The classroom is like a miniature community where the impact of State policy and social inequity converge. We see this in many forms: budget cuts, dilapidated infrastructure, the steady rise of students living in poverty. With these changes come a host of struggles that require building renovations, social workers, and robust programming to meet the basic needs of students and their families.
If the funding isn’t there, teachers find ways to fill the gap. In short, they’re doing more with less.
Meeting the physical, emotional, and learning needs of dozens of children every day isn’t free. A 2018 survey of more than 4,400 teachers conducted by AdoptAClassroom.org found the average amount spent by teachers out of pocket is $740. This is an increase of 23 percent since we last surveyed teachers in 2015. Before class begins teachers first ensure students are fed, warm, and have their basic needs met.
For many, this is emotionally and financially unsustainable. Teachers are leaving their profession at a rate of eight percent. Those who stay are working multiple jobs and selling their blood plasma for extra money.
It is imperative we keep a spotlight on the classroom until we repair our broken education system. We asked educators on the front lines to share challenges they faced in the classroom this year:
“My classroom is in a seventy-year-old building with leaking ceilings. When snow melts and spring rains come, we bring out buckets and mops.
There is no State funding, so we rely completely on donations for renovations.”
“I started a food backpack program for hungry students to take home on the weekends. This comes out of my pocket, but it’s worth it when a student’s eyes light up when they see their weekend meals.”
“Sometimes I choose between buying classroom supplies for my students or groceries. I have holes in my shoes and can’t afford new ones because my personal budget is so tight. I’m struggling, but I keep going for the children.”
“I have been a music teacher for 23 years, and in those 23 years we’ve never had funding to purchase instruments. I work in a low-income district and our students love music, but can’t afford to buy their own instruments.”
The tangle of legislation, funding cuts, and social inequity that is failing our children and disempowering educators has no simple solutions.
One way you can support educators today is by connecting them with resources they can use at their discretion.
Teachers are the experts of their own classrooms and community needs. At AdoptAClassroom.org, we’re dedicated to connecting educators with flexible funding. We meet them wherever they’re at.
In order to sustain this vital work, please help us stand with teachers by making a gift to AdoptAClassroom.org.
You can also make a monthly gift.
Thank you for joining us in the fight for teachers.