up.
"This opportunity has come up a couple times and I've always said I'm really sorry, I believe in the value and mission of public education and that's where my heart lies," Widener said.
But when Moriah was offered again to be a center director for a math tutoring center, she said yes.
"I'm absolutely thrilled by it, but there is a piece of my heart that believes in the value and mission of public education and I have to say I just can't anymore," she said.
She admits walking away from this job, even for a similar role, won't be easy. The hardest part, of course, is saying goodbye.
"We have built something really great here at Jenks Intermediate and it's hard for me to leave. There's a big part of my heart that hurts every time I think about not being Mrs. Widener to another group of 60 next year," Widener said.
Moriah also explained that she's concerned about those considering going into education, saying she has lost hope and never thought the state of Oklahoma would allow things to get this bad.