Here's an idea. Let's have all those legislators who voted for the new teacher certification rules teach in some of the Arizona's public schools until Winter Break, in classrooms where the district hasn't been able to find a teacher. They can resume their jobs at the Capitol in January, writing budgets stiffing schools and bills insulting teachers.
Teaching is easy, right? That's why they passed a bill saying anyone with a bachelor's degree in an appropriate field can teach — and you don't even need a bachelor's if you've taught in a postgraduate school or worked in an appropriate field. The clever people who voted for the new rules should be able to step in and lend a hand, no sweat. Why, they'll even get a few months salary, including the 25 cents-an-hour raise they voted for, in the bargain. On top of all that, they'll get an official Subject Matter Expert Standard Teaching Certificate to hang on their refrigerators. Everyone's a winner! (For those legislators who aren't college grads or did their college work in a field not taught in public schools, I say give them a break and let them teach anyway. They've demonstrated how much more they know about education than educators by passing bills most professionals in the field disagree with.)
For the rest of us, here's a little fun we can have. Everyone who wants can put ten bucks into a statewide version of an office pool. Half the money will go to winners in various categories like: Which legislator is the first to say, "That's it! I'm not going back to that classroom tomorrow, or ever!" What's the date that first legislator/teacher bails out? How many legislators will make it until winter break? And which ones will admit publicly, "I had no idea teaching was this hard. We need to give teachers the respect and money they deserve!" All legislators in that last group will receive a special trophy: a glowing light bulb mounted on a pedestal with the words "I finally get it!" engraved at the bottom. The other half of the pooled money will go to buy extra supplies for students in classrooms without regular teachers.
I've always wanted to see people who denigrate teachers, those who think teachers are pampered and lazy, who think any salary beyond a babysitter's wage is extravagant, spend a few weeks in a classroom on their own without a professional teacher to hold their hand. I'm not a monster. I'd only make them teach a few hours a day, not the whole day, which I know would be cruel. The only thing that holds me back from suggesting the idea seriously is, I wouldn't want to do that to the kids. But I'll make an exception for legislators who are happy to vote to keep school budgets so low they violate the law. I'd like to see them put their bodies where their bills are, in classrooms without adequate supplies, adjacent to dedicated teachers who are working their asses off for their students but can't buy homes or even afford a few luxuries beyond the basic necessities, in buildings years behind on basic maintenance. It would be good for the legislators' souls. And it would be especially good for teachers and their schools to have a few more legislators who see the light, who finally get it.