Longtime Tacoma teacher resigns amid strike, saying she's fed up with district's attitude

TACOMA, Wash. -- Some are calling her Tacoma's best teacher.

"I do it because it's the best job in the world. If people really knew what kind of connections and amazing moments happen in the classroom, there'd be a line of people out here to break this strike, honestly," Jason Lee Middle School teacher Anne Hawkins said Monday.

But after 19 years of teaching in Tacoma, Hawkins has decided enough is enough and resigned from the district on Monday.

"I thought I was a lifer, I thought I'd be at Jason Lee until they dragged my scarred carcass out of the building, but this particular strike, it just says to me everything the district thinks about the teachers," Hawkins said.

Tacoma Public School teachers say they aren't being offered raises like other districts in the area and students will suffer because of it.

"Are you going to attract the best teachers that you can find? Probably not. You'll be collecting those that can't get a job in other places," said Greg Smith, who works at Meeker Middle School and is also on strike.

"I'm one of those teachers making 80-something-thousand dollars a year. I never said I was poor. I shouldn't have to plead poverty to get the wage that was handed down by the state Supreme Court," Hawkins added.

Tacoma Public Schools says it cannot afford the level of pay increases that other districts have given their teachers.

Hawkins says she'll continue to support the strike while she waits for her resignation to be finalized by the district.

Tacoma teachers have been negotiating with the district since the spring.

The Tacoma teachers began their strike last Wednesday night, forcing the district to call off the first day of school set for last Thursday.  No classes have been held since the strike began.