Lakewood High School English teacher Lauren Kott is preparing for a long day at the Colorado State Capitol tomorrow.
“My heart is full for how many districts have jumped on board. And how many principals and superintendents have been supportive of this,” Kott says.
Kott has been a teacher with Jefferson County for twelve years. She says the promise of a pension has sustained her in the career she loves.
“I really feel as if the one thing that has kept me in Jefferson County as a teacher over twelve years through furlough days, through pay freezes, through the non-recognition of my master’s degree, through an unlivable wage essentially is the promise that I would have a healthy and protected pension when I actually retired,” she said.
On Thursday, Kott will participate in the teacher walkout to protect her pension and remind others of how hard teachers work.
“We start two hours before the school day begins. And then there are quite a few teachers who stay after school as well and I am one of those," said Kott. "Especially when it comes to crunch time and it’s the end of term. It is not uncommon to see a parking lot full of teachers no matter what time you are driving by.”
Kott has a second job as a receptionist at a tax office during tax season. She says she has considered switching careers in the hopes of earning more money.
“I actually took accounting classes at one point to see if I could work in taxes for a while and that was not the job for me,” she said with a chuckle. “I am an English teacher through and through.”
Kott says the walkout is one step on a long road to improving her profession.
“In the current climate, absolutely I will be doing the political activism aspect of my job for the rest of my profession and probably afterwards.”