Today's #tipTuesday is going to focus on going back to school. This particular post may seem like it geared towards parents of school aged kids, but honestly, anyone can help. And I hope you will!
Here’s some truth. You have heard about teacher strikes due to low pay. I agree teachers should be paid more. My thoughts on that should probably be saved for an entirely different blog post. The part that you may have heard but did not resonate with you is how teachers spend their paycheck on their classroom. A study released in May 2018, stated that teachers spend about $500 of their own money for their classroom.
I think the $500 mark is low. But let's go with it, because, hey, I didn't do national research.
Can you imagine a job in corporate America where an adult takes her own money and buys almost everything she needs for her corporate office? This is what teachers are asked to do. Yes, it's an unspoken ask...but who else is going to buy it? The money is not in the budget. In my county, teachers get around $265 a year to spend in their classroom. A study from the 2014-15 school year showed that 94 percent of public school teachers spent their own money on classroom supplies WITHOUT reimbursement. Teachers pour money into their classroom. Why is this not built into the budget like in corporate America? In our 20 years of marriage, I have never seen my husband buy a ream of copy paper to take to work for his copies...or buy a new chair for his desk because his is broken and his boss can't replace it due to funding...or purchase paper trays for his desk...or purchase his own printer to take to the office so he could print from his computer...or buy staples for his stapler. The lists goes on and on. (And by the way, he is the only one using the staples in his stapler. Teachers are sharing their stapler with 25 other little people.)
And new teachers have this the worst. They make the lowest amount of money on the pay scale, many have college loans, and they don't have the items for their classroom built up yet like a veteran teacher might. I had been out of the classroom for a few years as I stayed at home with my children. When I was ready to go back, I accepted a position on a Thursday (a week before school was starting), and four days laters I had already spend $500 of my own money on my classroom. Additionally, that year I had made a Donor's Choose project valued around $350 and sent a SOS out on Facebook asking for book donations for my class library. By the end of the 4th day of preparing for my classroom, my list had grown! It had things like desk plate covers, pack of cardstock, ink for printer, and hand sanitizer (yes, I really had to buy this for my classroom as it was not provided).
I was working in a school with an affluent population. It was a school with an incredible PTO. In fact, the previous year the PTO had raised funds to donate over $50,000 to the school. So you may assume the school or school organization cover the financial needs of a classroom. This would be a wrong assumption.
Some jobs offer you a signing bonus. Teaching jobs offer you an opportunity to stimulate the economy. (wink)
This leaves my heart hurting EVEN MORE for those teachers whose students are going to come to school the first day with no supplies. I was blessed and all of my students came to school with their supplies. Yet, many teachers are not this fortunate. I have taught in a Title I school and experienced this very thing. Students can't go without supplies, so I was out at Walmart purchasing the supplies for them. (The years I was in that school, I purchased new shoes, back packs, and coats for my students too.)
Needs are in every school…low-income, affluent, and everything in between. What can we do to close the gap? Certainly, long term things such as demanding a larger budget for schools and teachers is road worth fighting but a long one…so what can happen now? today? You can join me in some or all of the things below. This is my #tipTuesday: Teachers need help, so HELP THEM!
- Find out what businesses are doing a “Stuff the Bus” drive and go take school supplies to them. Take MOUNDS of school supplies to them. These supplies will go directly to the school. Before dropping off, I always ask what school they are going to as I want accountability for any place I make a donation.
- Go to DonorsChoose.org. Once there, click on “Nearby Projects" or if you don't see that, look at the bottom of the page and enter your city, state to search.
You can find the schools in your area where teachers have projects going on and you can make a donation. When you enter the code LIFTOFF at checkout, your donation (of up to $50) will be matched for the first 7 days of the project being published IF IT IS THE TEACHER'S FIRST PROJECT. I did this earlier and found two of my children’s teachers had donation projects listed. I was happy to make a donation to each.
- Check with your school district's main office about needs of schools in your community.
- Check out Support_A_Teach. There is a new movement that took off this summer. (It's trending on Twitter even.) It is called Support_A_Teach or #ClearTheList. Teachers around the US have made Amazon Wish Lists. Originally, the idea was created for teachers to help teachers. But let's be honest, most teachers can't afford to buy for their own classrooms, much less another teacher's. So what this needs now is people joining who aren't educators. You can pick a list and purchase something from the list to be sent directly to them. If I were looking for a list, I would:
a) Find my state's FB page. Every state has a page, go on Facebook and type "Support_A_Teacher - (my state)." So for me, I would type: Support_A_Teacher - Florida. You can join the page and read post after post of teachers' wish lists. The threads also have lists posts.
b) Search the hashtags. Type #ClearTheList in a search...whether on Facebook, Instagram, or Google. You can find lists this way as well.
Celebrities have started clearing out lists for teachers. Can you imagine being that teacher? So awesome! This is what teachers need. Support from the outside!
There are many other ways to help a teacher. Please find what is best for you!
Choose Kind – Help a school, help a teacher, help a child! Thank you!!
PS - If you made it this far in the post, thank you! Follow me on Instagram: liveblesstravel. I will post other ways to help teachers as I learn about them.