Knox Co. teacher defends comments in viral anti-evaluation video

Knox County teacher defends comments in viral anti-evaluation video

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Halls Elementary teacher Lauren Hopson voiced her concerns at a school board meeting over the rigorous demands by recent changes to their evaluations. The video went viral. (source: YouTube) Halls Elementary teacher Lauren Hopson voiced her concerns at a school board meeting over the rigorous demands by recent changes to their evaluations. The video went viral. (source: YouTube)
"This situation is not about me," said Lauren Hopson. "It's about thousands of teachers so I hope that I really don't have to do anything else that it will take on a life of its own and we'll get some real changes made for the better." "This situation is not about me," said Lauren Hopson. "It's about thousands of teachers so I hope that I really don't have to do anything else that it will take on a life of its own and we'll get some real changes made for the better."
"When you talk to a teacher that says she spends twelve hours working on a lesson plan, there is something wrong," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "When you talk to a teacher that says she spends twelve hours working on a lesson plan, there is something wrong," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knox County teacher defended her comments Friday after a video of her speech to the school board went viral.

Halls Elementary teacher Lauren Hopson was at the meeting to voice her concerns over the rigorous demands by recent changes to their evaluations.

"Thank you for allowing me to speak this evening. I am a teacher who loves teaching, but unfortunately what I have to say tonight isn't warm and fuzzy," said Hopson in her speech.

That speech began Hopson's unlikely journey to viral fame among teachers around the country. The video of that speech was posted to YouTube under the title "What Tennessee teachers really think about new evaluations."

The video continues to gain support with 86,000 views and growing.

"I just got really angry," said Hopson. "Several teachers that I know who are excellent teachers have been threatened with 'conference of concern' letters that say if their test scores don't go up, they could lose their jobs next year."

Hopson stopped by Knox Talk Radio Friday morning to elaborate on the challenges teachers face in the classroom and to take calls from listeners, most who shared Hopson's feelings.

"This situation is not about me," said Hopson. "It's about thousands of teachers so I hope that I really don't have to do anything else that it will take on a life of its own and we'll get some real changes made for the better."

Fellow teachers aren't the only ones standing behind Hopson on that call for change. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, the son of two educators and holder of an education degree himself, added his voice to the chorus of support.

"When you talk to a teacher that says she spends twelve hours working on a lesson plan, there is something wrong," said Burchett. "The bureaucracy is too much. We need to let teachers get back to teaching."

Members of the administration have also reached out to Hopson following her speech to the board.

"The superintendent is coming to Halls on Monday to eat lunch with teachers and talk to them about their concerns. And I've talked with several of the board members since then, and I'm hoping that things will start to change as they start to really listen to what teachers have to say," said Hopson.

She now hopes others will speak up and begin a real dialogue on this issue.

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