As teachers in West Virginia noisily celebrated a 5 percent raise that ended their nine-day walkout, momentum was building elsewhere for similar protests over pay and benefits for the nation’s public school teachers.

Teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona are contemplating actions of their own amid growing frustration over meager pay. Teachers and staff in eight Kentucky school districts were planning “walk in” rallies Thursday to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits. Teachers in Pittsburgh reached a tentative agreement after threatening a strike, and hundreds of educators held demonstrations this week in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The unions’ victory in the West Virginia strike has given a boost to organizers who say the national spotlight on teacher pay is long overdue.

“To be able to do that there? I think people in Arizona started looking at each other saying, ‘Wow!”‘ said Noah Karvelis, an art teacher in Phoenix who helped launch a campaign urging Arizona teachers to wear red Wednesday as a show of solidarity. The demonstration was meant to gauge interest in stronger action by teachers, who received a 1 percent pay increase this year, Karvelis said.

From West Virginia, which has some of the nation’s lowest teacher salaries, unions heard familiar stories of educators struggling to get by. The teachers behind the walkout that shuttered public schools statewide said the 2 percent pay raise initially proposed would not have covered their rising health insurance costs.

Some of the teachers who returned to classrooms on Wednesday said they hope unions around the country will be encouraged by what they accomplished.

“I do think this strike can be the start of something big nationally,” said Melinda Monks, a special education teacher at Bridgeview Elementary in South Charleston, West Virginia. “Because the United States, as Gov. (Jim) Justice says, has fallen behind in education, behind some of our other nations, and I think it’s time that teachers step forward and demand a more central role in education and more respect for our profession.”

Teacher unrest around the United States has grown as strong health care and retirement benefits, viewed in the late 1980s and 1990s as a tradeoff to slower pay growth, have begun to erode at district or state levels, said Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Educators Association.

“They’re really feeling it now and they’re leaving all of their options open in terms of what kinds of actions they are ready to take,” she said.

The daily demonstrations and legislative back and forth were closely watched from Oklahoma, where teachers union President Alicia Priest said large numbers of teachers are leaving the profession.