Farmers Insurance Starts the School Year Brighter for This Kindergarten Teacher

Farmers Insurance gives over 1 million dollars throughout the year to help fund teachers on with their “Thank America’s Teachers” program.

Roseanna Gonzales teaches Kindergarten at Canyon Breeze Elementary in Avondale, Arizona. She was awarded $2,500 to her account after submitting a proposal to Farmers Insurance for the Thank America’s Teachers program. Roseanna wasn’t expecting to receive these funds, but she can’t wait to see the big impact it has on her students.

“I was really surprised,” said Roseanna. “When it finally happened, I was like, ‘Whoa, that was me!'”

Roseanna is thinking very carefully about how to spend her funds, as her standard yearly budget is only $75. This means that each year, Roseanna spends about $500 from her own pocket to keep her classroom stocked.

Roseanna regularly purchases basic supplies to keep her classroom going, such as pencils, dry erase markers, Popsicle sticks, Ziploc bags, Clorox wipes, and printer cartridges. She also funds special activities for her students to help make class fun and to keep them engaged in their learning.

In December, the Kindergarten classrooms celebrate “holidays around the world,” with each classroom hosting an activity. “If I don’t ask for support, I could probably spend $200 on supplies just for that,” said Roseanna.

Many of Roseanna’s students are special needs learners who are transitioning into a general education environment. To make sure the needs of every student are met, Roseanna puts in extra work to keep her class on track.

Roseanna used the first portion of her funds to purchase Bouncy Bands, giving her students a chance to move without leaving their seats. According to Roseanna, these bands keep her students active and engaged, “before, they may have been out of their seats wandering and bothering other kids,” said Roseanna. “But now, they’re more focused on their work.”

With her remaining funds, Roseanna is looking into purchasing therapy balls and Nuby Stools for her students. The students’ comfort level is very important to her.

“I want them to feel like it’s home,” said Roseanna. “I want them to feel comfortable in their learning environment. Comfortable to be able to share, and to learn, and to build a strong relationship with them where they trust me.”

Roseanna has been teaching for 19 years, yet she still remembers spending the most during her first year. Many teachers do a lot of classroom spending during their first year teaching. Keeping a classroom stocked with supplies is costly, but when you start out as a teacher with next to no resources, it gets expensive quickly.

“I was spending money before I even graduated college,” said Roseanna. “I would say probably double what I’m spending right now, just because in the early days you’re buying things like baskets, or things for yourself, and curriculum materials. It added up.”

Purchases both big and small accumulate fast, especially when teachers have to use their own money to fund a classroom. Donations, like the Farmers Insurance grants, are important for lifting the heavy burden placed on teachers like Roseanna. When classrooms acquire funds, Roseanna believes it’s important for teachers to have the power to choose how their donations are spent.

“We have first-hand experience on what our kids need,” said Roseanna. “When the teacher is choosing, they can actually choose what benefits their students and how they can increase the learning with their kids.”

Thanks to Farmers Insurance, Roseanna is now empowered to make purchases that will maintain an engaging learning environment for her students.