Editor's Note: This story is a first-person account from an Austin ISD teacher who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of potentially losing her job.
Teacher burnout is real. I have worked in Austin ISD for more than 15 years, and I have seen it all.
Teachers are leaving this industry at an alarming rate and people keep asking why? It should all be really obvious. Lack of pay, lack of teachers and lack of respect.
This is why teachers rallied last Thursday for better pay. With 17 years of experience, I make up to $55,000 a year as an elementary school teacher. Some ask why I stay and it comes down to one thing, I love teaching—I am molding the future generations. I have stayed in this district because it hasn't always been this way.
Austin ISD employees and others gathered for higher pay at the district headquarters Thursday. (Education Austin/Twitter)
But one by one, teachers are leaving looking for better opportunities since the pandemic. Because for the past two years, teachers are being asked to do the most they ever have without a pay increase.
When a teacher is out, other teachers are asked to take those students into their classrooms and end up with 30+ students. How is that safe? The State education agency says pre-k through fourth grade should not exceed a class size of 22. But admin is not helping keep classrooms under the regulated class size.
At my school we have a bilingual classroom that was taught for nine weeks with only an English teacher, then they used another teacher that’s bilingual to just support. How is admin sitting in their office OK with this?
When test scores are adequate, our school’s higher-ups turn a blind eye. They don't show they care for the well-being of teachers or the students.
Additionally, teachers are on their own when it comes to parents, who have been more aggressively vocal since the pandemic. We have parents yelling at teachers, and admin ignoring both parent and teacher.
When my colleagues and I receive text messages after hours in all caps from angry parents, it's up to us to figure out what to do. And it happens in person too, where you can witness parents yelling at teachers directing traffic at morning drop off.
We have students bringing illegal items to school and not being reprimanded. I have seen students bring drugs, bullets and knives in an elementary school. These items are dangerous and could seriously hurt other students, and somehow parents are not informed of this information. There are no preventative measures being taken to make sure there is safety at school.
No one is benefitting from any of this—but getting the worst end of it is the students, and that’s who we are supposed to be trying and giving our best to.
Things need to change at AISD and it starts with respect and support of teachers.
Tell me if that is a job you would be willing to stay at for the pay we make.
Austonia reached out to an Austin ISD spokesperson for comment, receiving this response:
"I can understand a teacher would want to write this anonymously given the culture of reprisal that used to exist here. Now, however, we're all about fixing problems, not covering them up... What is being described here is a campus with a messed-up culture, and there are a lot of people here where I work who would want to work with the campus administrators to get this fixed."
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Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.
Power demand is forecast to push within 600 megawatts of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' capacity Friday afternoon as a record month of heat continues.
Demand for the statewide power grid hit over 65,000 Mw at 5 p.m., just under the capacity the grid can handle. ERCOT announced approximately 2,900 Mw of power was lost on Friday due to six power generation facilities tripping offline. At 5 p.m. it said all reserve generation resources available are operating. Texans have been asked to conserve energy.
Inbox: ERCOT says "six power generation facilities tripped offline resulting in the loss of approximately 2,900 MW of electricity. At this time, all reserve generation resources available are operating." Asks Texans to conserve power... pic.twitter.com/g6LxJlHlop
— Forrest Wilder (@Forrest4Trees) May 13, 2022
As the power grid threatens to buckle under the weight of consumers, record-breaking heat continues to push up demand. Austin is currently in the hottest May on record, with temperatures averaging at 82 degrees—eight degrees higher than average—at Austin's Camp Mabry.
And Austin is expected to have another triple-digit onslaught next week, with temperatures peaking at highs of 100 degrees Friday and Saturday. As a result, demand could peak Monday, with forecast demand expected to reach a May record of 70,758 Mw. The previous record was 67,265 in 2018, while ERCOT's all-time high was 74,820 Mw in August 2019.
While ERCOT has not yet seen a heat surge reminiscent of 2021's Winter Storm Uri, power outage woes became all too real for around 3,600 southeast Austinites Saturday as Austin Energy put on a last-resort power pause from around 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The outage was a culmination of many factors—from near-100 degree heat to unfortunately-timed maintenance checks and growth in the Bluff Springs area. The result was an overheating circuit that needed relief fast.
"It was related to high usage overloading one circuit at a time when some of our infrastructure was still undergoing maintenance in preparation for the months to come," Austin Energy spokesperson Matt Mitchell told Austonia. "So it was a very unique set of circumstances that we do not see repeating itself."
Mitchell said that all seasonal maintenance is complete and that Austin Energy will open a new power substation in Bluff Springs this June. The organization also said the issue had nothing to do with ERCOT, which released a statement assuring consumers that power was not threatened during that time.
NEW: ERCOT projects there will be sufficient supply of power to meet demand for this week. pic.twitter.com/fPZWHbWyoc
— Lindsey Ragas (@LindseyRagas) May 10, 2022
ERCOT also told Austonia before 5 p.m. that it "projects there will be sufficient generation to meet demand for electricity" on Friday. It then informed the public about the energy loss due to a power trip.
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