SC state senator subs at Myrtle Beach Middle School as teachers rally
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Some teachers and legislatures swapped places on Wednesday.
While thousands of teachers hit the streets of Columbia for an SC for Ed rally, state Sen. Greg Hembree traded his District 28 seat, for a seat at the head of the 7th grade social studies classroom at Myrtle Beach Middle School.
"We’re reviewing material about the age of enlightenment,” Hembree said. “I picked social studies because it was something I knew a little bit about.”
Many schools needed to find substitutes while teachers were in Columbia.
“Some districts have had to close because so many people have left. I felt this was two-fold. It was a better way to spend my time and I can help out a little bit and I can learn a little bit. I’m walking in the shoes of a teacher. What a better way for someone who chairs the education committee to get in the trenches and do it,” he explained.
Hembree has taught classes before but said he learned a few things Wednesday.
“To me it’s been fun, but if you do it every day, day in and day out, I could see where you get frustrated with parts of it,” he explained.
However, the subject he’s not fully grasping, the reason teachers chose to rally Wednesday.
“I’ve seen their proposals at the beginning of the year. Most of them we have addressed in the reform bill and the budget in some part. You can’t say you have 100% every time, but now it seems to be moving on to something different,” Hembree said. “Teachers came up earlier in the session and had sort of a legislation day there. It was very beneficial, very helpful, but it wasn’t a staged walkout. It really was a good communication effort. This was something different and in public service when you leave your obligations like that I just thought if I could help out here it would be a good way to help out.”
He also said the teachers could have picked a better day for a rally like spring break because he said most districts spring break lined up with their legislature budget meetings.
"I was advocating for a 5% teacher increase and if they were there that would have helped that pass,” Hembree explained. “I wish their timing was better but I certainly don’t fault them for wanting to have their voices heard.”
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