Now that the teacher walkout is over, what happens next? Teachers have returned to their classrooms. School boards have announced how makeup days will be handled for both teachers and students. Some have even announced raises for the teachers. Everything has gone back to normal for the most part. So, the question is raised, what happens now?

It could be argued that the teacher's lost the battle

It could be argued that the teacher’s lost the battle with the state legislature. Or, at best, there was a stalemate. Teachers occupied the state capitol into the wee hours of the morning watching their state representatives shoot down each important education initiative.

Yes, a budget was signed, but how much of a difference will it make?

Teachers returned to the classroom as they stayed true to their word. If a budget is passed, we will go back. So, we are back in the classroom, but I say again, what now?

One of my friends, a fellow teacher, expressed being disheartened by the whole process. And I understand completely. After watching so many government elected officials treat teachers with such disdain and showing such little respect for our students, I wanted to cry. I did cry.

I told her this isn't the end

However, I told her this isn’t the end. Many hoped the protest would be more of a sprint or a 5k event. It turns out we need to prepare for a marathon. Did teachers create change with the walkout?

Most definitely, yes! Is it everything we need to turn around our schools and put students first? Not by a long shot.

A marathon takes much planning and training. So will bringing out a change in our state. Just like when running a marathon, you have to build up to the big finish. Start with running shorter distances and work your way up to the massive 26.2-mile race.

Teachers need to start small, getting #investInEd on the ballot. Then begin stepping it up. Promoting the initiative. Campaigning for those legislators that showed their support to teachers during the lockout. Those who actually have experience in education.

We need to educate the public

More importantly, we need to educate the public about not only the initiative but about what teachers really did and didn’t achieve in the walkout.

More than once since we came back to the classroom has someone asked me, “So did you get your money?” and “Was everything resolved?” Sometimes it takes longer to teach our students important lessons in the classroom. So it will be with this. The public is being bombarded with the message that all is well in education, teachers have received their raises, and everything will be fixed by 2020.

Teachers know the message to be untrue and we need to keep the momentum that was created during the walk out. We need to use the energy we created to educate the public as to what truly happened that late Wednesday night (May 9) in downtown Phoenix.

The push has gone from #redfored to #rememberinNovemeber.

But not just this November, all the Novembers to come. All the elections to come. Teachers need to do what we do best: educate. Adjust and monitor as needed, but most importantly educate until we feel the public has learned the lesson we are trying to teach.