Bixby educator heading overseas to teach following statewide walkout

Bixby educator heading overseas to teach following statewide walkout (KTUL)

BIXBY, Okla. (KTUL) -- The school year is fast approaching, but there’s one teacher who won’t be returning to her classroom.

After three years of living in her house in Bixby, it’s time for Sierra Thompson and her family to start a new adventure.

“You don’t realize you keep so many memories hanging around the house when you have to narrow those down,” she said. “It’s difficult.”

Thompson is leaving her ninth grade teaching job at Bixby Public Schools and heading overseas.

“I will be teaching sixth and seventh grade English in Abu Dhabi,” she said. “It’ll be a new middle school adventure!”

Thompson made the decision shortly after the teacher walkout.

“I felt like this is kind of a lost cause and it’s time to move on,” she said.

The perks of Thompson's new job are something unimaginable to her here in Oklahoma.

“I was speaking to the principal and the first thing that stood out to me, I was like how many kids are in a class and he was like we have around 20 to 25 per class,” she said. “I was just like, dreams come true. I’m used to having 32 to 34 in a class and I’m used to grading 160 essays every time I assign one. I can actually improve their writing and give better feedback.”

The same care Thompson believes teachers there will provide for her own son.

“I’m not sure how challenged he would be here in kindergarten, but I know going there, now he’s going to be challenged and grow so much,” she said.

Thompson has trinkets from her former students tucked away in her suitcase.

“I kept all their notes in case things get difficult, I have something to look at,” she said.

Thompson knows this is something she has to do for her family.

“It’s really hard to cram your whole life into eight suitcases,” she said.

Thompson said she is hopeful when they get back things will be better.

“We’re praying that things are changing and we’re making moves to make our education system better, so that we can be confident to come back here with our children because we love Oklahoma and we love our teachers and this is where we want to be when we return," she said. "We really are hoping people will be taking these things seriously and working to better our school systems."

Thompson said she has faith in the teachers and the community that change will happen.

"This can’t be the end of people caring and getting out and voting and being informed," she said. "This has to be just the starting point. People have to demand that we improve our schools, people have to demand that we give respect to our teachers and that we elect people who are going to make Oklahoma a better place for our families and our children.”

Thompson is flying out Aug. 12. She has a three-year contract in Abu Dhabi.

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