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Arizona Teachers Reflect On Heading Back to Their Classrooms

Oakwood Elementary
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
Students head back to class at Oakwood Elementary in Peoria.

Teachers are returning to their classrooms across the state Friday morning after their six-day walkout ended. Organizers called for an end to the strike once Gov. Ducey signed into law the K-12 education budget bill, which includes his 20 percent pay raise by 2020.

One of those teachers is Rebecca Garelli — she teaches seventh grade math and science in the Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix. She’s also a lead organizer with Arizona Educators United. The Show caught up with her earlier as she was getting ready to leave for school and asked her what she thought it’d be like when she walked back into her school and her classroom.

Another teacher who enthusiastically took part in the walkout is Joni Koehn, theater teacher at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert. She marched with her colleagues to the Capitol on the first day and went to 1700 West Washington on the following days as the walkout continued.

We spoke with her to find out what she thought of the overall effort and what personal experience led her to walk out.

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.