We’re all familiar with the expression “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?”

For many years, this phrase has highlighted the tendency for two people to see the same situation in different ways.

The saying is commonly used to emphasize the difference between positive and negative thinking, or optimism or pessimism – or a cynic might say, the difference between irresponsible hopefulness and practical realism.

This is where many of us have been wavering in the past few days since the election.

At our core, most educators are hopeful optimists. We believe in the purpose of education and the inherent goodness of children and we assume everyone else does too.

At the same time, it is difficult to keep a positive outlook as we watch schools continue to struggle because of lack of resources and overcrowded classrooms, along with the exodus of great teachers resulting from a lack of respect, autonomy, and competitive compensation.

With the recent overwhelming defeat of State Question 779 – which would have given Oklahoma’s teachers a permanent $5,000 pay increase – my easily distracted mind wondered to this question: How would various constituents view the current state of teacher respect in our state?

Glass half-full or half-empty?

Here are my invented thoughts. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

Governor Mary Fallin: “We all agree that the glass could be fuller. I’ve said so for six straight years. I will be meeting sometime soon or in the future with legislative leaders to potentially discuss having a meeting to consider options to get together to brainstorm ways to fill the glass to maybe three-quarters full, but when things are said and done, we may have to just make the glass smaller to give the illusion of fullness. You know, there’s only so much water to go around and lots of Oklahoma corporations need more water to bring high-paying jobs to our state. Wait, I think I may be getting a call from Trump Tower. Rats, just a wrong number!  Anyhow, back to the teachers … you know how much I love you, right?”

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger:  “The question you are really asking is whether the economy and the outlook for the glass and its contents, and the safety and prosperity of the state as a whole, are improving and in a far better condition than we inherited from the previous Democratic administration, and my answer is that all the evidence points to a significant upturn for those of us who like to see the glass as half-full, and for those of us who are equally entitled to see the glass as half-empty…”

The Oklahoma Speaker of the House: “When the Democrats ran the legislature the glass was half-empty and becoming emptier, but thanks to spectacular Republican leadership, the glass is definitely now half-full, and becoming fuller; but if the Democrats were to return to power, the glass would once again undoubtedly empty rapidly.”

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister: “Teachers are very appreciative of the water they have, but if we don’t work on filling the glass soon, our schools will die of thirst. We need water!”

The right-wing policy dolts at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA): “The glass would be full if not for greedy school administrators. These teachers need to be talking to their superintendents because they’re hoarding water in giant clandestine containers at the district office.”

The school choice proponents: “There’s plenty of water in the glass but public schools and their entrenched unions are simply spilling it all over the ground. Why add any more water to the glass when teachers and schools are just too thirsty and not willing to take care of the water they have? It’s time to bring in more glasses and spread the water around.”

The oil company CEO: “Thanks, folks! While you were debating this question, I drank the water.”

The idealistic teacher: “The glass is always half full … we are the one who makes it half empty.”

The young teacher who survived last year’s budget cuts: “Hey, I’m just relieved to have a glass half-empty than no glass at all.”

The teacher who was trimmed from her job due to last year’s budget cuts:  “Well, at least you have a damn glass.”

The career teacher: “Compared to glasses in other states, we’re down to our last few drops. My colleagues and I have become accustomed to sucking empty platitudes through the hollow straw of rhetoric from state leaders for too many years to recall. If you’re a teacher in Oklahoma, you’ll either die of thirst or choose to fill your glass with an endless stream of love and devotion from your students.”

The young, mobile teacher: “All I know is this glass is not full enough to satiate my family’s thirst. If something doesn’t happen soon, Oklahoma will be kissing my glass goodbye!”